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18 NOVEMBER 2017

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Whyte Defeats Helenius/Taylor Crowned Champ/Yafai Retains WBA Title


By Steve Bateson: Dillian Whyte won the WBC Silver Championship and paved himself a path toward Deontay Wilder as he defeated Robert Helenius over 12 forgettable rounds in the co-main event at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff,Wales on Saturday night.

Whyte did not have it all his own way, however, and was rocked in the second round by a short inside left by the Finnish fighter as he began the fight sluggishly. Whyte was guilty of loading up and was made to miss badly as Helenius countered him well off the backfoot and scored with a succession of right hands. But after being hurt in the second Whyte was sparked into action from round three and began to bang away to the body of the "Nordic Nightmare" which returned instant dividends as Helenius’ breathing became deeper. Whyte was then just able to march forward from then on out, scoring more frequently with heavy clubbing shots to head and body as Helenius retreated into the ropes and decreased his activity. Helenius never seemed overly hurt by anything that was thrown at him by Whyte but he wasn’t scoring points or even troubling his opponent, the rounds becoming easier and easier to score and harder and harder to watch. There were question marks that perhaps Helenius injured his right hand around round six and he certainly did not display any ambition to win the fight in the second half, which is a shame given the fight seemed in the balance through the first three.

 

Whyte marches forwards in straight lines far too much and is very susceptible to punches, his legs wobbling in a number of fights, which will land him in very deep water should his opportunity arise to fight for a version of the world title in 2018. Rumours swirl that if Deontay Wilder defeats Bermane Stiverne next weekend then he may face Whyte in February next year, the build up will be exciting and it may be frantic for a few rounds but Whyte has work to do because his opponent was there for the taking tonight and he did not show the ambition to step it up and send out a message to his divisional rivals who he claims to belong on a level with. Helenius was ultra negative and made it awkward for Whyte but a top tier Heavyweight would have taken the Fin out inside the distance.

Scorecards read: 119-109 x2, 118-110

 

Katie Taylor is the WBA World Lightweight Female Championship scoring a unanimous decision over Anahi Sanchez, just seven fights and a year after turning pro. Sanchez lost her belt on the scales on Friday, meaning only Taylor could win the vacant belt, but that did not stop her taking the fight to the Irish boxing great, who has further cemented her legacy as one of the greatest stars her country has ever produced. Sanchez chose to stand and fight with Taylor, displaying her South American fire, but a huge left hand to the body in the second round dropped her to the deck. She rose and fought on through the rest of that stanza before coming out firing herself in round three, only to get rocked again by a solid right hand from Taylor. Taylor absorbed some damaging blows from the Argentine, who had nine stoppages in seventeen wins, but she never looked troubled and was the constant aggressor, always looking to finish exchanges with her beautiful signature body punching. Sanchez never stopped pouring forward and throwing, making an exciting fight, but she missed a lot and was made to pay by the terrific accuracy of Taylor. There was a huge weight difference, Sanchez looked at least a division above, but Taylor did not once look fazed and certainly carried the more power, snapping Sanchez’ head back with sickening right hands in round seven. Sanchez deserves credit for her bravery but she was overmatched in every department by Taylor, you could wax lyrical all day about her movement, precision, footwork, combinations and punch variation. Taylor is a fantastic ambassador and role model for women’s boxing and it is hard to see anyone troubling her reign on top of the world.

Scorecards read: 99-90 x3

 

Kal Yafai made it known he is ready for the best at Super Flyweight as he dominated Sho Ishida to retain his WBA Championship. Both men came into the contest undefeated but Ishida was cagey from the outset and allowed Yafai to settle into an early rhythm as the Birmingham man worked off his jab to coast the first four rounds, occasionally going to the body as he tried to slow down his ever moving opponent. Ishida seemed to awaken to his task in round five and displayed a little more aggression, using his longer reach to score jabs and then a solid right hand in the sixth round crashed off the side of the champion’s head to let him know he did now have a fight on his hands. But Yafai displayed terrific conditioning and fight preparation as he stepped the gears up from round seven and his more aggressive manner left Ishida trailing in his wake. A left upstairs worried Ishida for a few seconds in the seventh and another crunching body punch in round eight made the Japanese fighter wince, forcing him to withdraw back into his cautious shell for the remainder of the bout. Ishida never gave off the impression he was winning the fight and Yafai was able to see out the twelve rounds comfortably, the result never in doubt.

There are still question marks of whether Yafai is an elite level fighter in such an impressive weight class but he is certainly ready to step up and find out. At times he leaks a little defensively but he’s fundamentally skilled and a front footed aggressor, impressive on the eye when he lets his combinations go.

 

All in all a good performance and expect to see Yafai (now 23-0 with 14 KO’s) make his US debut on the "Super Fly II" card next year. Chocalatito seems to be the aim, a fading fighter but still talented in order to market Yafai to the American public but it depends on how long he needs to heal his hands, a recurring injury that will unfortunately plague his career. He might not be quite ready for Rungvisai or Inoue but a Carlos Cuadras fight or Rex Tso could be great to watch.

Scorecards read: 118-110, 116-112 x2




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