By Andre Cristiano at ringside: IBO super featherweight champion Will Tomlinson retained his title with a controversial 12 round unanimous decision over South African boxer Malcolm Klassen at The Melbourne Pavilion in Victoria, Australia on Thursday.
Tomlinson was awarded a highly controversial knockdown midway through the opening round. With no clean punches landed it appeared clear that Klassen had lost balance and was essentially pushed over Tomlinson’s extended right leg.
Klassen took control of the fight in the middle rounds using excellent movement to frustrate Tomlinson; a fighter who clearly prefers more stationary rivals. The classy South African proved a difficult target for his opponent repeatedly avoiding Tomlinson’s hopeful overhand rights and managing to land clean, hard uppercuts of his own.
A cut opened above the left eye of Tomlinson in the third round, which, while nothing out of the ordinary for the cut prone Australian, was an indication of Klassen’s effective and accurate punching.
Tomlinson remained the aggressor throughout the bout but proved less effective in his advances than Klassen. The South African’s deft movements and clean counter punching were a delight to watch and, at times, made the champion seem predictable. On more than one occasion the Australian was met by perfectly timed counter right hands that served to deepen the cut over his left eye.
Tomlinson’s relentless aggression was occasionally rewarded. Blows in the third and 11th round shook the South African but such scarce return for Tomlinson’s persistent activity was a credit to the elusiveness of Klassen.
Given the blood streaming from the severe cut over Tomlinson’s left eye and the energy expended chasing the South African, Tomlinson showed tremendous heart to take advantage of Klassen’s inactivity in the final three rounds. With Klassen appearing to cruise through the last quarter of the bout, Tomlinson’s aggression, effective or not, deservedly earned him the rounds.
Any reasonable interpretation of the fight would conclude it was close. Most observers would score the fight to Klassen by a round or two citing more effective punching, better defence and despite being chased for most of the night, greater control. For the judges to score such a wide unanimous decision (117-110, 118-109, and 118-109) in favour of the local fighter suggests hometown advantage and constant pressure were most highly valued.
Garth Woods dominated Virgil Kalakoda to win by second round TKO.
Matt Garlett scored a unanimous decision victory over Sipho Taliwe (115-111, 115-111 and 116-110)
Dominic Shchukin knocked out Bashir Sadiq in the first round
May 16, 2013