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In what was promoted to be a heavy hitting United Kingdom fight card live from 02 Arena in London, definitely lived up to the hype in front of a ruckus 60,000 British fight fans. The main event showcased Tony Bellew securing one of the biggest upsets in British heavyweight boxing history as he was able to knock out David Haye in the 11th round. Bellew showed no feared as he moved up to heavyweight as a huge underdog to take on the decorated former world champ Haye.
The fight was a fairly even contest going into the 8th round but then misfortune happened for Haye as he awkwardly took a step back and seemingly injured his achilles tended. Bellew instantly noticed the injury, but was over exuprent and punched himself out attempting the KO. Haye’s corner frantically tried to tape of the injury but at that time it was too late. Bellew then chopped Haye down like a tree until finally he fell in the 11th round forcing the referee to call for the stoppage. A sign of mutual respect was shown after the match as the two fighters embraced after what was a intense verbal promotional tour prior to the fight.
On the undercard from the UK is what and should be an end to the glorious career of Paulie “The Magic Man” Malignaggi. The Brooklyn’s fighter was defeated by a knock out (KO) from Sam Egginton. Malignaggi dropped to the canvas instantly during the 8th round due to a vicious left hook to the body. Father time has simply caught up with the former two-time world champion Malignaggi as the skills that made him a champion have simply slipped away.
Boxing fans around the world know that Malignaggi has a fantastic career ahead of him as a broadcaster and will continue to bring his special brand of entertainment into whatever venture he decides. If this is it, thank you “Paulie” for all you’ve given the fans and representing Brooklyn boxing proudly as you did throughout your fight career. Only thing left to debate is if Malignaggi ends up in Canastota, New York in the International Boxing Hall Of Fame.
As fight night shifted to the new American mecca of boxing, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn New York, the fans were ready to see two undefeated welterweight champions in their prime unifying their belts for the third time in boxing history. The undercard fight was one of the most straight forward tune-up fights in recent memory as Erikson Lubin had no problems defeating Jorge Cota by 4th round KO by a straight left hand to Cota’s face. Lubin only being 21 and sitting with a record of (18-0, 13 KOs) should be lined up for a title shot against current WBC Super Welterweight champ Jermell Charlo who’s mandatory defending fight against Charles Hatley has been postponed.
In the main event, Premier Boxing Champions on CBS showcased a highly anticipated match-up of WBA Welterweight champ Keith “One Time” Thurman versus WBC Welterweight champ Danny “Swift” Garcia. They went toe to toe in unifying their respective titles. Thurman opened the fight up with lots of pressure on Garcia and took four of the first five rounds seamlessly with intense focus, precise combos, and excellent footwork. “One Time” made it virtually impossible for Garcia to cut off the ring.
Thurman had his way with Garcia as he was never hurt during this technically sound fight that produced not a single knockdown in the entire bout. Towards the later rounds Thurman’s corner advised him to stay away from Garcia as early as round 10. That almost proved to be a fatal mistake as the score cards read off a split decision win for Thurman. If there’s one thing to take away from this fight, it is that both Thurman and Garcia need new trainers. Their skills have hit a hard ceiling and unless they figure out how to improve continuously and develop as complete fighters, the likes of Errol Spence Jr and Kell Brook will be sure to take their belts asap.