Beats Woods in IBF 175 Title Rematch
By Paul Concannon at Ringside
battling Clinton Woods to an exciting draw in November of last year, US based
Jamaican Glenn Johnson returned to Sheffield in fine style on Saturday night and
this time beat the home-town hero on a close but richly deserved unanimous
hard-luck that had dogged Johnson in his three previous IBF titles tries at
middle (a credible defeat to a peak Bernard Hopkins), super-middle (a squeaker
to the German, Sven Ottke) and light-heavyweight (the aforementioned draw with
Woods) finally ran dry as Johnson left no room for doubt with a convincing
display of boxing and slugging that saw the judges render tallies of 116-112 and
115-113 (twice) all in favour of the visitor.
landing some great right-handers in an evenly contested first and rocking Woods
with a big combination in the second, the Jamaican was noticeably more measured
than the rampaging aggressor that showed up in the initial contest.
third was a good one for Woods as he answered Johnson’s heavier single shots
with sharp combinations and an effective countering left hook to body and head.
The fourth was another good round for woods where his variety and sharp
countering suggested he might just have the blueprint to get the job done.
after that promising fourth round, the Sheffield box-fighter allowed his
work-rate to drop considerably and I gave the next three rounds to the visitor
who was more purposeful and showed the greater desire, his heavy right-hand
punch being especially effective. Woods
had his moments but was generally out-worked and outfought.
had a decent round 8, scoring with some heavy shots to the body and going at the
Johnson from time to time with eye-catching bursts of punching.
The ninth round saw Woods peg the gap back to just one point on my card
as he scored busily with his fast rat-a-tat flurries, though he was forced to
take some heavy hooks towards the end of the round I felt his earlier dominance
caught the eye.
when it seemed that Woods was getting back into the fight, the visitor showed a
champions heart to take rounds 10 and 11 by virtue of a busy attack, as the
Sheffield man switched off disappointingly. This allowed Johnson a luxurious 3
round edge (on my card) going into the last.
the Woods corner pleading with their man to go for broke in the last, Woods
battled all out with Johnson in an exciting final round. Woods had floored
Johnson with a terrific right hand in the last round of their first bout (it was
ruled a slip), but this time there would be no 11th hour heroics and
Johnson stayed with him the whole 3 minutes.
unanimous verdict in favour of Johnson was well received by the sporting
Sheffield crowd; the one-time journeyman with nine career losses (all at an
excellent level and many of them controversial) had finally hit the jackpot, and
takes home the IBF belt and with it the opportunity to make some good money and
secure his family’s future. He’s
an excellent pro who deserves every cent he earns.
for Woods, who like Johnson has had a great career, this was his third world
title try and as close a bout as this was (just two points on my card at the
end) he seems destined to be one of the sports nearly men.
He could feature in some interesting bouts both domestically and in
Europe but after battling the likes of Roy Jones and those two struggles with
Johnson, it’s difficult to see Clinton having the desire to go back to the
drawing board. He gave it a good
try but just didn’t do enough; the simple truth is Johnson wanted it that bit
Woods choose to retire, he will leave the sport as a former British,
Commonwealth and European champion and three-time world title challenger who
earned his right to fight for those belts the hard way.
I wish him luck in whatever he decides to do next.
of the undercard saw Manchester’s veteran slugger Carl Thompson and South
African Sebastian Rothmann stage an early candidate for fight of the year for
the latter’s IBO cruiserweight trinket. Thompson pulled out a miracle right- hand bomb in round nine
to flatten the talented visitor who has been the scourge of British
cruiserweights over the last few years.
took a terrific pounding from the pole-like jab of the world-class Rothmann over
the first three rounds and many in press row, myself included felt the bout
could have been stopped in favour of the champion even at this early stage.
At 39, nobody wanted to see old warhorse Thompson take a beating from a
younger, fresher opponent. After
doing slightly better in round four Thompson was hurt and floored by a
countering right hand off the ropes just before the bell and the end seemed
close for the old champion.
it was Rothmann who hit the deck in round 5 after again hurting Thompson at the
end of the round with his own right, a huge countering right off the ropes
followed by a right uppercut sent the champion on to his knees right on the bell
leaving him wobbly as he was receiving the eight count.
sixth round saw Thompson floored again by a stream of rights but the knockdown,
clear to us all in press row was ruled a slip by Richey Davies.
took rounds 7 and 8 on my card as he repeatedly found the aggressive
Thompson’s head with jabs and the odd right-hand for good measure.
round nine, all hell broke loose, the cocky South-African, who had taunted
Thompson much of the way through the contest, tortured him with a stream of jabs
before hurting the old champion yet again with a right cross that made Carl back
off against the ropes. Rothmann
applied two more rights for good measure and with many at ringside screaming for
the fight to be stopped, Carl broke loose and fired that fight saving punch to
send the champion flat on his face. Phew!
It was as dramatic a turnaround as I have ever witnessed and it sent the
Ponds Forge leisure centre into rapturous and thunderous approval.
Long time and respected boxing scribes sitting next to me at ringside
were left open-mouthed at the sudden turn of events.
this was a victory at too high a cost for Thompson remains to be seen, but for
now, this brave and underestimated fighter deserves his moment of glory.
sporting ex-champ Rothmann was class all the way and refused to make any excuses
afterwards in a touching post-fight interview where the possibility of a rematch
writer doesn’t need to see it happen again, I think it’s time for Thompson
to go out where he belongs; at somewhere close to the top of his game.
as ever to Richard Poxon of Dennis Hobson promotions.
or questions email Paul at: