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Ring Magazine

Concannon's Corner

Personal Biography

Storm in a Teacup-The Williams Sprott Debate Continues
By Paul Concannon

British heavyweights Michael Sprott and Danny Williams must be getting sick of the site of one another.  On the 24th the Rivals met for the third time in the mandated rematch of the December bout that Williams won by controversial KO 5 after sucker-punching Sprott when the Reading man had turned to complain after a series of savage low blows had been ignored by the referee. 

Despite the controversy, Williams had previously stopped his man in 7 back in 2002 so foul or no foul it seemed that he would always have the artillery to do a number on the Reading fighter.  Williams had boasted before this latest encounter about an early stoppage to conclude his hatrick over Sprott.  It was not to be; the expected fireworks seldom materialized in as Williams clowned and Sprott paused and posed way too much. 

The fight came to life in rounds seven and eight as Sprott, supposedly the lighter puncher of the two, rocked his man with lefts and rights. Just when it seemed he finally had the drop on his tormentor he switched off down the stretch allowing the busier though ineffective Williams to take some sort of control behind his jab.  After a disappointing 12-rounder Sprott was given a controversial 114-113 verdict.  The Williams camp cried robbery, but in truth, Danny only has himself to blame. Despite of the high hopes that were once held for the Brixton bomber he seems to have found his level, as does Sprott. 

With the Williams camp apparently due to lodge a complaint about the scoring there will probably be a fourth fight between the two, but on the evidence of the third tussle it seems these are two heavyweights who have just got to know each other too well. William’s British and Commonwealth titles had been on the line.

Staying with the heavyweights, ex-K1 star Matt Skelton took his undefeated record to 12-0 while defending his English Heavyweight Title on Saturday night with a convincing and one-sided points beating of ex-British Champion Julius Francis at the York Hall in Bethnal Green.  It was the first real test for Skelton, who had stopped his previous 11 without really breaking a sweat, and he passed with flying colors winning nearly every round for a 98-92 scorecard.  Julius, very much at the journeyman stage in his career should retire.  I took no pleasure in watching the ex-champ taking so many punches from a fresher opponent who while only two years younger at 37 (yes 37) was probably a decade younger in terms of wear and tear.

Skelton looks to have something of a future at British level.

On the same Bill 22-year old Danny Hunt made the first defense of the English (not to be confused with British) lightweight title with a 97-94 points win over the decent veteran Anthony Maynard in a high energy punch out.   Hunt, the 22 year old dubbed the ‘The Essex Boy’ had a slight edge in accuracy and that proved the difference in an always-interesting battle. 

The loser Maynard may have no place to go at 32, as he himself admitted beforehand, but he can take heart from an excellent performance against a rated prospect. Maynard seemed to be gaining momentum when a slip was incorrectly ruled a knockdown by referee Ian John-Lewis in round four.  Despite Maynard’s best efforts the fight slipped from him just a touch from that point on leaving Hunt with a very slight edge and with it the win.

The previous Saturday (Jan 31st) saw Richard Williams regain his old commonwealth light middleweight title with a useful stoppage-win over the strong but inexperienced Ayittey Powers.  Nice guy Williams was rebuilding following defeat for his IBO trinket to Sergio Martinez last year. 

While Richard didn’t seem 100% back to his best and was hit with a few awkward right-hands from Powers he showed a few flashes of his un-doubtable talent and a ruthless body attack to break down the Ghanaian in efficient fashion.  Williams made big waves a few years back with a string of impressive victories over fringe world class opposition but at 32 it seems tough to imagine him going too far at world level.  His promoter Barry Hearn, for my money the standout promoter in the UK right now, thinks otherwise and is looking to match Williams with top-flight opposition soon.

On the same bill, Ted Bami, who like Williams is rebuilding following his harrowing loss to Sam Malinga last year, scored an always tough six round points victory over the dangerous Hungarian József Matolcsi.  Two knockdowns for Bami proved the difference as each man battled hard to gain the ascendancy in a rough affair with sharp punching from both men. 

For Bami it was a good result over a naturally bigger man and will help his confidence no-end after the one-punch crunching he received from the aforementioned Malinga last year. 

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