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Ring Magazine

Concannon's Corner

Personal Biography

Woods-Johnson Battle to a Draw
Paul Concannon at ringside

For the second time in recent weeks here in the UK a fight for a major vacant title ended in a controversial draw.  On the Back of Michael Brodie’s recent WBC featherweight battle with In Jin Chi, Sheffield’s hometown hero Clinton Woods battled every inch of the way to secure a share of Friday night’s vacant IBF light heavyweight title with American hard-man Glencoffe Johnson.

From my ringside position I scored the bout by two points to the local hero, my feeling being that his cleaner work and strong finish had earned him the nod in a pulsating battle of co-challengers and quality, deserving contenders.

With a few exceptions, the general consensus was that Johnson’s rolling aggression had earned him the nod, and I certainly would not have argued one jot had Johnson being given the verdict, it was that close. 

For me, the bout seemed to hinge upon the last two rounds; I had it dead level at four rounds each with two even at that point.  I felt Woods did enough to take both rounds with cleaner punching, excellent work off the left hand and an apparent knockdown in the last that was ruled a slip by the referee.

Johnson was crestfallen with the verdict and after so many unjust verdicts against the prospect turned journeyman turned contender in his battle hardened career it’s difficult not to feel for him after putting so much in to a pulsating struggle.

He began by backing up Woods with right hands and a thumping body attack and he seemed by far the more powerful in the early going.  The first two rounds were tough going for Woods who was forced to absorb several meaty overhand rights and a few hooks and uppercuts for good measure, it was pretty much one way traffic at this point with the American’s desire, strength, body-punching and power proving to more than a handful for the more precise Englishman. 

Clinton did better in the third and fourth, both close rounds, with the odd  success from the left, but again he was forced to absorb some heavy aggression as the visitor pounded away, refusing him the centre of the ring and trapping Clinton against the ropes time after time.

From round five, the fight entered Woods territory as Johnson began to tire from his early exertions and the super fit and adaptable home-towner began working a decent left hook counter.  Johnson continued his forward march throughout the middle rounds, trapping Woods against the ropes and certainly throwing plenty of eye catching shots but for from where I was sat the cleaner sharper work was coming from Clinton who began employing a nice straight right mixed in with three punch bursts. I felt he was holding the centre of the ring as Johnson hit arms, gloves and the top of heads. 

Round eight saw both on the canvas from slips and both take turns to gain the upper hand.  I had the ninth close and felt the American shaded the tenth with a high workrate as Woods output dropped surprisingly. 

The final two rounds were hard fought and exciting with Woods desire, superior fitness and strength being the key, in my eyes at least.  It was toe to toe at times as both tried desperately hard but Woods, who can always be counted on for fitness and desire in the later rounds, banging in several quality punches to the head of the tiring American. After an exciting toe to toe skirmish a right seemed to send the flagging visitor to his knees in the final minute but referee Ian John Lewis ruled it a slip.  I felt Johnson did more holding than fighting in the last and that swayed round 12 to Woods in my book.

Overall, a draw may have been the fairest result as hopefully both men will be in line for a rematch and second crack at the title some time in the New Year.  I could happily stand to see this one go on again; it was an excellent bout between deserving and hungry contenders.

Along with recent bouts between the aforementioned Brodie and Chi and a titanic domestic war between Alex Arthur and Michael Gomez recently the tide seems to be finally turning, here in Britain, from plastic titles that impress nobody and fool even fewer. 

Pick of the undercard, saw Sheffield based Patrick J Maxwell improve to 8-1 (6) with an impressive display of punch picking and crisp jabbing to demolish Wolverhampton powerhouse Conroy Macintosh in four exciting rounds.  It was a stark improvement on Maxwell’s previous outing when he struggled to impress against a debutant, but he showed that when he settles down and works off the left rather than going knockout happy he may well be one to watch.  He can be very pleased with his nights work.

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Thanks once again to Richard Poxon at Hobson promotions