By Alexey Sukachev
At the M.E.N. Arena in Manchester, England, WBA junior welterweight champion Amir Khan (25-1, 17KOs) won a six round technical decision over previously undefeated Paul McCloskey (22-1, 12KOs). The fight was cut short after McCloskey suffered a bad cut from an accidental clash of heads in the sixth. All three judges had it 60-54.
McCloskey made a very big mistake of keeping his hands down low and getting hit with Khan's very fast hands. He trying to outbox Khan and failing by allowing Khan to get off with so many punches. Khan had no respect for McCloskey's power, often charging in with reckless combinations. Not many of Khan's punches were landing clean but he was outworking McCloskey easily. During the early part of the sixth round, there was a clash of heads and McCloskey was cut above the left eye. McCloskey wanted to continue, but the doctor felt the cut was too severe and advised the ref to stop it. Because four rounds had been completed, the fight went to the scorecards.
The fight itself was lackluster and there wasn't much action. Sky Sports is certainly going to feel they made the correct decision to drop this card from their pay-per-view outlet. McCloskey and his manager Barry Hearn were very upset with the stoppage. The entire crowd was very unhappy with the stoppage. Not good for Khan's dream of securing an impressive pay-per-view showing.
Recent world title challenger Rendall Munroe (22-2, 9 KOs) barely got past determined Belarussian challenger Andrey Isaev (23-3, 7 KOs) in a very close and a bit of a controversial fight. All three judges had it for the British fighter: 115-114 (Dave Parris), 116-112 (Luis Pabon), and 117-112 (Terry O'Connor) but scorecards don't fully reflect the intensity and closeness of the contest. BoxingScene scored it 115-114 - for Isaev, while WBC #5 and WBO #12 Munroe is now the WBA International super bantamweight champion.
The clash between two 30-year old pugilists was a tactical and technical affair from the very first round. In the opening stanzas, southpaw Munroe, who was coming off a spirited loss to the WBC champion Toshiaki Nishioka in his latest outing, looked better thanks to his work on Isaev's body and hard left hands. The mid-rounds were close in the Belarussian's favor. Physically inferior Isaev (who, interestingly, fought for minor titles at featherweight and super featherweight earlier in his career) invited Munroe in and countered the British fighter well in close quarters. Later in the fight, Munroe finally guessed that Isaev isn't as good with his attacks as he is in a defensive shell. The British fighter suddenly turned boxer and peppered the Belarussian with his jab in rounds nine through eleven. However, the last word was said by Isaev, who was in command of the fight in the twelfth and final round. Referee was Howard Foster.
Welterweight Lee Purdy (15-2-1, 8 KOs) opened the pay-per-view card with a chilling knockout of domestic champion Craig Watson (20-4, 8 KOs) in the fifth round with a powerful right hand.
Southpaw Watson proved to be a hard nut to crack in the opening rounds of the fight. He was moving well and connecting good with a sneaky right hook and a big straight left. Purdy had some success in landing his right hand in return in the first stanza, but in rounds two and three the defending champion utilized a good defense to avoid punches from the determined challenger and landed some leather of his own. Round four was pretty even with a crowd-pleasing exchange at the end of the stanza. Finally, early in round five Purdy connected with a major right hand to the jaw of the champion and put him down hard. Watson beat the count but was waved off at 0:40 of the fifth round by referee Phil Edwards as he was in no condition to continue. Purdy is the new BBBofC 147lb titleholder.