By Alexey Sukachev
Cardiff, Wales - Highly regarded and highly rated British featherweight Lee Selby (19-1, 7 KOs) continued his hunt down for the WBC 126lb champion Jhonny Gonzalez with his dominant win over Gonzalez's countryman Romulo Eiko Koasicha (21-4, 12 KOs). Scores were: 119-109 (twice) and 119-110 - for the WBC #3, IBF #5, WBO #10 and WBA #12 rated fighter.
Koasicha, 23, proved to be every point as tough as he has been advertised but he had little aside of his durability and character to go with. All fight long he tried to corner Selby, 27, for further punishment but he failed miserably on almost all the occasions. The Welshman was moving fluidly, landing sneaky jabs and right hands every time Koasicha tried to step up his game. Selby was especially effective in the midst of the fight up until the moment the Mexican caught and hurt him in the eighth. It was just an episode, as the Welshman continued with his domination after that. Koasicha was taking major punishment but refused to be taken out and survived till the final bell.
With this win, Selby defended his WBC International featherweight title for the first time.
WBA/WBO #12 cruiserweight, who has never actually fought as a 200lber before, Nathan Cleverly (27-1, 13 KOs) made his REAL successful cruiserweight debut with an easy blowout of the Trinidad-based Guyanese Shawn Corbin (17-5, 12 KOs) in round two.
Corbin, 39, has never been given a chance to really kick off. He tried to fought on the even terms with Cleverly, but after a feel-out round in the first, Cleverly immediately rocked Corbin in the second and pounded him with both single punches and combinations until referee Richie Davis finally stepped in at 2:19 to halt the action. Corbin wasn't knocked down after all. Cleverly acquired a vacant WBA I/C belt with this win.
He was forced to dig in extremely deep - as always! - and Gavin Rees (38-4-1, 18 KOs) did dig extremely dip to make his farewell fight to be his one last great performance. Gary Buckland assisted in what was a not-so-epic but still very tense and very close two-way all-Wales action in the ultimate fight of a former WBA champion's sixteen-year
long career. In a rematch of their first collision, which ended in a split decision for Buckland just three months ago, Rees prevailed also with split scores: 115-113 and 117-112 - in his favour and 113-116 - for Buckland. BoxingScene had it 115-114 - for the retiring Welshman.
Rees, 34, started confidently, moving outside relying much on his experience and finer boxing skills. For the first two rounds these tactics prevailed but then Buckland, 27, began to find his way into the fight. He was hit much with counters in heated exchanges but he also winged willfully and threw more leather than his veteran rival.
His activity has paid off in rounds three and five with the fourth being virtually even.
In mid rounds, it looked like Rees' farewell will be a sad one as Buckland was fresher of the two, used his longer jab better and also landed more on Rees than took from him. But in round eight, Gavin has caught his second win and gradually started to overcome his younger foe. Rees has arguably taken the next five rounds, also arguments can be presented for both the eighth and the twelfth stanzas to be in favour of Buckland. Nevertheless, Rees looked to be a more consistent of the two and looked to be a better man overall.
Rees enjoyed a great career for an underrated fighter like him. He was gradually raised in Wales but never cam into the spotlight up until his upset victory over then-WBA light welterweight champion Souleymane M'Baye in July 2007. He was then stopped in the twelfth round to a competent champion in Andreas Kotelnik but later proved he by no means was a one-hit wonder, capturing the BBBOfC British and European lightweight titles before giving his all in a futile attempt to defeat a much greater talent in Adrien Broner.
Callum "Mundo" Smith (11-0, 9 KOs) continued his elder brother's path with an explicit display of his bodycrushing power in the second-round stoppage of once-defeated Welshman Tobias Webb (14-2, 2 KOs).
Smith, 24, had started his career with two decision wins in 2012 but then hadn't heard the bell for the end of the opening round for the next six fights. He did hear it in this contest but he has known everything he needed in the first stanza, probing Webb's defense and finding enough weaknesses in it for an immediate use.
In round two, Smith immediately got back to work, concentrating on body punches. Webb was firstly put down at the end of the first minute with a wicked left to the liver. After a couple of exchanges he went down again - this time after a painful right to the rib section. The Welshman continued to do his best for a survival but soon Smith put
him down one more time with a liver punch. Soon after that he connected with yet another left hook, which put Webb down on his knees and for the count. Time of stoppage was 2:50.
Callum Smith has also retained his WBC International super middleweight title for the first time. Next for him is a fight in July against a top-15 or top-20 WBC opponent, said his promoter Eddie Hearn.
The eldest of fighting Smith brothers - Paul Smith (35-3, 20 KOs) - has effectively continued his comeback series with a powerful second-round stoppage of an overmatched Spanish opponent David Sarabia (7-4-2, 2 KOs). Sarabia was put down in the first with a counter right hand to the whiskers, then rocked badly early into the second with a huge right uppercut and then took the beating up until the referee stopped it later in round two. Smith has his eye set on a world title opportunity - maybe against WBO super middleweight champion Arthur Abraham.