By Alexey Sukachev
Bolton Arena, Bolton - In a fight for the vacant WBO Inter-Continental lightweight title, Gavin Rees (37-3-1, 18KOs), who was cut around both eyes, did not have enough in the tank to overcome the more accurate and more technical Anthony Crolla (26-4-1, 9KOs). Crolla, a heavy underdog going in, picks up the biggest victory in his entire career. The scores were 115-113 and 116-113 for Crolla, and 115-115 for the draw. Rees was coming off a February TKO loss to Adrien Broner, while Crolla went to a twelve round majority draw with Derry Mathews in March.
Rees, 33, started - as always - both awkwardly and effectively. With his hands down, he tried to engage Crolla into a rumble in close quarters, but the latter refused to be fooled in and managed to utilize his strong left jab to frustrate the Welshman. Rees, however, was rather effective with sudden combinations (specifically in rounds two and four) to the head of Crolla. His body punches were also well felt by the Manchester native. Crolla, on the other hand, boxed more orthodoxally, trying to maintain his guard and to slowly press Rees around the ring.
In the second half of the fight, Crolla started to take control. Rees' spurts became considerably more short-lived, while Crolla looked good in retaliating Gavin's fire power with his body punches. Anthony also preferred to connect with combinations of punches thus overwhelming Rees awkwardness with his activity.
Rees managed to steal some rounds later oe, becoming considerably more aggressive at the end of each round. Crolla, on the other hand, caught Rees numerous times - especially on his way in. At the end, his skills and his will brought Anthony Crolla a deserved victory. BoxingScene had it 116-112 - for Crolla.
At 32 (and just three days shy of his 33rd birthday) Tony Dodson made a valiant effort to turn back time and win the BBBofC British super middleweight title for the second time ten years after the first success. His skills and, more importantly, his durability weren't enough, however, as he got stopped by 30-year old former British champion Paul "Smigga" Smith (33-3, 19 KOs) in the sixth round - three years after his defeat to the same opponent in another attempt to capture the domestic title.
Smith started fast but Dodson looked better in the second, mixing his body punches with rough, damaging blows to the head. Looking surprisingly supurb (specifically in terms of physical conditions) Dodson pressed the action against Smith, who looked to fight in spurts. In the wild third round, one of these spurts ended with a huge left hook, which caught Dodson flush... and down he went. Smith ran after the veteran but failed to finish him, and Dodson made a fascinating comeback later in one of the best European rounds of the year. Both combatants fought full-heartedly in the next couple of rounds but Smith slowly took the control of the fight. In round six, Smith started to hurt Dodson again with his power punches. In one of the exchanges, Smith landed a perfect right hand. Dodson turned his back on the opponent, and referee Richie Davis immediately waved it off at 2:31 of the sixth round. Dodson falls down to 29-8-1, 14 KOs.
2012 London Olympics British Boxing Team's captain Thomas Stalker (5-0, 2 KOs) easily dispatched overmatched Hungarian Gyula Vajda (11-3, 7 KOs) in the very frist round. Stalker dropped Vajda twice with his left hand and once - with his right hand, although all three punches looked light and not-so-powerful. The fight was waved off after the third knockdown at approximately 1:53 of the first.
Heating up for bigger, better showdowns (maybe a fight with fellow Brit Carl Frampton in the fall), WBA #1 rated super bantamweight contender and 122lb interim titleholder Scott Quigg (26-0-1, 19 KOs) easily demolished Brazilian import William Prado (21-4-1, 14 KOs) in three one-sided rounds. The fight did take place despite previous doping allegations related to Prado, which have been previously reported by the BoxingScene.
With or without doping, Prado wasn't on the same level with a rapidly improving native of Bury. He fought hard though and it costed him a knockdown with Quigg's right hand in round one. Shorter Prado was game but Quigg overwhelmed him with sharper and faster punches in both the first and the second round. In round three, Quigg hurt Prado with a liver hook midst into the stanza, and soon put him down with a smashing right hook. Enough was enough for the Brazilian, as the fight was waved off at 2:31 of the third round.
WBO #9 light middleweight Brian Rose, 28, got tested hard by rugged Bulgarian opponent Alexey Ribchev (14-7-1, 4 KOs) and escaped a close fight with an undeserved wide points win over ten non-title middleweight rounds at the Bolton Arena in Bolton, England. The sole score 99-93 didn't reflect an actual flow of an even collision, which was scored 95-95 by BoxingScene.
Rose enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2012, defending his British title thrice (and avenging his only pro loss to Max Maxwell with a wide UD) and also stopping former champion Vivian Harris in three. He added another sound name in ex-WBA beltholder Joachim Alcine in April. Ribchev, meanwhile, lost his last two in Eastern Europe, though his deceiving record told little of his natural ability. Showing his real skills, Ribchev, 30, a former Bulgarian national, pressed the action against taller but seemingly physically weaker Rose. The latter tried to utlizie his jab but Ribchev walked through it all fight long. However, the Bulgarian didn't hurt Rose at any time, and his defense wasn't at its best too. Nevertheless, both boxers engaged into an entertaining clash, which was finished hard by both parties. Rose is now 24-1-1, 7 KOs, but should re-consider his spot amongst the 154lb elite and train harder in order to succeed at a higher level.