By Alexey Sukachev
WBC #12 and WBO #15 rising heavyweight prospect David Price (15-0, 13 KOs), 29, continued his Old Man's tour with a destruction of overaged veteran Matt Skelton (28-7, 23 KOs), 16 years his senior. with a second round knockout. Price retained both of his belts - the Commonwealth title and the BBBofC British heavyweight title - for the second time.
British 2008 Beijing Olympian started the fight bad, eating two consecutive right hands at the ropes from the marauding challenger. Skelton looked okay for approximately a minute and a half but then started to get punished. He was slightly wobbled late in the first. Skelton started the second stanza well too, landing a hard right hand. However, Price recovered nicely and started to fight back. Midst into the second, Price landed a couple of hooks, which were downplayed by his opponent. Showboating didn't help him much though. Price lifted his game and forced Skelton into the ropes, where, after a merciless barrage, the veteran went down for the count after the body shot.
The official time of stoppage announced was 2:56 of the second round. Skelton's career seems to come to an end. Price is on a heat streak right now. Tony Thompson could be next for him, and Tyson Fury looks to be his most lucrative domestic option.
A year after his last ring appearance, Denton Vassell, the welterweight champion at Commonwealth, was at the height of his powers in a fascinating six-round demolition of talented 21-year old challenger Ronnie Heffron. Vassell (now 20-0, 10 KOs) has never looked any better than that and has never scored such an impressive stoppage.
It wasn't a walk in the park for the defending champion, however. Oppositely to him, Heffron (now 11-1, 8 KOs) was 3-0 this year, including two back-to-back wins over the rugged upset artist Peter McDonagh. The last victory came along just 29 days ago, and it wasn't easy (77-76 - victory for Heffron). It had certainly imposed its toll on the Oldham's native. But the first two rounds were in his favour. Heffron used his left hand to an extent, tagging Vassell time and again. Denton, 28, was dangerous as well and with the same punch, but his ring rust was well felt.
He shook it off in the third, and from that point the contest was all his. Vasell established his left jab and began to connect with his right hand on succession. Heffron was gradually losing his steam. Round five was big for the champion, but the sixth was even bigger. Late in the round, which had been already taken by him, Vassell landed two consecutive uppercuts - firstly, from the left, and then from the right. The latter almost tore Heffron's head off but he miraculously retained the upright position. Nevertheless, referee Mark Green took Ronnie in his corner, Heffron's nose heavily bleeding and possibly broken, and waved the fight off. Official time of stoppage was 2:56 of the sixth. Vasell scored his fourth win over fellow unbeaten (defeating previously 23-0 Bethuel Ushona, 5-0-2 Jamaal Morrison and 6-0 Eddie Corcoran) and retained his title for the third time.
In the epitome of a great fight, unbeaten and inexperienced Kirk Goodings, 23, took a huge step up in class but finished a bit short on the referee Steve Gray's scorecard, losing a razor-thin twelve-round decision to former English champion and British title challenger Steve Williams (13-1, 5 KOs). 116-115 card - for Williams - reflects both the proximity of the action and the right choice of the winner.
Goodings (now 7-1, 1 KO), a bit taller than his opponent, chose to fight on the distance, while Williams was trying to bully his way in. The opening rounds were hotly contested but Goodings showed more refined skills and was sharper, while Williams couldn't find his game. The pattern changed later in the fight, when Steve's wicked body punches started to pay off and Gooding began to slow down. The midst of the fight was a critical point for the challenger but Goodings, his mouth open and his legs being spaghetti-like at moments, was able to survive. The pinnacle of the combat has been reached in the ninth, when the youngster was almost put down but weathered the storm.
Later in the fight, Goodings found his rhythm while catching a second wind. Williams, meanwhile, looked fatigued and lost the closing couple of rounds to his determined foe. Nevertheless, BoxingScene had it 116-112 - for 28-year old Williams, who acquired a vacant British Masters light welterweight title in process.
Former amateur standout Joe Selkirk (10-0, 5 KOs), a towering (6'1'') middleweight stylist, looked reluctant to press against determined Latvian journeyman Ruslans Pojonisevs (13-24-1, 10 KOs) but used his reach and busy jab to keep the former BBU international champion at bay for eight tactical rounds. Selkirk didn't use his power and seemed content to go the distance against the limited opponent, who used wild swings almost to no effect. Selkirk needs something more to be considered a relevant opponent for the best British middleweights. The sole score was 80-72. BoxingScene had it 78-74 - also for Selkirk. Pojonisevs has lost his eighth straight, and he is just 1-14 over the last two years.