By Terence Dooley
Manchester — Manchester’s Terry Flanagan (9st 9lbs) became WBO lightweight champion in less than ideal circumstances after California’s Jose Zepeda (9st 8lbs 8oz) dislocated his shoulder in the second round of a fight that was developing nicely until the injury occurred.
“Turbo” (28-0, 11 early) lives just down the road from the Velodrome; the 26-year-old is Ancoats born and bred and was declared the winner after referee Marcus McDonnell decided that Zepeda, also 26, had injured himself when throwing a punch, rather than when taking one, and had therefore lost the fight by TKO according to the rules to drop to 23-1 (20).
It was another all-southpaw clash, but in this one the styles were just starting to gel when Zepeda swung the shot that ultimately ended his world title hopes.
The WBO rulebook is vague when it comes to this type of thing. They discuss injuries in relations to fouls, so there is no real ruling about what should happen in this type of a case.
However, Section 24: Referees part (e) states that: ‘The Referee may stop the fight and consult with the ringside physician on whether, in the physician’s opinion, a contestant is physically able to continue,’ so this may account for the decision rendered by McDonnell.
Should he wish to do so, Zepeda could petition the stoppage under Section 34: Complaints and Grievances.
It reads: ‘Any WBO Participant, including, but not limited to a Boxer, Manager, or Promoter who is or could be affected by a determination of the World Championship Committee who wishes to contest such a determination must, as his or her sole and exclusive remedy, file a Complaint pursuant to the WBO Appeal regulations.
‘In all cases the complaint shall be referred to the WBO President, who may attempt for a reasonable period to resolve the complaint amicably.
"The WBO President may reject a complaint or he may refer it to the Complaints and Grievance Committee which shall determine the complaint or grievance in accordance with the WBO Appeals regulations.’
Zepeda, though, may be out for some time because of his injury so it is highly likely that his first thoughts will be about his long rehabilitation from what looked like a bad dislocation.
"He hit me, but I didn’t feel anything, I must be numb in the head," joked Flanagan. "I want the rematch, I want to prove I am the better boxer. I want to fight and beat him again without the shoulder injury."
"It is a shame, but, listen, we've got a new lightweight champion in Manchester," said Warren, who added that Flanagan will be out in the autumn.
"Nothing fazes him," added Steve Woods, Flanagan's Manager, basking in the glow if his first world champion.
Jack Catterall decided to fight fouls with fouls in the early rounds of the next bout, a WBO Inter-Continental title defence against Argentina’s Gabriel Calfin over ten-threes.
Neither man was an angel early doors. Calfin earned two point deductions from referee Marcus McDonnell in rounds two and three for hitting on the break. The visitor had a point deducted for persistent holding in round four; the 31-year-old’s eyes were also swelling by this point.
The scruffy, all-southpaw match failed to catch fire; Chorley’s Catterall smothered his work early, but eventually found enough range on his shots to produce a pronounced swelling around his opponent’s right eye.
You know you are making waves when other fighters like to watch you fight, Paul Butler watched the contest in his shorts and gloves.
Calfin was on a three-fight run going in only to quickly lose cohesion as his eye closed; he was docked another point for the use of his head at the end of the fifth round and was examined by the ringside doctor before being sent out for the sixth.
The doctor had another look in the early moments of the session, advising the referee that it could go on for a little longer. Catterall forced McDonnell’s hand by unleashing a sequence of shots that prompted the third man to stop it at 1:20. Catterall retained his belt and moves to 12-0 (8).
Calfin (22-7, 8 early) protested, but he was under pressure and his eye was in a bad state.
McDonnell told Catterall and trainer Lee Beard that was no need to hit on the break, and that the 22-year-old had proved this point by cleaning things up to keep his slate clean.
"'You're a much better fighter than that'," said head coach Lee Beard when asked what McDonnell had said to them following the fight's conclusion.
BoxingScene's unofficial scorecard is currently under consideration by Stephen Fry and Professor Stephen Hawking.
Ellesmere Port’s former IBF bantamweight titlist Paul Butler (8st 8lbs 8oz) returned to winning ways by beating Mexico’s Gustavo Molina (8st 6lbs 4oz) in their scheduled 10-round non-title fight.
A right hand set off a series of left hooks from the 26-year-old Liverpudlian (now 18-1, 9 stoppages). Referee Howard Foster hovered for a moment before stepping in to save the 26-year-old Mexican flyweight titlist from further punishment at 2:53 of the fifth round—he drops to 19-7 (7), his three-fight winning streak coming to an abrupt end.
Butler lost his IBF belt to Zolani Tete in March (L TKO 8). “The Baby Faced Assasin” was both out-boxed and out-punched when losing his belt—there were no excuses on the night.
During his ringwalk, Butler’s robe hooded his face; viewers could not see his facial expression so had to wait until the first bell to ascertain if he was feeling any nerves following his first defeat.
“I felt good,” he said. “It was just about trying to relax in the first three rounds, shaking off the cobwebs.”
“Once I got the rounds, it felt like home to me,” he said, speaking about the Tete setback.
“He is going to win another world title, no doubt in my mind,” added Anthony Farnell, his trainer.
“We want some ranking fights to build him up the rankings over the next six-months to get him back to a world title,” was Francis Warren’s take on Butler’s future.
Croma's Liam Walsh (9st 8lbs 8oz) kicked off the title action when meeting Isaias Santos Sampaio (9st 7lbs 12oz) over the championship distance for the vacant WBO Intercontinental lighweight title.
Sampaio came into the frame for Walsh earlier this week after replacing original opponent Troy James, who had to withdraw from his British and Commonwealth Super featherweight title challenge to Walsh due to a back injury.
Sampaio, though, did not produce anything of note to write home about, preferring to play it cautiously throughout.
By round six, Walsh, 29, had slipped seamlessly into the southpaw stance; he landed a shot, leaned on the Brazilian and 29-year-old dipped to his knees, prompting a count from referee Phil Edwards.
Sampaio protested the knockdown only to be taken out by Walsh’s next attack, a left uppercut to the body ending proceedings at 1:28 of the round.
"He was quite negative," said Walsh (19-0, 13 KOs). "I was excited about having a tear-up, getting stuck in and trading some blows. It wasn’t one of my best fights because of the styles."
"I expected him (Sampaio) to be a lot more aggressive," said Francis Warren. "It gets him a ranking with the WBO at lightweight, he’s three at Super featherweight—I think he functions best at that weight."
In the second live fight, Alexander Ustinov (20st 3lbs 8oz) floored Travis Walker (17st 11lbs 12oz) twice in the first of their 10-threes International heavyweight contest.
Ustinov has reeled off three wins since losing to Kubrat Pulev (L KO 11 in September 2002), beating Ivica Perkovic (W8), David Tua (W12 away in New Zealand) and Chauncy Welliver (W8).
The 38-year-old known as “Alexander The Great” stiffened Walker’s legs with a left hook to the temple early in round two and he was deemed in no position to continue by referee Howard Foster, much to the 31-1 (22) Russian's delight
The American walks back to Texas with a 39-14-1 (31) slate; he is on a run of seven straight losses and the 36-year-old did not look capable of arresting that decline on tonight's form.
The first of BoxNation’s live fights on the Frank Warren-promoted Terry Flanagan versus Jose Zepeda bill from the Velodrome venue saw local boy Macaulay McGowan (10st 13lbs 7oz) vying with Driffield’s Danny “Lethal” Little (11st 1lb) in a scheduled four-threes contest.
Little looks like a miniature, orthodox version of Luis Collazo, albeit without Collazo's skill set; he won his first two professional fights before dropping a six-round decision to Dean Byrne.
He bounced back with a win over Lewis van Poetsch (W4) only to bump into Tyrone Nurse (L6), Nathan Dale (L6) and Nathon Smith (D6) before losing in the fifth of a scheduled six rounder to tonight’s co-headline act.
After losing to Flanagan, the 30-year-old lost a further five fights and failed to trouble McGowan, 20, as the Wythenshawe-based boxer posted a 40-36 win on Phil Edwards’s scorecard—leaving Flanagan with the distinction of being the only man who has stopped Little (3-10-1).
The visitor will stay busy; he has a rematch with Nathon Smith pencilled in for the first of August.
McGowan moves to 7-0 (1), he went the distance in his first four fights before stopping Attila Bardos in one in March. A decision win over Arvydas Trizno in April prevented him from building on his first stoppage and Little’s stubborn resistance meant he had to go the distance for the seventh time.
"I think he boxed well," said British light-middleweight title holder and BoxNation pundit Liam Smith. "[Trainer] Arnie [Farnell] won't rush him because he's only a baby," he added.
"I tired a lot of things because their learning fights," said McGowan. "In the last round, I hurt him, but he grabbed me twice. The power is coming in the gym—it will be there in another six-months."
"I know what he can do, what he's like in the gym, but doing it in the gym is different to doing it under the lights," said Farnell, speaking about his charge's desire to get KOs. "It (the power) is coming. He's a baby, he's going to get better and better. He's going to be big. He'll be a middleweight, he's still growing."