By Chris Williamson
London, Copper Box - Wembley’s Gary Corcoran (now 17-1) won a second fight since his only loss to Liam Williams in a British challenge at light-middle a year ago with a gritty split decision win at welterweight against previously unbeaten Larry Ekundayo (now 12-1).
The bout was contested for something called the WBO inter-continental belt but a clash of this quality was always much more meaningful than the belt. Ekundayo beat main event challenger Dale Evans back in 2015.
After a scrappy opener Corcoran targeted the body and landed a flush short right hook to shade the second.
Ekundayo looked for the space to box and move as Corcoran pressed and pressured to make it a gruelling and scrappy clash. Although not his preferred strategy Ekundayo proved more than capable of fighting in the trenches, giving as good as he got in a heated fifth stanza.
By the seventh the two were exchanging vicious body punches mixed with short hooks to the head as they tried to establish supremacy and Corcoran suffered a cut above his left eye during the eighth.
As Ekundayo was pressed to a corner in the ninth, a combination of short counter hooks hurt Corcoran badly. Two left hooks from Ekundayo to start the tenth again hurt Corcoran and a further left hook almost floored him in a terrific tenth and by the championship rounds a grotesque swelling had developed over Ekundayo’s right eye.
After a fittingly brutal final round Corcoran was judged the split winner in a fight where both men come away with reputations enhanced.