Jamie Mitchell picked up the WBA bantamweight title that Shannon Courtenay had dropped on the scales yesterday as she claimed a majority decision over Courtenay on the Smith-Fowler undercard in Liverpool.
The American was a worthy winner and it is difficult to understand how Spanish judge Jesus Morata Garcia scored it a draw, 95-95. Fortunately, Yordan Ezekiev (96-94) and Howard Foster (97-93) picked Mitchell.
Mitchell basically outboxed Courtenay, who was punching clean air continuously as Mitchell darted in and out of range and beat her to the punch.
Having set a fierce early pace, Mitchell did not fade late on, even though it was her first fight beyond six rounds.
Courtenay had a good eighth, where she threatened to turn things round, but Mitchell never looked troubled throughout – she barely looked flustered.
“She said she was going to take me into deep waters and I swam like an Olympian,” Mitchell said. “A belt doesn’t make me but it shows you guys who I am.”
However, Courtenay thought she had done enough to win. “I thought I won the fight, I landed the much heavier shots, when she had me on the ropes she was throwing loads of shots but they weren’t landing, I was catching them on the arms and gloves. I don’t see how I lost that fight but I have got to pay respect to her, she’s now world champion. I’ve got a rematch and I’m going to get it back.”
Those words did not go down well with Mitchell.
“She’s saying that I didn’t land any shots, but look at her face,” Mitchell said. “I think I did great. I don’t really appreciate her taking my credibility away like that. I’m a dog and I will give her the rematch to show her again.”
Keiron Conway eased his way back into the title picture at super-welterweight as he won a close but unanimous decision over JJ Metcalf.
Conway, who drew with Ted Cheeseman for the British title in 2019, built up a handy lead in the first half of the fight as he kept Metcalf, who lost to Cheeseman in April, at distance. The Liverpudlian was able to put more pressure on after halfway, but struggled to pull back the deficit. Foster had it 96-94, while Steve Gray and Phil Edwards both scored it 96-95.
Top class amateur Peter McGrail disappointed at the Tokyo Olympics, but he got his professional career off to a winning start with a one-sided points win over Ed Harrison,
McGrail – a European and Commonwealth Games gold medalist, as well as a two-time World Championship bronze medalist – picked his opportunity against a dogged opponent. The closest McGrail came to victory was when he hurt him with a body shot in the final round, but McGrail was well worth his 60-54 decision from referee Steve Gray.