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Respect for Umar Sadiq

Umar Sadiq
Umar Sadiq takes a huge leap up in class against Fedor Chudinov. Paul Wheeler rounds up the action from Russia, Las Vegas and Liverpool

LATE-NOTICE opponent Umar Sadiq may not have got the result he wanted against Fedor Chudinov on Friday (September 11), but his stock has certainly risen, even in defeat.

The Ilford super-middleweight took a huge leap up in class by travelling to Khimki Basketball Center to face former WBA champion Chudinov on the robust Russian’s home turf. Sadiq’s participation in the contest – promoted by Vladimir Hryunov – was only officially confirmed five days beforehand, yet he refused to be daunted or overawed.

With just three years as a professional under his belt – all spent competing in the UK – Sadiq was considered a significant underdog heading into battle with his fellow 32-year-old. However, he made his vastly more seasoned foe work hard for the victory.

The tall Sadiq (167 3/4lbs) started brightly, busily lashing out with his long levers. As ever, the upright and methodical Chudinov (166 1/4lbs) was consistent in his approach of applying steady pressure behind a tight, high guard. Chudinov’s punches seemed to carry the greater weight, though Sadiq was well in the fight. This was evident from the judges’ scorecards going into the 12th and last round. Although one judge had Chudinov up by three points, a second had him only one ahead, with the third having Sadiq in the lead by five.

Ultimately, Chudinov’s perpetual forward march paid dividends, as he was eventually able to grind Sadiq down in the closing session. While the Serpukhov resident was contesting his 13th 12-rounder, Sadiq was locking horns over 12 for the very first time. As such, the Nigeria-born Brit was visibly exhausted when the end came. Cornered by Chudinov and unable to fire back in retaliation, a heavy two-fisted assault forced referee Yury Koptsev to terminate Sadiq’s brave effort at 0-34.

Following his exertions, Sadiq, 10-2 (6), was taken to hospital, but has since stated on social media that he is thankfully feeling “good”. The 23-2 (16) Chudinov, meanwhile, who maintained his lofty status in the WBA rankings, is now targeting a shot at his old WBA super-middle crown, which is currently held by Liverpool’s Callum Smith.

Also on the card, Brixton’s terribly faded Danny Williams succumbed to yet another distressing defeat. The 47-year-old, whose record is listed as 54-29 (41) 1NC, is exponentially far removed from the fighter who knocked out Mike Tyson and challenged Vitali Klitschko for the WBC heavyweight title back in 2004.

Unable to obtain a British Boxing Board of Control licence since last boxing under their jurisdiction in 2010, Williams has been fighting on the continent for the past decade. Of his recorded 33 outings during this period he has lost 20, including 11 inside the distance.

In a six-rounder on the Chudinov-Sadiq bill, Williams (249lbs) was up against Russia’s Sergey Kharitonov, who was making his pro debut at the age of 40. The successful mixed martial artist, kickboxer and amateur boxer – whose elaborate ring walk featured a live bear – made Williams drunkenly stumble to the canvas in the opening round off the back of a left hook around the ear. Williams’ lack of punch resistance was troublingly clear to see, as it has been for many years now.

In the second, Plesetsk’s Kharitonov (280lbs) easily landed a right uppercut and a pair of left hooks on the inside, causing Williams to worryingly teeter back in a daze. Instead of inflicting further punishment on the Londoner, Kharitonov compassionately stepped back and requested for referee Andrey Kurnyavka to stop the one-sided bout. After taking a look at Williams, the official decided to do just that at 2-21.

It has been reported that Williams is now planning to retire, though he has said the same before. Let’s hope that this time it really is the case, for the sake of his own health.

Over in Las Vegas the next night (Saturday September 12), Lithuania’s previous WBO welterweight title challenger Egidijus Kavaliauskas triumphed via stoppage against Canadian Mikael Zewski inside Top Rank’s Bubble at the MGM Grand.

Trois-Rivières’ Zewski (147lbs), who was winning on two of the three scorecards prior to the finish, suffered a knockdown late in round seven. A jolting right uppercut dipped his knees, before a vicious double-handed attack sent him down. Then, after only four seconds of the eighth, a crunching right hook decked Zewski again, leading referee Kenny Bayless to halt proceedings. It had been scheduled for 10.

The Oxnard, California-based Kavaliauskas (146 1/2lbs) improved his ledger to 22-1-1 (18) with the win, while Zewski’s statistics fell to 34-2 (23).

In a clash of ex-world title contestants on the same show, Los Angeles featherweight Joet Gonzalez, 24-1 (14), posted a dominant unanimous decision over Colombia’s Miguel Marriaga, 29-4 (25). The man from Arjona was beaten 97-93 (Lisa Giampa) and 99-91 twice (Dave Moretti and Steve Weisfeld). Robert Hoyle officiated. Both boxers weighed 125 3/4lbs.

Small hall boxing returned to the UK behind closed doors on Sunday (September 13), with Clifton Mitchell promoting at Hangar 34 in Liverpool.

In the main event on Merseyside, Digbeth’s all-action Ben Fields, 10-8-2, scrapped his way to a 96-94 success over Derby southpaw Alex Fearon, 9-2, to claim the vacant Midlands Area super-lightweight strap. Both men scaled 139 1/4lbs. John Latham refereed.

Mr Latham also oversaw the sole four-rounder on the card, between Worcester teenager Owen Cooper (147 1/4lbs) and Brierley Hill portsider MJ Hall (147 1/2lbs). Cooper moved to 3-0 with a 40-36 victory. Journeyman Hall dropped to 2-56-2.

Mark Lyson was in charge for a trio of six-round contests, including Leeds switch-hitter Jack Bateson’s landslide 60-52 win against Matt Craddock, 2-1 and 121 1/2lbs. Bateson, 12-0 (3) and 124lbs, floored his Birmingham rival twice in the final frame.

Another to prevail on points was George Farrell, 5-0 (1) and 167lbs. The Derby man was a 60-54 winner over Pinxton’s Cory Hardy, 1-2-1 and 168 1/2lbs, who hit the mat in the second. Elsewhere, Southport’s Jake Barton, 5-0 (1) and 174 1/2lbs, stopped Nottingham’s Olly Newham, 7-1 (2) and 175 1/4lbs, in stunning style in round two.

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