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The perfect surrenders of Josh Kelly and Rylan Charlton

Josh Kelly
The corners of Josh Kelly and Rylan Charlton did exactly the right thing while Frampton and Whyte must wait a little longer to shine, writes George Gigney

FOR the second weekend in a row a Matchroom card on Sky Sports produced thrills and spills aplenty. There was another upset in the main event as David Avanesyan bludgeoned Josh Kelly, forcing the Sunderland man’s corner to throw in the towel.

In fact, it was that decision from head trainer Adam Booth which deserves slightly more appreciation. The towel came in at the perfect time; Kelly was cut, had been down and was shipping significant punishment. There was no need for the young fighter to be left in there to suffer more damage, and Booth should be commended for his decision.

The same should be said of Rylan Charlton’s corner, who threw in the towel for him on the same card, ending his valiant effort against Florian Marku. Again, the timing was spot on; Charlton had found success in the fight, dropping Marku, but had then had the fight beaten out of him. He and Kelly were saved for another day – they both have plenty of time to rebuild.

Though the broadcast perhaps didn’t focus on the compassion of Kelly’s and Charlton’s corners enough, in fairness they were busy praising the victors of those two fights, who also deserve enormous credit.

Josh Kelly

Robbie Davies Jnr was upset by Mexico’s Gabriel Valenzuela lower down the bill, adding yet more drama to a standout show. To get such excitement from a show with no proven stars is an encouraging sign for the health of British boxing.

Over in America, Oscar Valdez dazzled on ESPN by flattening Miguel Berchelt at a new weight, while Adrien Broner churned out a lacklustre win over Jovanie Santiago on Showtime.

After the fight, which was very close, Broner said of those who felt he lost, including Showtime unofficial scorer Steve Farhood: “If you look at my Twitter, 98 per cent of them don’t like me. So f**k Twitter and f**k Steve Farhood.”

In conclusion, Broner hasn’t matured nor has he improved. There’s also a slight microcosm of the current broadcast battle in the US; Showtime are still relying on faded names like Broner while ESPN are investing in bright young stars like Valdez.

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Unfortunate delays to two big fights were announced, for differing reasons. As previously rumoured, Carl Frampton’s bid to become a three-weight world champion against Jamel Herring has been pushed back by a month to March 27 after the Northern Irishman picked up a hand injury. The fight – involving two MTK-managed boxers – will now take place in Dubai, rather than London.

Dillian Whyte’s rematch with Alexander Povetkin has also moved from the UK capital and will instead be held in Gibraltar, of all places. It’s been delayed three weeks, meaning it lands on the same night as Herring-Frampton. Travel restrictions due to the pandemic are what caused this delay.

It’s unclear whether the two shows will clash – Povetkin-Whyte will air on Sky Sports Box Office while Herring-Frampton will be on BT Sport in the UK. Depending on when the main events take place local time, fans may be able to watch both in the same night if they so choose. For reference, Dubai is three hours ahead of Gibraltar.

That the two shows were able to so swiftly be rearranged is one of the silver linings of the Covid-19 pandemic – without fans being able to attend, it is logistically easier to find new dates and venues. Typically, when fights are delayed, it’s by several months but as things stand organisers can look to entirely different territories if need be, ensuring any delays are minimal.

Gervonta Davis’ protracted dealings with law enforcement continued this past week as he was identified as the driver in a November hit-and-run accident in downtown Baltimore that injured at least three people, according to the Guardian.

According to a police report, Davis was behind the wheel of a Lamborghini when it ran a red light and collided with another vehicle in the early hours of November 5 last year, just days after his knockout win over Leo Santa Cruz. The other vehicle was “destroyed” and Davis and two others he was with fled the scene on foot. As of yet, no charges have been filed against Davis, though police say the investigation is “ongoing.”

On top of that, this week a trial will begin dealing with the charge of simple battery domestic violence which Davis surrendered himself to police over last year.

It might transpire that these infringements do not amount to much of a punishment for Davis, but they must surely be worrying signs for anyone invested in the 26-year-old.

Josh Warrington will seek revenge over Mauricio Lara later this year after the unheralded Mexican upset the former world champion last week. The Leeds man told the BBC that his career is far from over and that he intends to rebuild, before promoter Eddie Hearn revealed the news that they have invoked their rematch clause and the second fight will happen in the summer – ideally in front of fans.

It’s a logical step for Warrington, though the risks are obvious.

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There appears to be a growing rift between lightweight supremo Teofimo Lopez and his promoter Bob Arum. Lopez had previously said that if Top Rank don’t pay him what he feels he’s worth, he will “take [his] talents elsewhere”.

As it turns out, Lopez is reportedly allowing his mandated defence against George Kambosos Jnr to go to purse bids in order to get the most money for it. Arum, speaking to the Pugg and Copp Show, explained that this wasn’t illegal, but it would irreparably damage Lopez’ relationship with the promotional outfit and cost him big opportunities in the future.

Teofimo Lopez fighter of the year

Lopez wouldn’t be the first fighter to fall out with Top Rank, though it would take a huge amount of self-belief to split from them and strike out on his own. Lopez isn’t exactly short of that though.

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