Main title pictures beckon Jay Harris and Paul Butler if they’re victorious in Bolton, writes Matt Bozeat
SWANSEA’S Jay Harris might quickly be preventing for one more main sanctioning physique title when he takes on Ricardo Sandoval in a last eliminator for the IBF flyweight title, held by Sunny Edwards.
The combat was initially set for six weeks in the past earlier than being postponed. It’s now set for Bolton Whites Lodge on Friday night time (June 25) and is promoted by Lee Eaton of MTK International.
Harris’ fist shot at a significant belt got here final February, when he challenged Mexican puncher Julio Cesar Martinez for the WBC strap in Texas. The worry was the Welshman could be out of his depth, however although reduce early and down within the tenth from physique pictures, he by no means let the champion dominate and was spirited till the ultimate bell.
Harris received 4, 5 and two rounds on the scorecards with out ever placing a dent in Martinez along with his crisp mixture punching. Because the boxing saying goes, Harris “misplaced properly.” He had the satisfaction of turning into the primary to take Martinez the total 12 rounds.
The 30-year-old has boxed as soon as since, outpointing Liverpool’s Marcel Braithwaite over 10 rounds final October.
Subsequent is Sandoval, a 22-year-old from California who’s had 5 straight stoppages. He has received all 9 since Alonso Ceja, then 4-0, outpointed him on a majority over 4 rounds, however hasn’t had issues all his personal means.
Brent Venegas, 3-0, dropped ‘El Nino’ and pushed him to a break up over six, whereas Sandoval needed to rally from two knockdowns to cease the 12-1-1 Marco Sustaita in 5. Sandoval is within the midst of a studying curve, it appears.
He confirmed a cooler head through the seventh-round stoppage of Filipino gatekeeper Raymond Tabugon (22-11-1), thought of a step up, in his most up-to-date outing final February. Sandoval dropped him within the second with a quick left hook counter and went on to dish out a beating. That was the furthest Sandoval has been in his professional profession. It additionally means he’s been out of the ring for 16 months.
He’s stable, heavy-handed and appears for eye-catching singles, notably along with his lead hand.
No query, Sandoval is an thrilling prospect, however is he prepared for Harris? We don’t suppose so. The Welshman can win both by late stoppage or on factors.
Additionally in Bolton, Ellesmere Port’s Paul Butler and veteran Joseph Agbeko combat for a shot on the WBO bantamweight title, held by Filipino banger John Riel Casimero. Butler and Agbeko (38-5) are each former IBF champions at 118lbs.
Now 44, Agbeko had two spells with the belt (2007-2009 and 2010-2011), whereas Butler vacated 25 days after dethroning Stuart Corridor on a break up vote in June 2015 to maneuver again right down to 115lbs. There he was properly overwhelmed in eight by South African lefty Zolani Tete in a problem for the IBF title and Butler was additionally dropped twice and outboxed by Puerto Rican boxer-puncher Emmanuel Rodriguez for the vacant IBF championship at 118lbs after weighing in heavy.
Everybody else the Joe Gallagher-trained Butler has confronted in his 32-2 profession he’s been in a position to outbox, together with his final six opponents.
Agbeko is on a nine-fight profitable run, unfold over eight years since he was outpointed by Cuban southpaw Guillermo Rigondeaux in a bid for the world super-bantamweight title.
Current opposition has been much less demanding for Agbeko, who was set to field Child Galahad in London 4 years in the past earlier than falling unwell on the day of the combat. Agbeko is most actually previous his prime whereas Butler is on the tail-end of his, and we go for the youthful man to be too recent and beat him on factors.
Had outcomes gone their means, Hosea Burton (25-2) and Liam Conroy (18-6-1) would have met within the last of the Golden Contract. As an alternative, they meet on Friday night time in an actual crossroads conflict at 175lbs that has the makings of combat.
The 6ft 4ins Burton, British champion for 10 months in 2016 and now 32 years previous, had a prolonged novice apprenticeship, profitable the ABAs in 2009, and is a disciplined long-range boxer who does his finest work early.
In contrast, Conroy is a heart-on-his-sleeve fighter with heavy arms who’s been weak early and powerful late.
Within the Golden Contract final September, Cumbria’s Conroy was properly overwhelmed in 4 rounds by 2016 Olympian Serge Michel (10-1), 4 days after Burton was outpointed by Ricards Bolotniks (16-5-1) in Latvia.
The scorecards have been ludicrous, two judges scoring 98-90 and the third a shut out 100-90. For me, Bolotniks shaded it after handing Burton two standing counts within the ninth.
We see Burton overcoming a wobble or two to win this British title eliminator on factors over 10 rounds.
The Verdict Three high quality matchups high this busy card.