In an IBF eliminator bout held at Lotto Arena in Antwerp, Belgium, on Friday, March 19, the IBF number two welterweight contender, Randall 'The Knockout King' Bailey, won another title shot with a devastating first round knockout over Jackson Osei 'Sugar Jackson' Bonsu.
A Bailey combination sent Bonsu down early in the bout, but the Belgian beat the count and was given recovery time. A Bailey left hook then sent Bonsu down for the second time-and out-only 90 seconds into the contest.
Bailey, Miami, Florida, now 41-7 (36), won a shot at the winner of the IBF Welterweight Championship bout between Slovenian Jan Zavick of Germany versus Rodolfo Ezequiel Martinez of Argentina in a bout to be held in Slovenia on April 9.
Bailey, a former WBO junior welterweight champion, lost the title in 2000 in his first defense. He has remained an 'A' fighter, but failed twice to regain the WBO title, as well as the WBA and IBF versions of the junior welterweight title. He has moved up to 147 pounds, after spending five years at 138-143.
Bonsu, now 31-4 (24), a Ghana born fighter now out of Antwerp, Belgium, could not capitalize on home ring advantage. Bonsu lost his European Junior Welterweight championship against Rafal Jackiewicz (lost 12) in Poland 2008, and failed to regain it against Selcuk Aydin (KO by 9) in 2009.
The Aydin bout was also for the WBC International Junior Welterweight title. Bonsu, who is six years younger than Bailey, should probably call it a career. This bout sunk boxing in Belgium to an all-time low.
The Saga of American Fighters in Europe: Who Has Won
Bailey proved the critical point that boxing matchmakers and promoters in the United States are always howling about. American fighters who do their best cannot get a decision in Europe.
Still, Jerry Quarry took out European Heavyweight champion Jack Bodell at 1:04 of the first round in 1971 in Wembley. Muhammad Ali stopped European Heavyweight champion Henry Cooper twice in London, and later stopped European champion Richard Dunn in Germany. Fast Eddie Chambers decisioned 29-0 Alexander Dimitrenko in a 2009 heavyweight eliminator in Hamburg, Germany, and won a world title shot against Wladimir Klitschko. Brian Minto ended the comeback of Axel Schultz in 2006, stopping him in six rounds in Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany. Guillermo Jones won the WBA Cruiserweight title by stopping First Arslan in ten rounds in Hamburg, Germany.
Experienced heavyweight Zack Page, a journeyman with a losing record, exposed the padded record of 19-0 Sebastian Koeber, winning a six round decision in Magdeburg, Germany in January 2010. Former heavyweight champion Ray Mercer traveled to Karlsbad, Sweden in 2007 and 2008, winning by knockout and winning by decision. Former heavyweight champion Iron Mike Tyson scored a seventh round stoppage of Brian Nielsen in 2001 in Denmark. Sonny Liston won four bouts in Sweden 1966-67.
Legendary Middleweight champion Carlos Monzon won 12 times in Europe, no sweat. Heavyweight champion of the past, Jack Johnson (four wins in Spain, a win and a draw in France) successfully defended his title twice in Paris, but the odds remain rare.
These bouts represent a small percentage. My conservative guess is +95% of foreign boxers lose in Europe, including Americans. But wins in Europe are possible with hard work and a solid knockout. Luck has no place in Europe, though, with American as well as foreign fighters rare to win a decision there.
Noteworthy and rarely so, Randall Bailey adds to the legend, joining Breidis Prescott of Columbia, who knocked out Amir Khan in 54 seconds in Manchester in 2008, and Irish Gerry Quarry's 1971 win over Jack Bodell at Wembley, with one of the three most significant first round knockouts foreign fighters have scored in Europe.
As for boxing in Belgium, it is was never a world class venue nor site of world class boxers, and Bailey exposed Belgian boxing for what it really was: not much. it was always so, just that.
Bailey made us aware. Case closed.