Click for larger image © Jane Warburton / Saddo Boxing
Last night at a packed and noisy Ice Arena in Nottingham, England, British and Commonwealth Super Middleweight Champion Carl Froch faced hated rival Tony Dodson in what must be the grudge match of the year. Hennessy Sports promoted the very entertaining evening, billed as "Outright", and it was capped off by the main event, a fight long overdue if only to stop the long running verbal onslaught between Froch and Dodson.
Looking to regain the British Title, which he didn't actually lose in the ring and to gain a Commonwealth title as well, Dodson looked obviously fired up as he made his way to the ring amidst cheers from his Liverpool supporters.
Home-town hero Carl "The Cobra" Froch made his entrance to the sounds of "We will, we will rock you!". As he skipped round the ring, he purposely barges into Dodson, continuing the winding-up process that has been unceasing throughout the promotion of this fight.
In the first half minute of the opening round, Carl Froch’s weak defense allows a couple of Dodson's shots to get through, but he immediately comes back with a swinging overhand left. Dodson ploughs in with several shots.
The challenger's left jab catches Froch and Dodson is walked back to his corner to collect his gumshield which flew out of his mouth as a result of his efforts. Not quite the fast and furious scrap I expected in the first round.
The opening seconds of round two sees Dodson force Froch back on to the ropes momentarily. As they're both in a clinch, Froch looks over Dodson's shoulder and shakes his head in an exaggerated fashion as if to say "that didn’t bother me." His hands are dropped low and he continues to look cool and calm as he looks for the right hand shot.
Round three and Froch is using his right hand more. Referee Phil Edwards calls for time and tells both boxers to "break when I say break and no punches."
With 22 seconds of the round to go, Froch dips and cleanly lands a great right uppercut on Dodson's chin. Dodson's head rocks back and he smarts from the power of the punch. Dodson has obviously been shaken, when just seconds later Froch lands a right to the face followed by a left hand to the body.
Dodson goes down on one knee and is bent over with pain as the referee calls the standard eight count. Dodson gets up several seconds after the count as Froch and his corner celebrate. Froch wins by KO at 2:55 of the third round.
Afterwards, Froch talked of becoming a world class fighter. "I'd like a top international fight early in the New Year," he said.
Mick Hennessy said they'd "like a European title fight probably in February, but it’s very political, so if we don't get that we'll probably go after an International fight."
He mentioned unbeaten Canadian knockout artist Lucian Bute in a final eliminator then said, "but there’s always Calzaghe if he fancies a step-up. Forget Calzaghe against Clinton Woods, this (Carl Froch) is the best super middleweight on the planet and this (Calzaghe vs. Froch) is a far bigger fight."
European Cruiserweight Champion and WBC number one contender David Haye was ringside and sporting a bandaged right hand, but looked happy and enjoying the occasion as he chatted with photographers. Also, ringside were British Light Middleweight Champion Jamie Moore, WBC Youth Lightweight titlist John Murray and WBC Light Welterweight Champion Junior Witter.
An impressive Undercard made for an already entertaining night.
Billy Corcoran (Wembley) v Sean Hughes (Pontefract)
8 x 3 minute Super-Bantamweight Contest
Corcoran (of Robert McCrackens’ gym) has dropped a couple of weight divisions to make this fight and he looked very skinny as he faced Sean “Short-fuse’ Hughes. It was a tricky start for Corcoran who tried to get to grips with Hughes’s southpaw stance. With just over a minute of the first round to go - Hughes picks up the work-rate and catches Corcoran with a right-hand punch and Corcoran goes down . He jumps straight up to his feet again and after taking the count he walks on to a couple of right-hands from Hughes.
Round 2 continues to be difficult for Corcoran who struggles with Hughes’s stance. He is caught by a lot of shots but finishes the last few seconds of the round stronger. Corcoran is hurt again mid-way through round 3 and hangs on to Hughes. Hughes has the more power in his punches. Towards the end of the round Hughes takes a barrage of punches from Corcoran - then he is backed up on the ropes and takes a good right-hand punch from Corcoran which snaps his head back.
Round 4 and Corcoran is landing a few more shots and Sean Hughes sustains a cut above his right brow. In the last 10 seconds of the round Hughes goes down after a right-hand blow from Corcoran.
“You can win this, Seanâ€¦” his corner tells himâ€¦.”the difference is - who wants it..”
Round 5 and Corcoran has seemed a bit off-balance, maybe it’s the weight factor..maybe it’s the southpaw stance of Hughes - whatever the reason - Corcoran has looked visibly “shaken’ every round.
There were times when you didn’t know how Corcoran was managing to still stand!
Round 6 and Hughes looks tired - but he’s had the better work and success-rate.
Round 7 and it’s a big round for Hughes with Corcoran looking dazed from Hughes’s shots. It seems he is fighting “purely on heart’. Inside the last minute, Hughes seems to tire and then Corcoran “slips’ on the canvas. Corcoran jumps back up and Hughes walks on to a right. Then Corcoran takes more shots - too many! And no-one would have been surprised to see the fight
Eighth and final round and Corcoran comes out of his corner knowing he has to “go-for-it’. He is busier in the first half minute of the round and lands some shots while Hughes is backed up on the ropes. After Much to the shock of spectators - Referee Lee Cook jumps in and stops the fight! There is absolute uproar from the corner and from ringside. ”I don’t believe it!” Michael Marsden screams. The referee had allowed Corcoran to go-on so many times during the fight when really no-one would have argued if it had been stopped, yet the fight is stopped the first time Hughes looks in any danger. As Hughes stands in the middle of the ring to hear the announcement his corner shouts “Stand-up / Head up, Sean” as he leaves the ring he shouts “Just been robbed!”
Referee Lee Cook had Hughes 1 point ahead before he stopped the fight.
Other fights included:
Dave Stewart (Ayr) v Kpakpo Allotey (Ghana)
10 x 3 minute Commonwealth Lightweight Title Eliminator
Stewart wins on points
Dazzling Darren Barker (Barnet) v Ojay Abrahams
8 x 3 minute Middleweight Contest
Abrahams retired with a shoulder injury round 1.
Jonjo Finnegan (Burton on Trent) v Dean Walker
4 x 3 minute Heavyweight Contest
Ricardo Samms (Nottingham) v Rob Burton (Barnsley)
4 x 3 minute Super-Middleweight Contest
Samms Points win
Rod Anderton (Nottingham) v Phill Callaghan
4 x 3 minute Light-Heavyweight Contest
Referee stopped fight Round 4. Anderton wins by TKO
Tyan Booth v Peter Dunn
4 x 3 minute Middleweight Contest
Booth wins on points
Christian Laight v Jack Perry (Derby)
4 x 3 minute Light-Welterweight Contest
Perry wins on points