Rendall Munroe Retains European Super-Bantamweight Title With Points Win Over Tough Arsen Martirosian

by James Slater - Last night, in Nottingham, England, European super-bantamweight champion Rendall Munroe retained his belt for the second time with a very hard-fought unanimous decision over the aggressive and gutsy French-Armenian, Arsen Martirosian. After 12 ultra-compelling rounds of hard fighting, all three judges had the 28-year-old champion winning. It was quite close, though, with two officials giving Munroe the victory by the slimmest of margins..

A wide, 117-112 winner on one card, Munroe's win was more accurately scored by the scores of 115-113 and 115-114. Both men gave their all and the fans got more than their money's worth. With the win Munroe, who is a dustbin man by day, improved to 16-1(7). The 31-year-old Martirosian fell to 12-2(3) - his only other loss having come in his very first pro fight.

In the opening round the challenger showed how dangerous he was, as he cracked a slow starting Munroe with three good left hooks to the head. Noticeably shorter than the defending champion, the French-Armenian really let loose with some hard-looking hooks to both head and body. Slightly shook up by his opponent's fast start, the 28-year-old southpaw tried to let his own hands go. It was the challenger's round, and he had come to take the title!

Martirosian's aggression continued in rounds two and three, while Munroe was hitting and moving as best he could. He wasn't yet in his groove, and the rough and tough challenger was winning the rounds. Munroe, who at times in the bout connected with some flashy left hand leads, was the better boxer by far, but the older man was effective enough with his hooks and raw aggression. The fight was exciting to watch and some good exchanges in the 3rd round drew loud cheers.

Munroe picked up a slight cut at the side of his right eye in the 4th, but by the 5th the fight seemed to be starting to go his way. Was Martirosian starting to tire a touch? It seemed so. The end almost came in the 7th round, as Munroe really gave his challenger a pasting to the body. Landing a number of hurtful shots on the 31-year-old's midsection, Munroe came very close to getting a stoppage win. At one point, with Munroe belting him to the body with virtual impunity, Martirosian signalled to the referee that there was some loose tape on his glove. There was, but the distress signal the challenger gave was all too obvious. Badly in need of a rest, Martirosian was in trouble.

He made it through the round, but the fire resumed as soon as the bell for round 8 rang. Jumping right back on his man, Munroe sent Martirosian through the ropes and almost clean out of the ring itself. Amazingly, ref Adrio Zannoni gave no count. Once the action continued the end looked imminent, as thudding shot after thudding shot slammed into the challenger's body. A time-out did occur in this round, due to loose tape on Martirorian's glove, and as it took place the crowd booed loudly. Somehow, showing great heart as he did so, Martirosian survived the hellish three minutes. The round could very easily have been scored 10-8 for the champion though.

Seeming to have the fight pretty much all his own way now, Munroe was to see an incredibly game challenger come back at him in the 9th! Chugging forward and letting go with more hooks, Martirosian was still dangerous. Munroe got a big telling off in his corner after the 9th, and his team clearly felt the fight was close - which it turned out to be.

There was another time-out due to loose tape on the glove of the challenger in the 10th, before Munroe won the round with his fast jabs and combinations. Both men were feeling the pace, and with no real surprise. The bout had been fought with great intensity and lots of punches had been thrown on either side.

The champion closed the show in the final round, letting both hands go as much as he could. A stumble by Martirosian prompted Munroe to jump right on his man, but the challenger had been more off balance and fatigued than genuinely hurt. Munroe may be no big puncher, but his 31-year-old Armenian-born opponent deserves enormous credit for the number of accurate shots he took all night long. A very good fight had been fought, and at the end everyone knew it had been a close bout.

Munroe was happy afterwards and can look ahead to some big money fights down the road. Martirosian, though he lost last night, will surely come again .

Article posted on 07.09.2008

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