Rhodes upsets Moore for European title

by Andrew Harrison live from the Bolton Arena - Ryan Rhodes wrenched the European light middleweight title away from Manchester’s Jamie Moore on Friday evening with a thrilling seventh round upset victory. In doing so he tore up the form book and left Moore’s world title aspirations in tatters.

Both fighters looked confident on their way into the ring and it was Moore, making the second defence of the title he took from Michele Piccirillo in March, who forced the action from the off, smothering his switch hitting opponent with a steady stream of punches thrown from the southpaw stance.

Rhodes elected to stay in the pocket, cannily looking to evade Moore’s attacks before sharp shooting with hard punches to head and body.

In the second, the Salford man continued his high tempo assault, winging in meaty body shots as Rhodes span off him and countered, ensuring that each burst he threw contained a debilitating body shot designed to drain the champion’s reserves.

Moore looked in command in round three, bringing his smart right uppercut into play as he advanced, however Rhodes stubbornly responded with hard right counter shots downstairs.

The Sheffield man simply refused to buckle under Moore’s pressure and despite shifting a brace of hard left hands in round four, he replied with a hefty right of his own, whilst his own concerted body punching looked to be having an effect on the champion.

Round five was fought at close quarters and as Moore’s punching began to look more laboured, Rhodes started to rally, his confidence growing visibly. The action paused briefly after Moore whacked his opponent low, yet after a brief respite, they were back to work, drilling each other in turn. Whilst Rhodes’ punches had a jolting look to them however, it seemed as though the champion was beginning to flag.

Sensing that he needed to find a response, Moore put his foot on the gas in the sixth, steadily working Rhodes over with short, chopping hooks and uppercuts which at the end of the session, looked to have swung momentum back his way.

Flipping the script again in the very next round however, Rhodes, with his back to the ropes, zeroed in with a sizzling, sneak right hook which landed bang on the point of Moore’s chin, his legs turning to jelly as he tottered backwards, trying desperately to regain his equilibrium before falling and rolling forward onto his face.

It was a heavy knockdown and as he bravely dragged himself up onto his knees in order to regain some composure, close friend and supporter Ricky Hatton barked at him from ringside to grab onto his tormentor.

Up at around eight, Moore instead went right back at his man, stinging Rhodes with a volley of punches as the crowd roared their approval. It was spellbinding stuff and incredibly, it looked as though Moore’s gutsy response had skewed things back his way with both men fighting furiously.

As the crowd stood around the arena, Rhodes detonated another right hand bomb, sending Moore flying back into the ropes. Ryan jumped on him immediately and with Moore shipping punishment along the strands, referee Howard Foster called time on the bout at 2:35 of the round.

Rhodes, 32, moves to 43-4 (29) and will be hoping that after putting in a career best performance, he has done enough to earn a world title opportunity against Spaniard Sergio Martinez (the fight was sold as a WBC title eliminator). Moore falls to 32-4 (23) and after reports that he may have been tight at the weight, may look to regroup up at middleweight.

Article posted on 25.10.2009

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