Robbie “Bomber” Peden Wins World Title

26.02.05 - By Tony Nobbs: Australia’s Robbie “Bomber” Peden captured the vacant IBF super featherweight world title by stopping American Nate Campbell in the eighth round at the Vodafone Arena in Melbourne, Victoria on Wednesday night February 23. Going into this anticipated rematch a firm outsider in the betting, the local star entered the ring to Phil Collins' "In the air tonight" walked in by a large team of friends from his amatuer days- some world rated fighters in their own right.

When the opening bell rang the Brisbane, Queensland native got off to an impressive start taking the fight straight at his opponent, scoring well with the left hand coming in as Campbell tried to keep at range. Both let the right hand go but no real damage was done by eigther man. Late in the round, the well schooled Peden, 31, did a sly walk away move reminiscent of Jersey Joe Walcott, who he has said was his favourite all time fighter. Throughout this round and most of the contest, Peden (now 25-2, 14 KO)boxed aggressive and smart..

The thirty two year old Floridian (now 25-3-1, 21 KO) had his best rounds of the contest in two and three. He stunned Robbie with a pair of rights around two the minute mark of the second and the pair tangled in a clinch falling to the canvas shortly after. Still, Peden’s work rate saw him edge it on my unofficial card. Nate got the better of a fast paced third, landing the harder shots (Robbie fought much with his hands down in range) but was warned for a low blow and instructed by referee, former NSW welterweight titlist Johnny Wright between rounds that he would be deducted a point if he went south one more time.

In round four the tide turned back in Robbie’s favour as Campbell was cut over the right eye (ruled a punch). Both commentor’s, former champion Barry Michael and Bob Sheridan, agreed later that it was a head clash which caused the damage. After being inspected by the ringside doctor, Campbell went after Robbie who managed to stay out of harm and pick his shots taking a clear 10-9. Round five and things started looking ominous for a ragged Campbell as he was outboxed and outworked and in the sixth it got worse as he was deducted a point (low blow). Peden did a good job alternating the pace, his work upstairs and down and grabbing little angles to keep out of trouble and position Campbell for regular flurries. In the last minute of the stanza, the Aussie sat on the inside landing short and crisp, nullifying Nates still dangerous right hand. In the seventh Campbell was again cut (over the left eye by a right hand). Robbie, for the most part, stayed tight in close, controlling the action and wearing his man down with a smothering attack. A clearly frustrated Campbell was again warned sternly, this time for the use of a forearm to Robbie’s face in a clinch. The visitor was also checked twice by the doc and at the end of this three minutes it didn’t look like it was going much longer.

In the eighth the new champion stayed on top of Campbell and Wright waved it off with eleven seconds left on the clock as Peden rained a steady two fisted beating. While he was never knocked to the mat, Campbell, at the end was not throwing back, content to cover against the ropes. After seven, I had it 69-63 Peden.

Very much a "Peoples Champion" among fans in this country the jubilant Peden, jumped in the air staring at his beaten foe. A dejected Campbell complained about the stoppage and went to his corner with his head down. Moments later Peden was lifted on the shoulders of former stablemate, David Tua.

A fighter who had never before fought as a professional in this country, Peden’s fame is not big in mainstream Australia. Hopefully, this win, which could put him in line for a six figure pay day against one of the divisions top guns, will change that. In many ways this was a victory for the "old brigade" style of bringing up a fighter. A two time Olympian and a Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist in 1994 he has done it the hard way, coming up in relative obscurity in the US scene, facing tougher opposition than his countrymen, suffering two losses in IBF eliminators to John Brown (130) and Juan Manuel Marquez (126) before knocking out Campbell last year. This was a tremendous performance and made a joke of the American press’ claims he was being dominated in the first fight.

Accompanying the Roger Bloodworth trained "Bomber" to the ring were, among others his good mates Daniel Rowsell, former Commonwealth welterweight champ Julian Holland and WBA middleweight challenger Darren Obah. He was seconded by Jim Strickland, brother Troy and father Brian.

This writer, who has not punted on anything since 1992, wagered a friendly ten bucks and will happily go and collect my $26 tomorrow. Then again, after viewing fight 1 it in my opinion, wasn’t a gamble. I got my money on Sunday, by fight time he had blown out to around 3-1. Twenty years and eight days ago a 19 year old stringbean sensation from the Melbourne suburb of Sunshine named Lester Ellis won this very same title by outpointing Korean Hwan Kil Yuh at nearby Festival Hall. Lester made one defence, a thirteen round TKO in a war at he Hall with Filipino Rod Sequenan on April 26, the same night Jeff Fenech lifted his first world title - the IBF 118 lb stap from Satoshi Shingaki in Sydney. Then on July 12 that same year Melbourne rival Barry Micheal and Ellis contested an epic fifteen round battle in front of a jam packed home town crowd (also at Festival Hall). Barry, then 33, won a decision to take home the championship. He made three defences before losing it to American Rocky Lockridge in England in 1987.

While this clash was not as gruelling as Michael-Ellis, it is just as important on the domestic front and skill wise by both men, was one of the best contests in an Australian ring for some time. Promoters Tony Caradonna and Glenn Wheatley in conjunction with Goosen – Tudor should be commended for bringing this fight down under and no doubt with the recent success Australia's had in world titles (Tszyu, Darchinian and now Peden) the sport can begin to boom.

Peden also became the first fighter from the staie of Queensland to claim a crown with one of the major alphabet groups, while Jeff Malcolm, Joe Bugner and Nathan Sting have won belts with lesser organisations.

In undercard bouts, IBF # 3 at 154 lb Shannan Taylor knocked out Argentine Ruben Diaz in round three with a left hook, possibly setting up a mandatory shot with Kasim Ouma in April.

IBF top middleweight contender knocked out Columbian Miguel Julio in round four. The experienced Julio had no answer for the immensely difficult Sam. Soliman scored a knocked down in round three with a left hook Miguel would never have seen coming and finished it with a straight right. Do not right Soliman off if he does get a shot at Bernard Hopkins.

WBO # 8 lightweight Michael “Rocky” Katsidis knocked out Eduardo Alvarez from Argentina in one round. A short chopping right and good night.

WBF women’s featherweight champ Sharon Anyos stopped gutsy Columbian Neris Rincon in her second defence. Neris never came out for round seven. This was Sharon’s second defence, previously being given a very tough ten rounds by Canadian Lisa Brown in December.

Promising super middle Adam Vella stopped Erle Louk in round two. Vella is son of former nationally rated light heavy Alex Vella.

Dale Westerman retained his OPBF 175 lb belt and collected the WBF Asia Pac title by unanimously outpointing Justin Clements. This fight was fought before the TV coverage started.

Article posted on 26.02.2005

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