Hernandez defeats Cunningham!

Ulli Wegner believes that Yoan Pablo Hernandez (25-1, 13 KOs) victory over IBF Cruiserweight Champion Steve Cunningham (24-3, 12 KOs) should have been a first round KO rather than a sixth-round technical decision. The hard-hitting Cuban knocked down his American opponent in the first round with a huge left hook. “The referee saved Cunningham from a flash KO,” Wegner said of the count that lasted at least 14 seconds. “He gave Cunningham too much time to recover. And then his corner extended the recovery time between the first and the second round by staying in the ring after the bell sounded to start the second round. That helped Cunningham to get back into the fight. But nevertheless I am proud of Hernandez. He fought a great fight and he was clearly leading on points when the fight was stopped later.”

After the exciting opening round, Hernandez remained in control. In the third, a clash of heads opened a badly-bleeding cut on the left side of his head. In the fifth, another clash of heads caused a cut above his right eye. The ring doctor inspected the cuts after the sixth round and advised referee Mickey Vann to stop the fight because Hernandez could not see clearly with blood running into both eyes. The fight went to the scorecards where Hernandez was ahead (59-54, 58-55, 56-57). “I am thrilled to be the new champion,” Hernandez said. “This is like a dream coming true for me. I have waited for this moment for a long, long time. Cunningham was a tough opponent and I am proud that I defeated him.”

Next up for Hernandez, who had both cuts stitched up at the hospital, is the mandatory defence against Troy Ross. In the co-featured main event, Grzegorz Proksa clinched the vacant European Middleweight Title after stopping former IBF Middleweight Champion Sebastian Sylvester. Proksa landed a big left in the second round that opened a big cut above Sylvester´s right eye. After the third, the cut was bleeding so badly that the Hurricane gave up. “I could not see his punches coming any more,” he said. “My plan was to attack in the later rounds once he had run out of gas but clearly the cut made it impossible. I am very disappointed but I have to congratulate Proksa on strong performance. He did very well.”

In the third title fight of the night, IBF Light Heavyweight Intercontinental Champion Karo Murat defended his title with a draw against Gabriel Campillo. The scores were 115-113 Murat, 111-117 Campillo and 114-114.

Karo Murat MD 12 Gabriel Campillo
Edmund Gerber KO 7 Yohan Banks
Dustin Dirks KO 8 Parfait Tindani
Henry Weber SD 8 Stjepan Bozic
Grzegorz Proksa RTD 3 Sebastian Sylvester

Vella’s London Training Camp Over, Returns To Malta Ready To Fight

In June this year the Malta Boxing Commission became the official professional boxing sanctioning organization for the Republic of Malta. Shortly after becoming affiliated with the European Boxing Union the MBC President, Alexander Zammit, expressed his desire to help aspiring Maltese pro boxers, by organizing exchange programmes with overseas coaches and gyms.

In August British coach Barry Smith - who trains boxers such as Southern Area Cruiserweight Champion Leon ‘Solid’ Williams, IBO International Lightweight title contender Michael Grant, World ranked Dutch Cruiserweight Mitchell Balker and fellow MBC licensed pro boxer Marianne Marston, amongst others - spent ten days in Malta coaching various of the local boxers at Edwin Micallef’s gym in Msida.

Last week Clayton Vella, one of the first boxers to be licensed by the Malta Boxing Commission, traveled to the UK for a training camp with Barry and Johnny Eames at the World famous fight factory, The TRAD TKO Boxing Gym in Canning Town, London.

TRAD TKO has historically been the home to some of the UK’s biggest names, such as Champions Kevin Lear, Graham Earl, Tony Oakey, Matthew Marsh, Ian Napa, Ross Minter etc. and today is filled with stars such as World Boxing Organization (WBO) Inter-Continental Lightweight Champion Kevin Mitchell, WBO Inter-Continental Light Welterweight Champion Frankie Gavin, former IBO Lightweight World Champion Colin Lynes as well as many future domestic and World Champions including the aforementioned Leon Williams, Michael Grant and Mitchell Balker as well as former Olympian Billy Joe Saunders.

No surprise then that Clayton, who prior to turning professional was unbeaten on the unsanctioned fight circuit, initially found both training at the TKO as well as London itself, with it’s eleven million inhabitants, a daunting experience, as was clear when he spoke about the trip following his final training session. “At first I found it very different, now I’m used to it and don’t want to leave.

I’ve made lots of friends here, everyone has been very nice to me.

Barry is one of the best coaches around, I wish I could take him back to train me in Malta all the time, and the TKO gym is the best gym I’ve ever seen, our gym is about half the size.

They really take care of you too. Johnny and Jimmy (Tibbs) were really friendly, they helped me a lot and gave me advice.

So are the boxers I trained with, real stars,Frankie, Billy Joe, Leon, everyone did, everyone was so nice and helped me.

It was a good experience and I watched and learned from them, which is what I came to do.

Sparring was good, they are all good boxers and I learned a lot from them. I first sparred Duncan Cottier, he’s very experienced, 60 fights I think. I sparred Brett O’Callaghan, he’s only 19, he’s very good and unbeaten.

On my last day I spar with Italian boxer Federico Tavares, he’s very good, he spars former World Champions like Colin Lynes all the time. He’s very tough and hard to hit. I also spar with Duncan again. It was hard, technical sparring and it really helped me a lot.

It was a very good experience and I learned a lot, now I’m ready and want to fight.”

Article posted on 02.10.2011

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