Last night at the historic York Hall in the heart of London, super-bantamweights Dennis McCann and Ionut Baluta gave us a Fight of the Year contender and also, unfortunately, a contender for the worst cut of the year. Unbeaten 22 year old southpaw McCann, taking a significant step up in class, failed to get the win over Romania’s Baluta, this as the two clashed heads in round seven, with McCann suffering a nasty gash on his forehead.
The fight had by this stage been a thriller and the war raged on until the ninth when McCann, suffering a second cut, was deemed too bloody to be able to carry on. The referee stopped the fight and it went to the cards. Two judges had it all-even at 86-86, with the third judge having it 86-85 for McCann.
The man from Maidstone in Kent is now 14-01(8) and McCann immediately called for a rematch, with Watford-based warrior Baluta also calling for the return. Baluta, 29, is now 16-4-1(3). Fans will be waiting eagerly for the rematch, as exciting as last night’s battle was.
Fans knew they would get a good one last night and so it turned out to be. The two men set a red-hot pace from the outset and the action was at times breathtaking. The two fighters, who know each other well due to a good deal of sparring that they have done with each other, wanted to test one another, and this they did.
There was some torrid trading in round three, while McCann was cracked by a huge shot in the fifth only to come back and land two head shots of his own. The head clash came in the 7th and the blood was soon pouring down McCann’s face.
Baluta appeared to suffer a knockdown in round eight but the third man ruled that he had slipped. Baluta came roaring back, looking for the stoppage win, his bloodied rival having real trouble seeing the shots coming. The fight raged until the unfortunate stoppage came, and both guys felt they had won at the end.
“I’ll have a rematch and next time I’ll win by knockout,” Baluta said.
“It was a good fight. I thought I won by a round,” said McCann.
Fans saw a fight that had almost everything last night: back-and-forth trading, blood and guts, a controversial call, and heart and desire shown by both men. The only thing lacking was a conclusive ending. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for McCann’s injuries to heal, but that rematch will be big.