Callum ‘King’ Walsh eked out a victory in a bout that was, let’s say, uncomfortably close for his liking. The scene was The Theater at Madison Square Garden, where the audience was treated to a nail-biter of a fight, courtesy of Tom Loeffler’s 360 Promotions and UFC FIGHT PASS.
Photo: Lina Baker, 360 Promotions
Walsh, hailed as the ‘Fastest Rising Star in Boxing,’ stepped into the ring against Bronx’s very own Ismael Villarreal. As the fight unfolded, it became clear that Villarreal wasn’t just there to look pretty. He was there to give Walsh a run for his money, and boy, did he deliver. Meanwhile, Walsh, under the tutelage of the legendary Freddie Roach, demonstrated a southpaw style that seemed designed to impress judges rather than the boxing purists.
Then came the highlight – or lowlight, depending on your allegiance. Villarreal managed to knock down Walsh in the final tenth round. Yes, you read that right. Walsh, the ‘King,’ found himself briefly dethroned, sitting on his royal behind, probably wondering if someone had sneakily tied his shoelaces together. Of course, Walsh got up, brushing off the knockdown like it was just a minor inconvenience.
The judges, perhaps seeing the fight through rose-tinted glasses, scored it 97-92, 97-92, and 96-93 in favor of Walsh. I had it much closer, but who cares, right? After the fight, Walsh, ever the diplomat, praised Villarreal’s toughness and acknowledged his own need to dodge punches more effectively – a revelation that must have come to him while acquainting himself with the canvas.
“I wasn’t hurt from the knockdown, more of a push and a trip that put me down. You could see when I got up I was fine. It happens, I have a good chin. I thought I won every round but one or two.”
“I wanted to get the knockout but I’m happy with my overall performance. I got hit too much which is something to work on. I’m going to learn and come back better. I was very happy with the crowd, there was a lot of loud support for both of us.”
Tom Loeffler, ever the promoter, praised the fight as a step up for Walsh, catapulting him into a new level of popularity. One could argue that getting knocked down by Villarreal, who entered the fight as the huge underdog, isn’t exactly a conventional route to stardom, but who are we to argue with promotional spin?
The undercard: Cain Sandoval continued his demolition tour, putting Wesley Ferrer out of his misery in the fifth round. Umar Dzambekov and Frederic Julan treated the crowd to eight rounds of a no-knockdown, uppercut fest. Gor Yeristyan dropped Luis Alberto Veron in the third, en route to a unanimous decision, while Brian Ceballo’s body shot brought an abrupt end to Kenneth McNeil’s night. Omar Trinidad and Feargal McCrory also notched up wins, perhaps less dramatically but equally effectively.
Shabaz Masoud Wins Split Decision Over Sanmartin In The UK
In what can only be described as a display of barely-there brilliance, Shabaz Masoud managed to cling onto his WBA Intercontinental title by the skin of his teeth, securing a split decision victory over the stalwart but not exactly earth-shattering Jose Sanmartin.
Originally, this lukewarm bout was meant to be an appetizer on the Jack Catterall vs Jorge Linares undercard. But fate, with its twisted sense of humor, decided to give it the spotlight, moving it to November 11th as the main event.
Sanmartin, carrying the hopes of Colombia and the desperation of a man on a losing streak, faced off against Masoud, who apparently needed to shake off a year’s worth of cobwebs. The goal for Masoud? To prove he was a cut above. For Sanmartin? To not let that happen.
Masoud, ever the southpaw stylist, was all about the left hand, switching levels like someone channel surfing. Sanmartin, on the other hand, was the embodiment of pressure, although his punches in the first round were more air than scare.
By round two, Sanmartin seemed to find his groove, landing body shots that actually made contact. Masoud, meanwhile, was content playing defense on the back foot, perhaps mistaking the fight for a game of tag.
The middle rounds saw a bit of a role reversal. Masoud decided it was time to stop running and start punching, landing a neat uppercut in the fourth. Sanmartin, not to be outdone, kept up his bodywork in the fifth, probably hoping to find Masoud’s off switch.
The rest of the fight was a tug-of-war between Sanmartin’s relentless pressure and Masoud’s cleaner shots. It’s like they were competing in different contests – one for who could be the most aggressive and the other for who could look the prettiest while punching.
In the end, the judges seemed as divided as fans over the best Rocky movie. One judge sided with Sanmartin’s pressure cooker approach (96-94), while the other two were mesmerized by Masoud’s artistry (98-92, 96-94).
So, Masoud remains undefeated, but according to his trainer, Ben Davison, and his brutally honest promoter, Eddie Hearn – this was not his finest hour. Hearn, in particular, didn’t mince words, basically saying Masoud looked more ‘British title’ than ‘world title’. Ouch.
Masoud, to his credit, took the criticism like a champ. He knows he’s got work to do and seems eager to get back in the gym. After all, when your promoter says you’re lucky to win and you need to step it up, it’s either hit the gym or start thinking about a different career path.
In conclusion, Shabaz Masoud might have won, but it was the kind of victory that leaves you wondering whether to celebrate or start drafting an improvement plan. One thing’s for sure, his journey to a world title just got a little bumpier.
Harlem Eubank Dazzles In Stoppage Win Over Timo Schwarzkopf
Harlem Eubank’s clash with Timo Schwarzkopf? It was less David and Goliath, more pro wrestler versus a tomato can. Schwarzkopf, bless his heart, was in deep water from the get-go, looking every bit the part of an opponent who was, to put it gently, way out of his league.
Eubank, arriving at the Brighton Centre like he owned the place, wasn’t just there to win; he was there to dominate. And dominate he did. Schwarzkopf, trying his best, seemed more like a speed bump on Harlem’s road to glory than an actual threat.
By the time we hit round three and Eubank had already sent Schwarzkopf to the canvas, it was clear this wasn’t a fight; it was a showcase, and Schwarzkopf was just there to make Harlem look good. Fast forward to the 11th round, and the ref mercifully calls it a night, probably to save Schwarzkopf from becoming a permanent part of the canvas. Eubank struts out of there with the WBO Global title, leaving Schwarzkopf in his glittery dust.
And let’s not forget the undercard, which did its best to keep up with the Harlem Show. We had Ben Andrews and Patryk Polasik doing their thing, Oliver Zaren teaching Bahadur Karami a lesson or two, and Tiernan Bradley showing Michal Bulik how it’s done. JP O’Meara and Karl Sampson had a close one, while Sultan Zaurbek and Tom Welland opted for the knockout route. Tommy Welch and Lerrone Richards added their own brand of technical flair and Roman Fury? He decided Bradley Davies had enough after three rounds.
Full Results from Brighton
Ben Andrews 39-37 Patryk Polasik
Oliver Zaren 60-55 Bahadur Karami
Tiernan Bradley 60-52 Michal Bulik
JP O’Meara 38-37 Karl Sampson
Sultan Zaurbek WTKO6 Sergio Sosa
Tom Welland WTKO4 Francisco Rodriguez
Tommy Welch WRTD4 Jonathan Vergara
Lerrone Richards 79-74 Mickey Ellison
Harlem Eubank WTKO11 Timo Schwarzkopf
Roman Fury WKO3 Bradley Davies