No over-the-top hype, no trash talk, nothing but mutual respect both before and after the fight. This and a whole lot of leather thrown, with vicious intent from both sides, all night long.
This is what real boxing fans were treated to last night in Coventry, UK – a real fight from two real, no-nonsense fighters during a time when so many crazy, offensive, ‘freak show’ bouts have been thrown at us.
Sam Eggington, a man who is seemingly never, ever in a bad fight win, lose, or draw, slugged it out with unbeaten but unknown Frenchman Bilel Jkitou in a middleweight battle that has to be in contention for Fight of the Year trophies when the time comes.
These two men gave their all for all 12 rounds, with mesmerizing action on display throughout. Eggington, a man who has made a name for himself as a warrior who simply loves to go into the trenches, has shown boxing ability in the past, yet last night it was the Eggington fans who love to watch.
Football player turned boxer Jkitou took the heat right to the defending WBC silver champion, and Eggington obliged. It was non-stop warfare from bell-one to the bitter end. It was special.
Last night’s fight was a reminder of why we love boxing. Eggington stuck on the ropes at times, used his experience and his sheer love of a tear-up to his advantage as Jkitou faded a little. The pace was red-hot.
There was not a dull round in sight, just superb action all the way. The final round might have been the best of the night, with both guys still slinging out their punches like men possessed. In the end, Eggington seemed to have done just enough, yet once again, we had some peculiar scoring. Two judges had it wide for Eggington at 117-111 and 117-112, while the third judge had it for Jkitou at 116-112.
Eggington, now 31-7(18), could quite easily be described as the most exciting British fighter out there today. Whereas Jkitou,15-1(6), who was almost unknown before last night’s slugfest, has certainly made a name for himself now.