By Alexey Sukachev
In a grueling clinchfest, Paul Smith (28-1, 15 KOs) wrestled the British national super middleweight title with a split decision over previous titlist Scott Quigley (13-2, 6 KOs) at Echo Arena in Liverpool. Both fighters turned the contest into an ugly and uneventful stinker with a lot of grappling and wreslting. Quigley was a better man throughout the first half of the fight but the challenger proved to be stronger down the stretch. Neither fighter was ever rocked except for a badly tired champion during the last round. Smith was cut over his right eye in the tenth. At the end two judges saw it in favour of the local hero: 116-113 and 116-112, while the third one scored the contest for Scott Quigley: 114-116. This reporter saw it 115-114 – for Quigley, and SKY Sports’ analyst and former world champion Jim Watt made it a draw – 114-114.
James DeGale (4-0, 3 KOs), 2008 Beijing middleweight gold medalist for the United Kingdom, stopped an unbeaten but hugely overmatched Ally Morrison (2-1-1) at the beginning of the third. DeGale used his fascinating speed and reflexes to frustrate his foe in the first couple of rounds. In round three, former amateur star went in for kill and got the job done with a series of powerful left hooks. Morrison wasn’t been down but looked dazed enough for the referee to stop the contest.
Another British Olympian Frankie Gavin (4-0, 4 KOs) easily notched his fourth consecutive knockout win with the second-round stoppage of shorter and hugely overmatched Steve Saville (19-7, 8 KOs). 24-year old Gavin was all over the veteran from the beginning, punishing him mercilessly at the ropes. At 0:27 of the second round, Saville was downafter a quick counter combo by Gavin. He got himself upright but was too shaky to be allowed to fight on by the referee.