Leigh Wood and Josh Warrington will contest the WBA featherweight title later this evening but the action got underway early in Sheffield, England.
Koby McNamara (6-0) opened the show by easily outpointing Francisco Rodriguez (1-18, 1 KO) at bantamweight. The Leeds southpaw is an aggressive counter puncher who uses good footwork to apply pressure and force his opponent to throw shots; something Rodriguez stubbornly refused to do. With precious few openings to work with, the onus fell on McNamara to create openings. He landed the occasional straight left and briefly went through the gears in the fourth round but Rodriguez was never in serious trouble until the final minute of the contest when a right hook dropped him. The Spaniard survived and 23 year old McNamara had to settle for a six round decision victory. The scorecard read 60-53 in his favour.
Cameron Vuong received plenty of plaudits this week but the expectation didn’t appear to weigh too heavily on decorated amateur’s shoulders. The lightweight debutant from Northumberland dominated and stopped Engel Gomez (8-19-1, 4 KO’s) in four rounds.
Vuong (1-0, 1 KO) towered over Gomez and sensibly used his jab and movement to put the Nicaraguan in his box straight away. Vuong has a relaxed, hands down style and showed plenty of speed and variety. He landed a picture perfect right uppercut in the second round and when he used his footwork to make Gomez fall short, his fast counter punches were hard and accurate. One of those shots – another right uppercut – put Gomez over at 1.19 of the fourth round and referee Michael Alexander waved the fight off.
Nico Leivars (5-0-1) and Ryan Walker (12-6, 3 KO’s) closed out the untelevised undercard with an entertaining eight rounds at super bantamweight.
Walker is an experienced fighter and a former Southern Area champion whilst this was only Leivars’ sixth fight but the 23 year old from Mansfield handled the step up in quality well.
Leivars hurt Walker within a minute with a well timed short right hand and in the early stages he used his right uppercut perfectly against the smaller man. Walker still has ambitions of his own and refused to lie down but struggled to make any real impact, despite landing a couple of solid right hands in the third.
Leivars managed the distance perfectly, making Walker pay for closing the range with straight height hands and uppercuts but Walker upped the tempo in the fifth round in an attempt to impose himself on the younger man and in the sixth, Leivars picked up cuts over both eyes, the one over the left eye was caused by nasty clash of heads.
Inspired by the sight of blood, Walker attacked with renewed enthusiasm in the seventh as Leivars sensibly tried to box his way to the final bell. Leivars’ face was a mess at the end but he passed his toughest test to date and deserved the 79-73 verdict he was given.