Big in Japan?
Can Rendall Munroe become world champion in Tokyo? Adam Smith blogs on a big week for boxing.
Last Updated: 21/10/10 10:41am
Once in a while, it's just wonderful to sit back and watch a beautiful display of sweet science from our privileged positions at ringside, and that is exactly what Jim Watt and I had the pleasure of doing in East London on Saturday night.
Yes, Sam Webb's successful defence of his Lonsdale belt against Martin Concepcion was only at British level. Yes, it lacked the dramatic action we marvel at, but it was still a boxing performance to admire, appreciate and enjoy.
It's not often when you say a fighter produces a master class. This was virtually one of those occasions.
Webb had shown grit and desire to wrench the 11-stone belt from Anthony Small, but he seemed to really come of age against Concepcion.
Sam's one of those quiet, hard-working and nice guys, whose talent has not always looked like it would be completely fulfilled. Yet becoming champion has obviously boosted his confidence, and he boxed like a fighter comfortable in his self, and assured of his new position at the top of the domestic pile.
The British light-middleweight champion was excellent, as he out-boxed the game and brave Concepcion from start to finish. With angles, movement and fleet of foot, Webb raided in and out of range with swift jabs and nifty combinations.
In pristine physical condition, Webb followed the perfect tactics that his long-time trainer Alan Smith had mapped out. The team had told us beforehand that they didn't care whether their success was achieved inside schedule or on points, and Sam boxed exactly to order.
Only when his proud Leicester challenger really began to crank up the pressure in a last-ditch effort, did Webb find the gap to deliver a knockout punch. Concepcion over-committed and walked onto a perfectly-timed right hand which ended proceedings there and then.
Deep into the eleventh round, the punch had a startling effect. Concepcion fell heavily, the fight was waved off, and fortunately the likeable Leicester lad was fine. For Webb it was the perfect icing on the cake to an exhibition of skills which both the fans and purists loved.
Next year looks bright for Webb - who at least put on a boxing spectacle. Unfortunately that just can't be said of the awful clash for the Commonwealth Super-Bantamweight title. We wax lyrical when we get a good battle; so it's only fair to call it as a stinker when it is just that!
There was nothing wrong with the crossroads match on paper between the experienced aggressor Jamie Arthur and young, raw Scottish southpaw Kris Hughes - but it was one of those fights where styles just didn't gel at all.
So many punches missed. Hughes occasionally showed the superior boxing skill, Arthur the tenacious attitude - and even though the Welshman was docked two points for low blows, he still prevailed - just. It was hard to score, hard to watch, and, to be honest, hard to remember a worthwhile exchange.
Still, it wasn't for the lack of effort - certainly on Arthur's behalf, and the former Commonwealth gold medallist from the valleys keeps his career alive.
Rendall Munroe used to be the Commonwealth super-bantamweight champion, but has more important things on his mind when he aims for the WBC crown this weekend.
The down-to-earth Leicester bin-man is the epitome of the working class hero. Nothing has ever come easy for the solid southpaw, who has continued his day job, and has provided British boxing with a wonderful little story.
Munroe's been on electric form since his only defeat - up at featherweight to Andy Morris - racking up major victories in European class, including a decisive double over the dangerous Spaniard Kiko Martinez.
He's never ever lost at 8st 10lbs, is a huge super-bantamweight, and possesses good work-rate, skills, courage and a decent chin. Rendall will need all of those if he is going to become the second Brit of the season to be crowned a world champion.
Ricky Burns upset the odds, whilst Jason Booth failed narrowly - but both of their chances came at home.
Munroe's job is to wrench the WBC super-bantamweight belt from Japanese hot-shot Toshiaki Nishioka out in Tokyo. Experienced, powerful and quick, Nishioka's a big favourite - but he has lost four times before, and some see him as an 'on-top' fighter.
He certainly looked pretty sharp to me when he ripped through the highly-regarded Mexican Jhonny Gonzalez. Frighteningly good actually.
Wayne McCullough managed to win a world title out in Japan, but this looks tough. I will be surprised, but obviously delighted if Munroe can come back as king. No-one deserves it more though, and if he does, the Leicester refuse collectors will be standing bright in their fluorescent jackets! Two hundred are even travelling out to support Rendall!
You can see Munroe's great opportunity live with us on Sunday morning - after we've watched the latest progress of the exciting three Walsh brothers from Cromer, Norfolk. On Saturday Fight Night, we'll showcase Liam, Ryan and Michael all live.
Liam looks the pick at the moment and the unbeaten prospect steps up in level to fight for the Commonwealth super-featherweight crown against Ghana's hardened Maxwell Awuku. Time to find out more about the man many believe is the best young fighter in British boxing.
Three brothers on show, and just over three weeks to go until THE sporting showdown of the year. Haye-Harrison is inching closer. The WBA Heavyweight title is, of course, at stake.
Don't miss tonight's Ringside - we have none other than the IBF and WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko in the building! Yes, Wladimir Klitschko at the Sky studios - and we'll be talking heavyweight matters with the leading heavyweight on earth!
A treat for Johnny Nelson and I to have a star name drop by; a treat for all you fight fans comes tonight!