Two time Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields (1-0) notched her first win as a pro last night, scoring a shut out decision over Franchon Crews (0-1) in a four round contest at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The bout was broadcast online and by select cable and satellite providers as part of the free-view portion of the nights pay per view card headlined by Andre Wards 12 round decision over Sergey Kovalev.
The amateur rivals put on a highly entertaining bout; Crews came out aggressive from the start, but was unable to match the speed and technical skill of Shields, who beat her to the punch repeatedly and never lost focus despite being shoved to the canvas twice. She took all four rounds on the judges’ scorecards resulting in a 40-36 decision across the board.
Give Crews credit where it’s due though, despite being outgunned and appearing winded at the fights mid-point, she never took a step back, and landed some solid punches but just couldn’t land the one big shot that could turn the fight around.
The two had faced off three times in the amateur ranks, with a 2012 win over Crews in the Olympic trials setting the stage for Shields to become American boxing’s first female gold medalist. She became the first American boxer to win back-to-back gold medals this summer in Rio when she defeated Nouchka Fontijn in the Olympic final.
Shields said she hopes to fight again in January or February.
Jim is one of the Tribunes original members and has been Involved in the sport for over 35 years as a competing amateur, fight collector, and computer fight simulator. Follow him on Twitter: @_GreenMachine_
“Thoughts are with Eduard Gutknecht after tonight’s fight,” Tweeted Groves’ trainer Shane McGuigan.
&Out of respect to Eduard Gutknecht and his family's privacy I don't want to say too much but we were all deeply concerned to hear that he was taken to hospital after the fight last night.--Groves
Super-middleweight contender George Groves busted up tough and game Eduard Gutknecht over 12 one-sided rounds by scores of 119-110 and 119-109 (twice) . Gutknecht - born in Kazakhstan but fighting out of Germany –became distressed in his dressing room after the fight and was rushed to a hospital via ambulance and eventually operated on. Reportedly, Gutknecht needed resuscitating in the emergency vehicle after he “briefly stopped breathing and was drifting in and out of consciousness”.
After learning of Gutknecht’s condition, Groves cancelled plans to discuss his performance at a post-fight press conference reflecting the solemnity of the situation
Ironically, at the very same venue last March, English middleweight Nick Blackwell collapsed at the end of his TKO loss to Chris Eubank Jr. He suffered bleeding on his skull and was treated at the same nearby hospital and fortunately recovered, but he will never box again.
Then, in September, Scottish welterweight Mike Towell died just hours after losing to Dale Evans in Glasgow. He too had suffered severe bleeding and swelling to his brain.
Back in March 2013, Brit boxer Michael Norgove was taken ill his sixth fight of his career, after two years away from the sport and later died of brain hemorrhage.
And let’s not forget Chris Henry, Spencer Oliver, Paul Ingle, Rod Douglass, and Michael Watson,
While the win will position “The Saint” for still another crack at a world title, the implications of the fight could again initiate calls for boxing to be banned. At some point it might be sage to look at the rather obvious common threads in these tragedies, as there are many.
The most anticipated fights of the year did not disappoint and left us with a new champion and an open ending for an inevitable rematch as Andre Ward defeated Sergey Kovalev in a tit-for-tat battle where no fighter could make a clear claim for victory.
In the opening rounds, Kovalev asserted his vaunted power early by stunning Ward with a stiff jab and manhandling him in close quarters to take away Ward’s primary offense of inside fighting. Things only went downhill for Ward in the second when he was dropped for the second time in his career by Kovalev and trotted back to his corner extremely frustrated with his poor start.
Ward ultimately regrouped and began slowly working his way back into the fight, but was unable to land anything meaningful yet beginning to slow Kovalev’s pace to his advantage. Everything from the third round to the final round was a judges nightmare with neither man landing anything cleanly on the other, plenty of inside fighting and no absolute seizure of momentum.
However, Kovalev was never able to truly capitalize on his strong start and became more subdued as the fight went on. While Kovalev still had a distinct advantage in power, he found himself playing Ward’s game of punch and clutch, though he kept stalking Ward until the end of the fight.
Neither fighter stood out as a clear and convincing winner, with many favoring Kovalev’s aggression and the early knockdown as a factor while others saw Ward drawing Kovalev into his fight and controlled the second half of the fight.
Ultimately, all three judges scored the fight 114-113 for Ward in a decision that could very easily have gone to Kovalev. Both men expressed interest in a rematch, particularly Kovalev who was none too pleased with the decision. With a rematch clause in place, there’s no doubt that we’ll be seeing these two at least one more time.
With the win, Ward moves to 31-0 and picks up the WBA, IBF and WBO Light Heavyweight titles and will no doubt have his hands full when the eventual rematch comes along. Kovalev not only loses his titles, but tastes defeat for the first time in his career falling to 30-1-1
Danny Howard has been all over the place, writing for FightHype, the Yahoo Contributor Network and the Examiner. He also became a legend in his own mind by writing “And Stay Down! Boxing's Worst Comebacks, which you can either buy on Amazon or email him for a free copy. Howard doesn't have time to drown in the nega-verse that is social media, but you can find him on Facebook or breathe life into his long dead Twitter @dbbox625 or let him have it directly at Daniel.Howard6@att.net