Chandler Waller reflects on the weekend’s action including statements made by rising welterweight stars Conor Benn and Jaron Ennis, and Joe Smith Jr realising his dream of becoming a World champion.
There was plenty of boxing to keep fans occupied at the weekend. Conor Benn, son of two-weight World champion Nigel, continued to carve out his own legacy on Saturday night by dispatching Samuel Vargas in 80 seconds. The UK’s capital bore witness to this statement as Conor Benn whipped in his shots behind the guard of the Canadian-Colombian veteran, who looked troubled from the first punch.
Despite complaints from Team Vargas and some on social media, the stoppage seemed about right. Vargas who has been stopped four times in his seven defeats, took some heavy shots from the Destroyer, and failed to protect himself or throw anything back. He failed to give a reason to the referee for the fight to continue.
Benn has secured a breakout performance, and turned his attention to former World champion Amir Khan in the post-fight interview. During fight week, the possibility of Benn-Khan was talked about but possibilities of the fight coming to fruition seem slim, after Khan stated no interest in the fight unless a title is on the line.
Jaron Ennis continued his impressive unbeaten run with a sixth-round KO of Sergey Lipinets in Connecticut. The rising welterweight star made easy work of the former World champion as thudding shots behind the guard soon started to have an effect on the Russian. Ennis caught Lipinets with a straight left as the Russian slipped, and was called a knockdown. The former World champion showed his quality by throwing menacing straight rights and hooks which chin checked the future pound-for-pound star. A sharp right hook followed by a short left uppercut shook the legs and dropped Lipinets, with the referee calling a halt to the action in round six.
Ennis is now in a peculiar situation where he could challenge for a World title, yet the champions seemed to be tied up in Crawford-Pacquiao and Spence-Ugas. There is a lot of confidence placed in Ennis to defeat most top-ten contenders at 147lbs, except for maybe one. Vergil Ortiz is in a similar position and would leave no doubt in anyone minds about the winner ready to challenge for a World title. It is expected that the two red-hot contenders will save their contest for a later date, in what could be a super-fight down the line. Ennis is not far from challenging the elite welterweights and deserves a big name for his next fight regardless.
Joe Smith Jr made his dream of becoming a World champion come true with a majority decision win against Maxim Vlasov for the WBO 175lbs title. A true fire-fight took place in Tulsa, as both men fought in close quarters with the experienced Vlasov taking the early rounds, Smith hurting the Russian to secure the early rounds, with the final section of the fight being real pick ’em rounds. Vlasov is a welcome addition to the light-heavyweight division after proving a tough resistance to the Long Island banger, who looked like he was fading in the latter stage of the fight. Both men were cut and bruised after an entertaining bout which saw Smith the victor.
Joe Smith Jr was keen to avenge his defeat against Dmitry Bivol before his fight with Vlasov, but he should steer clear of that fight if he wants to retain his newly acquired belt. A more lucrative, easy and frankly entertaining fight would be against unified champion Artur Beterviev. The hard-hitting Russian has not looked too sharp in some recent performances, despite stopping all of his opponents and unifying against Oleksandr Gvozdyk. It could be ideal timing for the American to rise to the top in what would be a fan-friendly encounter.
If you enjoyed this post and would like to support me further, please check out my Patreon, where you can also get early access to some content!
Follow me on Twitter.
Subscribe to my YouTube channel.
Listen to me on Spotify.