On Saturday night in Monte Carlo, Martin Murray set up a shot at Gennady Golovkin by overcoming the dirty and rugged Domenico Spada via technical decision.
The St Helens middleweight boxed tidily against the reckless Italian, and avoided suffering any cuts or injuries.
The way Spada recklessly charged in head first, literally, was dangerous and he should’ve been penalized by the hapless referee, who instead reprimanded the Englishman for grabbing.
An authoritative jab and double left hook from head to body repeatedly found the mark for the Oliver Harrison trained contender, as Spada's attacks grew more and more desperate with every passing minute.
A clash of heads in round three, which saw Murray have a point deducted, opened a cut around the right eye of Spada and the damage worsened as the rounds ticked by.
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Stinging jabs and hooks from the mitts of the 32-year-old two time world title challenger ensured blood constantly flowed from the gash, and the bout was brought to an end midway through the seventh round.
All three scorecards favoured Murray (67-66, 68-63 and 69-67), who successfully defended his WBC Silver middleweight belt.
Never in doubt
Having been desperately unlucky in previous challenges for the sports highest honour, against Felix Sturm and Sergio Martinez respectively, Murray will now go into preparations for a February 21st battle with the most fearsome puncher in the sport.
Golovkin has bludgeoned everybody he has faced to date, and he has picked up WBA, IBO and WBC Interim belts along the way.
World title fights aren’t supposed to be easy – they are meant to be the ultimate test of a man’s skill and will – last night we found out that Randy Caballero is more than just a cute boxer with a bit of pop in his punches when he was forced to dig deep and often fight in the trenches with Stuart Hall, en route a comfortable looking unanimous decision victory to claim the vacant IBF bantamweight strap.
The Coachella, California resident started the bout intent on standing toe-to-toe with the battle hardened Briton, who is a former holder of the same belt, and scored a flash knockdown in the second round when he rammed a stiff jab down the pipe and caught Hall (16-4-2, 7KO’s) unawares.
The shocked Darlington man retaliated immediately with combinations to head and body, but Cabellero (22-0, 13KO’s) remained composed and kept stinging his opponent with well-timed countering hooks.
With the fight seemingly in the balance after four rounds, Caballero began to use his boxing brain to open up a lead on the scorecards.
Rather than standing and trading on the inside with the physically imposing former champion, the undefeated 24-year-old opted to box at range - making his man miss and making him pay.Whenever he found himself on the ropes, he would slip and slide and limit the success of the 34-year-old Hall.
Hall stuck to his guns, though, and kept pressing forward right until the end. Nevertheless, he was too predictable and struggled to pin down the younger man for any sustained attacks.
Although Caballero was winning the majority of the rounds with his smart work, he was forced to graft very hard at all times and was thoroughly deserving of the decision (116-111, 116-111 and 118-110).
The impressive triumph could propel Caballero into unification bouts with Jamie McDonnell (WBA Regular champion), Juan Carlos Payano (WBA Super champion), Tomoki Kameda (WBO champion) and Shinsuke Yamanaka (WBC champion).
On the undercard, former Murray victim, Nick Blackwell, battled his way to a hard-fought six round draw with Sergey Khomitsky. The Minsk veteran has also been beaten by Murray on two occasions.
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