By Liam McInerney
Experts claimed this would be the toughest test of Scott Quigg’s career. Critics said he hadn’t fought anyone at Kiko Martinez’s level. Quigg responded with a second round KO at the Manchester Arena on Saturday night. It was a defiant message directed at you know who.By Liam McInerney
The Spaniard began the bout positively and won the opening round through being on the front foot with Quigg barely throwing a punch.
But in round two Quigg was a different animal as he emerged from his corner and knocked down a stunned Martinez. The former world champion got up but faced a relentless barrage of punches and the contest was eventually stopped after Martinez fell to the canvas after a right hand to the head.
It was an impressive statement from Quigg who retained his WBA super bantamweight crown. Much of the build-up concentrated on how his display would compare with Carl Frampton’s two showdowns with Martinez. But Quigg brushed Martinez aside as if he were a novice and he now has the Belfast man firmly in his sights.
In the main event Anthony Crolla’s fight against WBA lightweight world champion Darleys Perez was deemed a draw in a controversial split decision.
That is despite the Columbian being deducted two points late on for illegal low blows. I had the fight 113-111 in Crolla’s favour and fail to acknowledge how the three judges didn’t award Crolla the victory.
But a draw meant Perez retained his belt. ‘Million Dolla Crolla’ can be proud of his performance regardless of the burglary incident which left him with a fractured skull and broken ankle in December.
He out worked his opponent and was consistent with his jab throughout. An accurate right hand to the chin in round two even had Perez dazed. Crolla executed a smart strategy which prohibited Perez from finding his groove. Everything was going his way and in round 11 and 12 points were taken from the Columbian for low blows which should have left the scoring a formality. But once again in boxing a bad decision forbid a true winner from attaining his dream.
But with the courage exhibited by Crolla and his intelligence in the ring, his opportunity should come again. He was admirably calm and composed on what was an enormous occasion for him.
Super Middleweight Martin Murray proved his worth as a 12 stone competitor after dominating his Croatian opponent Mirzet Bajrektarevic.
Round one to three saw sustained body assaults from Murray who was comfortable in the ring in what was a mismatch.
In round five the referee decided that Bajrektarevic was unable to continue in what was a premature stoppage. However it was completely one sided and would have served no purpose continuing.
Promoter Eddie Hearn declared that Murray is now ready for a big fight in September after easing his way into a new division up from middleweight.
Overall it was an entertaining fight night. We had stunning KO’s and poor judging. One thing is for sure, a potential unification clash between Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg is now an even tastier prospect.