Boxing news: Ben Davison made the right call stopping fight says Dee Walsh and Pody McCrory in world title eliminator

Leigh Wood with coach Ben Davison after defeat to Mauricio Lara on Saturday night
Andy Watters

TEN seconds to go in the seventh round and your fighter is way ahead on points. He’s been put down but he gets back up on unsteady legs and looks dazed and confused with his opponent itching to deliver a left hook coup des grace.

The referee allows the fighter – the defending champion in his home arena - to fight on but the coach can see that he is in no position to continue. One more punch could do serious damage to his health…

That’s the scenario Leigh Wood coach Ben Davison was faced with in last Saturday night’s WBA world featherweight title fight at Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena. Wood was ahead in the fight and was so dominant he was arguably beginning to freewheel when Mauricio Lara nailed him absolutely flush on the jaw with a left hook that sent him crashing to the same canvas he’d visited last year when he fought Michael Conlan.

Conlan had Wood on the brink but the bell rang before he could finish it. On Saturday night there were still 10 seconds left in the round when Wood clambered back to his feet. The referee was prepared to allow him to continue but Davison threw the towel in to end the fight before Lara could get to his man.

In the immediate aftermath Wood was annoyed at the action his cornerman took – he wanted to fight on – and Davison’s call has divided opinion. However, Dee Walsh, Ireland’s coach of the year in 2022, says he made the right decision.

“At the end of the day, Ben Davison acted on emotion and he didn’t want to see his fighter get hurt so it was a good decision,” said Walsh.

“Lara is a murdering puncher so pulling Wood out was the best move. The fighter’s welfare and health has to come first. When Anthony Yarde fought (Artur) Beterbiev and Yarde’s corner stopped the fight people were saying: ‘Ah that was a bit too early’ but if you have one of the biggest Russian punchers of all time coming at you while your man is already hurt… You’re better off throwing in the towel.

“Look at what Lara did to Josh Warrington? Warrington was talking about how hard Lara hit and Warrington had looked nearly invincible before he fought Lara. So calling it off was the right call.”

Unlike Davison, who did box at amateur level, Walsh is a former pro fighter and an unbeaten one too. He carved out a 12-0 career which included an Irish title at light-middleweight before he turned to training and he proved his worth from grassroots to world title level.

“If you know your fighter, you know when he’s had enough,” said Walsh.

“I watched an MMA fight once when the coach was trying to motivate his fighter to keep going even when the fighter was saying: ‘Pull me out, pull me out’. The coach was telling him to keep going and people were saying he (the coach) was a disgrace but we don’t know whether that fighter had been telling him to pull him out of spars and the coach kept him going and he turned the spar around.

“Coaches know their fighters better than anyone so it’s hard to judge a coach because you don’t know what’s going on every day in the gym.

“Some fighters don’t recover well, other fighters do so it’s hard to judge but, from the outside looking in, it looked like Ben Davison made a good call.”

PODY McCrory is being lined up for a WBA super-middleweight title eliminator against Brazil’s Yamaguchi Falcao at the SSE Arena on May 27.

McCrory (16-0) is ranked fourth by the WBA and Falcao (24-1-1) is seventh with the Association and victory would pave the way for the winner to fight ‘regular’ champion David Morrell junior or ‘super’ champion and global pound-for-pound superstar Saul Alvarez.

Falco was a silver-medallist at the 2012 Olympic Games in London and along the way he beat Cuba’s Julio César La Cruz who went on to win gold at the 2016 and 2020 Games. As a professional ‘Guchi’ has won Latino and North American ranking titles and is on an eight-fight winning streak.

It is understood that the Brazilian’s team are due to visit Belfast to reconnoitre the city’s facilities and complete negotiations with a view to confirming the fight.

McCrory won the IBO light-heavyweight title late last year with a command performance against Germany Leon Bunn in Frankfurt. ‘The Hammer’ showed his quality, class and power that night but was always determined to return to super-middleweight and pursue further world honours.

The WBC International ‘Silver’ champion, McCrory signed off on a brilliant 2023 by beating Dmytro Fedas at the SSE Arena on the undercard of Conlan-Guerfi. Conlan is expected to headline again on May 27, this time with a shot at IBF champion Luis Alberto Lopez who ripped the belt away from Josh Warrington in Leeds last year.

SOCIAL media star Jake Paul takes on an actual boxer in Tommy Fury in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Sunday night (around 9.45pm).

26-year-old YouTuber Paul is 6-0 and has so far beaten a former NBA player and three mixed martial arts fighters. Fury, younger brother of heavyweight king Tyson, will be the first bona fide fighter he has faced and he boasts that it will all be over in “three rounds max".

"He's just not going to be prepared for the moment or what I'm bringing to the table,” said Paul.

“I'm trying to knock him out with a hook actually; I want him to be the first person I knock out with my left hand so we've been working on that.

“I think the first round will be chill and then I'll start to figure him out after 30-45 seconds.”

It’s no surprise that Fury’s father John sees it the other way. He doesn’t expect Paul to be a problem for his son who, he says, is enjoying a “holiday and a decent payday”.

“It's an easy fight for Tommy,” said Fury.

“We're looking at big honours for Tommy; we're looking at Tommy winning world titles in future.”

He added: “Tommy's never had a black eye; he's not had a glove graze in over 100 rounds of sparring. Tommy's good, but he's never had the chance to showcase his skill because he's not been out enough.

“He's had eight fights in five years, come on, it's a joke, because you know why? They didn't want to pay what he was worth. But all those people are gone now, don't need them. We're past that level."