MAFB: Lyndon Arthur vs Anthony Yarde 2 Review
For a ten fight card, and what should have been Frank Warren’s night to remember, the biggest takeaway was Steve Gray losing his bottle. After Bradley Skeete took a knee to recover, Hamzah Sheeraz let loose with a deliberate three-punch combination to Skeete’s defenceless head.
There was once a day when Gray had the cajones to make a big call. The veteran ref infamously threw away the towel as Lewis Ritson was dismantled by Jeremias Ponce. Just half a year later, Gray has made headlines again as he failed to follow the rulebook. Deducting a single point from Sheeraz goes against the rules (“if an intentional foul causes an injury and the bout is allowed to continue… deducted two (2) points”).
With a little common sense, however, Gray would have stopped the fight when Skeete hit the canvas. Skeete could barely stand on his feet, rising only because of the delay with the point deduction. If Gray cared about Skeete’s health, he would have called the intentional foul “severe enough to terminate the bout immediately”, whereby Sheeraz would have lost by DQ. Instead, Skeete got his head caved in for another couple of minutes and lost the former British champion a big future payday.
Failed to catch last weekend’s action? No worries, we have you covered:
PI’s Preview: Queensberry: Lyndon Arthur vs Anthony Yarde 2 Predictions.
PI’s Scoring: MAFB Math: Lyndon Arthur vs Anthony Yarde 2.
Unconvinced by Pintsized’s mystical predicting powers? Take a look at our prediction success last month detailed in Boxing Predictions Results: November 2021.
Lyndon Arthur vs Anthony Yarde
Yarde def. Arthur // KO Round 4 1:27
Frank’s determined attempts to clean Anthony Yarde’s record has finally paid off. Preventing Lyndon Arthur from progressing in his career, Frank made sure both men would rematch till the end of time until Yarde emerged victorious. Well, fish-eyes, your wish was granted.
Although it appeared that Arthur’s heart was never in the fight, I would never want to take away from Yarde’s emphatic stoppage. It isn’t like Arthur has shown a vibrant, bubbling personality at the best of times – his shrouded persona reveals a hard background, rather than fight anxiety. Rather, Yarde’s aggressive conquering of space and control of distance left Arthur without a Plan B. The preparation from Pat Barrett seemed to have been, “Arthur, you’re the bigger lad, wrap him up if he gets inside your jab”. The issue, then, was Yarde’s ability to out-muscle Arthur and land hard shots when exiting the clinch.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom for King Arthur. The Manc showcased his jab once again, albeit, not to the same effectiveness as their first meeting. Firing it without any telegraphed motion from the hip, Arthur’s jab is an elite weapon. Terrible positioning is the real cause behind Arthur’s demise. Yarde is a capable ring-cutter and made vast improvements in distributing his balance equally from the first fight, but Arthur made the challenger’s job easy. Backing himself onto the ropes in a straight line, Yarde was able to use his lead hand to pin Arthur in his high guard and land crushing body shots. A rubber match would likely see Yarde win based on activity, but Arthur is not damaged goods. The Manc is as technically sharp as his British peers (Buatsi, Johnson), but his game planning needs huge work (see Davide Faraci fight).
Anthony Yarde Analysis and Future
What is amusing is that if Arthur had have won the rematch, there would be no chance that Frank would gleefully tell the boxing fans that a WBO world title shot is the next destination. Ugh. Much like the British at the Battle of the Somme, Frank will throw all his LHW posse in a desperate attempt to clinch the WBO World title. Yarde valiantly tried and failed in Russia to take it from Sergey Kovalev, he will now have to prise it off Joe Smith Jr (likely; tough challenge) or Callum Johnson (unlikely; easy pickings).
Lyndon Arthur Analysis and Future
King Arthur is without ol’ Frankie boy now. While that does technically open up a world of options, the most likely home is Matchroom. It is unlikely that King Arthur will be given a push by Eddie Hearn, but he will have the opportunity to fight the most promising British contenders. In an ideal world for Hearn, he will have Arthur paste Rocky Fielding for a highlight reel before feeding him to Craig Richards or Joshua Buatsi.
Hamzah Sheeraz vs Bradley Skeete
Sheeraz def. Skeete // TKO Round 9 0:58
Ignoring the controversy around the illegal blows and eventual finish over a concussed Skeete, this crossroads fight was a pretty dull affair. Hamzah Sheeraz looked flat, walking down Skeete in a straight line while pawing with single straight shots. Skeete, an immensely successful operator at the British level, looked light-years ahead of Sheeraz. Darting laterally around the ropes, Sheeraz followed Skeete and failed to make any concerted effort to cut off the ring.
Under Ingle and with a lengthy lay-off, Skeete looked a fighter reborn. Sharply darting in with short combinations, Skeete landed then exited, never getting greedy and lingering longer than necessary in the pocket. Despite an increasingly frustrated corner, Sheeraz never attempted to change his approach. Not once did Sheeraz think to use his size to his advantage. Skeete’s gas tank isn’t what it used to be. Sheeraz was already eating shots on the outside. The prospect had nothing to lose with using his immense reach to create an ugly, clinching affair. Sheeraz’s best work over his career has come from the inside, firing extended combinations from awkward angles (thanks to his height).
Important to note is that Sheeraz dropped Skeete initially with a clean, legal shot. The former British champion was starting to flag by the closing rounds, but by no means was he the stumbling mess that arose after being hit illegally. If a rematch were to occur, Sheeraz must be heavily favoured, if not just for the simple fact that his gas tank won’t fail him.
Hamzah Sheeraz Analysis and Future
Offering the rematch immediately on Twitter afterwards is because of two reasons. Firstly, Sheeraz realises he needs to save face and win over the fans. More importantly, Sheeraz was able to drop Skeete legally and will take great confidence from the fact he was starting to pull ahead by the eighth round. If the rematch doesn’t transpire, then Jack Flatley is a solid name to pick up after his brave performance in Spain. If an easy scalp is wanted, Ashley Theophane is fully over the hill at this point.
Bradley Skeete Analysis and Future
Obviously, the rematch is what Skeete wants. It is a guaranteed payday against an awkward, but very experienced operator. There is also the route that Skeete retires. The former champion never received the credit he deserved throughout his career, perhaps owing to poor management and a lack of matchmaking luck. The early nature of the TKO losses left Skeete a meme for the UK fight fans. After out-classing Sheeraz as an underdog out of the ring for three years (Dale Arrowsmith doesn’t count), if Skeete opts to hang up the gloves, he delivered the finest performance on his bow out.
Dennis McCann. Initially, I wasn’t fully sold on the lad. How foolish I was.
Bradley Skeete. For a man no-one gave a chance, he sure did surprise us all.
Surprise of the Night
Kamil Sokolowski. George Fox may not be the most hotly anticipated prospect, but Sokolowski looked finished after the Solomon Dacres fight!
Fight of the Night
Lyndon Arthur vs Anthony Yarde. It was fairly one-sided but the rest of the card was prospect vs inhibited opponent/tomato can.
Finish of the Night
Masood Abdulah def. Paul Holt. Abdulah is ONE TO WATCH. Hugely impressive stoppage over an experienced, solid journeyman.
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