Punctured: Head Clash Lets Down Rendall Munroe Against Scott Quigg

Rendall Munroe picked up a puncture at the Manchester Velodrome on Saturday in pursuit of Scott Quigg’s junior featherweight Lonsdale belt. After a brace of nip-and-tuck rounds, an on-form Quigg launched a hard right in round 3 that Munroe blocked with his gloves, yet, as the Leicester veteran dipped down and to his right, he collided with the top of Quigg’s head and completely trashed his right eye. A long, deep and jagged cut burst open along Munroe’s brow, plastering his face with blood to end matters at 0:43. The result was a technical draw.

Munroe (121 ½) was livid, yet replays revealed the collision to have been wholly accidental. At 32, Munroe faces an uncertain sabbatical as he bids to patch himself up for another run at the British champion. Quigg (121 ¾) can feel equally aggrieved. Despite the fact Sky’s punditry team had already made up their minds in deciding that Munroe would have too much for the Bury upstart, Quigg had landed the more precise punches in the opener and forced Munroe into playing blind man’s buff in round 2. Ringside commentator Jim Watt, refusing to be swayed by events unfolding above him, had already started preaching from his pre-prepared script, judging Munroe’s flapping left hooks to the body and ineffective movement superior to Quigg’s on-point jabbing, hooking and impressive defensive work.

The pair will probably tear around the track opposite one another again unless, as one Sky wag pointed out (rather unfairly), Quigg comes unstuck in the interim. Surely the network’s decision to part ways with Quigg’s promotional team hadn’t sullied their opinion of one of the nation’s finest young domestic fighters?

Ricky Hatton protégé Sergey Rabchenko eliminated veteran Ryan Rhodes with a grazing solar plexus punch in the 7th round of their undercard encounter. Rhodes had acquitted himself rather well up to that point and had stunned the Manchester-based Minsk man with fizzing right in round 3; however, Rabchenko’s counter left hook shut him down completely, his face contorted in agony. Referee Adrio Zannoni (Italy) called time at 2:54.

Rabchenko, 22-0 (16), claimed the vacant European junior middleweight title with the win. Rhodes meanwhile falls to 46-6 (31) and will almost certainly box on.

In another startling piece of analysis, anchorman Dave Clark hoodwinked viewers into returning after a commercial break with the promise of “an absolute thriller.” What actually materialised was an almost indescribable heavyweight fiasco involving Sheffield’s Richard Towers and French import Gregory Tony. One hardly knows where to begin.

In a sloppy farce between two of the most novice-like fighters to have gained air time since Ricky Gervais battered Grant Bovey in aid of Comic Relief, both men were reluctant to carry on after only a handful of sessions. The Frenchman actually threw in his own towel at one point (retrieved sheepishly by his cornerman) while Towers almost certainly would have been stopped but for some of the most eccentric refereeing ever witnessed in a British ring (coupled with the fact that Tony hasn’t yet learned how to punch correctly). The visitor could barely be bothered to get up off his stool, repeatedly sat down to take any number of counts (possibly in protest), turned his back on Towers on occasion and finally stopped altogether to look at his arm (presumably injured).

As the Saint-Raphael native walked away staring at his bicep, Towers appealed to the tramlined, earring sporting third man Ernst Salzgeber (Austria) for help, who in turn leapt upon Tony to pull up his shorts before belatedly waving off the entire jumble at 0:48 of round 9 when Tony refused to stop looking for answers on the inside of his forearm ala Leonard Shelby from the film “Memento.” Commentators Jim Watt and Nick Halling bandied about words like “absorbing” and “courageous” in spite of it all.

In 1934, Max Baer’s shellacking of the bumbling Primo Carnera became a worldwide cinematic hit as something of a slapstick masterpiece. That was Swan Lake in comparison to this nonsense.

Promoter: Hatton Promotions

Television: Sky Sports

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.