Dennis Hobson has expressed surprise at the decision that saw Nav Mansouri retain his English light-middleweight title against Sam Sheedy in Rotherham on Saturday (July 4).
In a fierce Yorkshire-derby tussle at a packed Magna Centre, hometown-man Mansouri picked up a controversial split decision verdict over Sheffield’s Sheedy in a ‘fight of the year’ contender.
Masnouri, determined to hold onto his belt in front of his home fans, continually pressed forward but ‘Speedy’ Sheedy lived up to his moniker and appeared to get the better of the exchanges with his accurate, southpaw counter-punching.
As the fight wore on both fighters tired and the much of the action could’ve been staged in a phone box, yet still Sheedy’s work looked the more accurate. At the final bell it seemed inevitable the title would be changing hands, so there was shock at ringside with the announcement that judges John Latham (97-94) and Terry O’Connor (96-95) had both scored for Mansouri, with Michael Alexander favouring Sheedy (97-94).
“I knew the fight was going to be a cracker,” explained Hobson, “I was telling everybody beforehand that there was going to be drama, but I didn’t expect it to that degree! It was great TV, an amazing fight and then we had the controversy at the end.
“Both of them put it on the line. The consensus was that it would be too soon for Sam but I thought it would be the making of him, where he announced himself, and so it proved. He boxed amazing on Saturday and it was just the decision, on paper, that went against him.
“Nav is a great kid and a great fighter but I thought Sam was the guvnor and two of the three judges got it very badly wrong, and even the judge that gave it to Sam was being kind to Nav. I thought Sam won by a wide margin and the consensus on social media and in the crowd thought the same.
“I think we could now go on the international scene with Sam. He has the ability, he has the charisma and could be a real star. We’ll turn this around into a positive, he’s been hard done by and he’ll win a lot of fans, and it’s a great journey over the next few years for him.”
Also on the bill, Lewis Taylor picked up the vacant English middleweight title after a technical decision victory over Grant Cunningham.
In a bout that was warming up nicely, Taylor suffered a nasty cut on the right eyebrow in the fifth round after an accidental clash of heads. Unable to continue after a doctor’s inspection, the action was halted with Taylor announced as the new champion after being ahead on the scorecards.
“It was a terrible cut and he wasn’t going to be able to continue. The first round could’ve gone either way, but I thought Lewis started to take over after that, although Grant did keep coming back into it. I think it would have warmed up into a war because they’re both fighters and not dancers.
“I’m glad that Lewis got the decision. Grant is a class act though and he took the defeat well, and it was a pleasure to work with him. So we could maybe do that one again, but we’ll also be looking at another level for Lewis now too.
“Ultimately, both fights were cracking contests and I’m so pleased we managed to get it on Spike TV, live and free-to-air for the fans. If we can keep fighters like Nav and Sam on the Spike TV platform then they’ll become household names, which is great when you’ve got others fighting for world titles on subscription channels who can walk down the street and not get noticed.”
CATCH THE RE-RUN OF MANSOURI VS SHEEDY THIS WEDNESDAY (JULY 8) ON SPIKE TV (Channels: Sky 160, Freeview 31, Talk Talk 31, Freesat 141, BT TV 31).