Jamie McDonnell will take his WBA bantamweight title home to Doncaster this weekend but can count himself very, very lucky to be able to do so after a twelve round battle with Liborio Solis.
The Venezuelan challenger came out of the blocks much the better and took control of the fight over the first eight rounds – at least. McDonnell, a notoriously slow starter, eventually got into the fight in the ninth but on my card was way behind and had far too much to do.
Solis made sure of what should have been a superbly executed victory by taking the last two rounds in front of a sparse Monte Carlo crowd, although the judges somehow saw it a completely different way.
Jimmy Lennon Jr. read out 117-111, 116-112 and 115-113 as most assumed the legendary announcer would say ‘and the new’. That prove not to be the case as a sluggish McDonnell was gifted a win that should never have been. I had it 117-111 and convincingly – without question to Solis who fully deserves to fight for the belt if McDonnell decides to vacate.
McDonnell stated he thought he’d done enough after the fight but admitted he would look at moving up to super-bantamweight, which all but confirmed he and coach Dave Coldwell were not happy with the performance.
Earlier, Martin Murray moved a step closer to yet another world title shot but was made to work for it by late replacement Nuhu Lawal.
Instead of facing bigger names in Arthur Abraham and Dmitry Chudinov, Murray was pitted against Lawal at just one weeks’ notice and seemed to struggle to get up for the fight from the first bell.
Lawal nicked rounds throughout as Murray slightly laboured at times, although the superior skill of the Englishman was ultimately too much for the previously undefeated Nigerian, who now fights out of Germany.
Murray was deducted a point controversially by referee Russell Mora in the final round but by that time had done enough to seal the fight 117-110 twice and 116-111 on the scorecards.