Davies edges McKenna, wins Golden Contract tournament

mckennadavies1.0 - Davies edges McKenna, wins Golden Contract tournamentMTK Global/ESPN+

It was close but not controversial as Ohara Davies nicked a win over Tyrone McKenna.

Ohara Davies nicked a majority decision over Tyrone McKenna today in England, winning MTK Global’s 140-pound Golden Contract tournament.

The fight was scored 95-95, 96-94, and 96-94, obviously the latter two cards for Davies. There’s no major controversy with this; we scored the fight 96-94 for McKenna, but a lot of the rounds were down to what very minor bit of difference you thought was the most significant aspect, and neither of them exactly tore the house down, to be entirely honest. It was not what one would call an entertaining fight.

Davies (22-2, 16 KO) mostly came forward, as expected, while McKenna (21-2-1, 6 KO) mostly tried to move and fight off the back foot, also as expected. The trash talk about knockouts and hatred and grudges led to a pretty tentative 10 rounds where nobody took any big risks, with Davies even saying post-fight he didn’t want to take the risks his team were asking of him, as he felt he was winning most of the rounds comfortably.

The 30-year-old McKenna can certainly go home with the belief he deserved a win here, but that also comes with the asterisk that very few people felt he deserved his semifinal victory over Mohamed Mimoune in February. This was, if we’re staying honest here, a fight between two pretty good domestic junior welterweights, neither of them exactly crashing their way into the world title scene coming into this one, or coming out of it.

Davies, 28, felt he deserved a wider win, and does feel he can fight at the top level.

“I don’t think it was that close. I felt I won the fight quite comfortably. I could have taken it up another two or three notches,” Davies said, stating he felt he was winning each round. “When the one judge had it a draw, I was thinking, ‘Hell no, that was a wide fight.’ He probably won two rounds of that fight.”

“I know when I’m in top shape, there is no one in the world that can match me,” Davies added. “I’m coming for everyone now, I’m coming.”

Serge Michel TKO-4 Liam Conroy

Michel (11-1, 8 KO), a 32-year-old originally from Russia, now fighting out of Germany, nicknamed “The Bavarian Sniper,” had a really good performance here in the light heavyweight tournament semifinal. Conroy (18-6-1, 9 KO) was game as always, but he was over-matched here. Michel out-boxed him, dropped him on a quick right hand late in the third, and then when Conroy, 28, gave it a go in the fourth, he got dropped two more times and finished at 1:39.

The first knockdown was a quick little right that caught Conroy coming in. The second was a right cross that Conroy walked into after pressing Michel toward the ropes, and the final knockdown came on a right uppercut, another one Conroy walked into. It has to be said that Conroy got drilled with those last two because he was really trying to win. He clearly no longer felt he could box with Michel, so he tried to turn it into a brawl. He did, it just didn’t go well.

Michel will now move on to face Ricards Bolotniks (17-5-1, 7 KO) in the tournament final. The 30-year-old Latvian beat Hosea Burton last Saturday in Riga by wide 10-round decision to reach the final himself, so they’ll have basically the same break whenever the fight gets signed, and I’d expect it by the end of 2020.

“I’m very happy, I’m very, very happy. To begin, I was very tense, but round by round, it felt better,” Michel said after the fight. “The right uppercut, the right cross, that’s my best punch. I want the Golden Contract and it will be a great final with Ricards Bolotniks.”

The stoppage win also means Michel gets a £5,000 bonus for this fight, so yeah, he’s had a good night.

Steven Ward PTS-6 Jone Valau

Ward (13-1, 4 KO) was blasted out in the first round by Ricards Bolotniks in the MTK light heavyweight tournament quarterfinal in Dec. 2019, and here he moved up to cruiserweight, facing Valau (5-6, 2 KO), who had never fought below 220 pounds before, so he was moving down here.

Ward had a mildly rough start, but adjusted and took over, winning five of the six rounds. “The Quiet Man” from Northern Ireland is 30 and world level is not in his future, most likely, but the domestic cruiserweight scene in the UK is one where he could maybe be competitive. Richard Riakporhe currently has the British title, while Chris Billam-Smith holds the Commonwealth belt.

“I stuck to my boxing and it worked, I felt like I could have done that for 12,” Ward said. “I’d love to fight for the British title by the end of the year. I feel like I have the ability. Jone’s a tough lad, and I felt really good in there. It’s only the tip of the iceberg.”

Ben Fail PTS-6 Robbie Chapman

Chapman (6-5, 0 KO) is the type of local scrapper who will give young fighters rounds and a decent fight, and he did so here against the debuting Fail, a 23-year-old middleweight southpaw. Fail was clearly the better fighter and did a good job in his first outing, but Chapman was there throughout, giving the young guy some valuable early experience.

“I’ve always liked a bit of a rough and tough fight, so I enjoyed it. That’s probably the real difference, you’re a bit more stuck in,” Fail said of pro boxing versus his amateur experience. His brother will turn pro soon, too.

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