On the June 8th edition of Friday Night Fights, both bouts featured up-and-coming fighters face off against battle-tested veterans of the sport. Although both fights managed to play out in entirely different manners, both still managed to be competitive from bell to bell, and somewhat entertaining.
In the opening bout of the broadcast, super middleweights Anthony Hanshaw (23-3-2, 14 knockouts) and Farah Ennis (21-1, 12 knockouts) faced off in a pivotal ten round fight for both fighters’ careers. Going into the fight it was easy to understand why Ennis was the betting favorite. With youth, athleticism, and sheer size on his side, it seemed like a no-brainer to see Ennis stopping hanshaw early. Instead, it was Hanshaw who was performing like the younger fighter as Ennis put on one of the most uninspired performances of his young career.
After an opening round that saw Hanshaw as the busier fighter, Ennis seemed poised to regain his footing after taking rounds two and three. From that point forward, it was Hanshaw dictating the pace all while constantly throwing shots in an attempt to throw off his opponent. Althought most of Hanshaw’s shots were glancing blows, it came off as much more imprressive than the one or two shot punch combinations that Ennis would try to respond with.
This led to an interesting dynamic as far as judging goes. Should one give the round to the busier fighter, or to the fighter who is landing the much more sparce but effective punches? This became the point of debate after Ennis managed to miss almost all of his punches in the sixth round except for a thudding uppercut that was arguably the best punch of the fight. Unfortunately for Hanshaw, his high punch output only led to his undoing as exhastion begin to set in during the later rounds.
Sensing the urgency from his corner, Ennis finally awoke in the eighth round and began to finally take the fight to Hanshaw. After a pair of rounds that saw him flatout dominate the veteran, Ennis came out in the tenth and knocked down Hanshaw with a vicious hook. Where many expected Ennis to pounce on his opponent, Ennis seemed to lack any of the killer instinct most fighters would have exhibited. This allowed Hanshaw to survive the round, but still manage to lose the fight. Farah Ennis walked away with a unanimous decision victory on scores of (95-94), (96-93), and (96-93). There’s no telling where this win will take Ennis, but for now here’s to hoping the experience proves to be a positive one in the long-run.
In the main event of evening, lightweight contender John Molina (25-3, 20 knockouts) took on undefeated European fighter Andrey Klimov (16-0, 8 knockouts) in a ten round affair. Much like Ennis in the fight before, Molina was heavily favored going into the bout. After all, Molina had reached a chance to fight for the title before (and failed), so it seemed to make sense that he would find himself up there once again. Unfortunately for Molina, Klimov had every intention to spoil this from actually occurring.
At an obvious disadvantage in regards to size, strength, and power, Andrey Klimov knew what kind of strategy he’d have to resort to in order to pass an opponent that, on paper, seemed as complete a fighter as Molina. With an emphasis on erratic movement and superior boxing technique, Klimov managed to not only walk away the victor, but showed the world just how flawed a fighter Molina really was.
Aside from the early rounds which saw Molina struggling as far as adjusting to Klimov’s boxing style, Molina’s constant pressure style showed that his main focus was solely to put his opponent away both early and viciously. It’s this kind of one-track thinking during a fight that allowed Klimov to pick Molina apart with pattering hooks and straights that may not have been the most powerful, but were significant nonetheless.
Although the match seemed close at times, Klimov proved over the full ten rounds that he may not have been the better fighter, but he was certainly the better boxer. With superior movement and actual use of combinations, it was easy to see that Klimov was going to come away the victor. The final scores were (95-95), (97-93), and (96-94) in favor of the Russian. With Molina’s hopes of getting a shot of Ricky Burns’ title dashed, Klimov has managed to emerge as the real talking point of last night’s broadcast. With a style that is not the most crowd friendly, it’s doubtful that Klimov will be able to make a real splash against the division’s elite. Regardless of his chances, Klimov has managed to prove that he’s ready for the next step in his career.