Last night in Edinburgh, Scotland, Joe Calzaghe successfully defended his WBO supermiddleweight title tonight for a record fifteenth time, in what must be one of his scrappiest fights to date. With the win, Calzaghe will also remain atop Boxingtalk's ratings in his weight class. Sensationally knocked down in the fourth round, for only the second time in his career, Calzaghe put on a subpar display as the durable Salem (Boxingtalk #23) offered little in the way of initiative and looked to frustate the champion with his roughhouse style.
Both fighters were repeatedly warned by referee Paul Thomas for use of the head and eventually deducted a point each. This made little difference to the scorecards however, with Calzaghe going on to claim a deserved points victory on all three cards (117-109, 118-107, 116-109).
His promoter, Frank Warren, later conceeded that with the length of Calzaghe's inactivity, Salem was perhaps not the ideal style of fighter to allow the Champion to shake off the inevitable ring rust.
No such questions can be raised over his Calzaghe's stamina however, as he came on strong in the later rounds and completed the scheduled 12 round distance with relative ease.
Dissapointed with his own performance, Calzaghe now looks towards kepping busy in 2005 and eyes a long overdue 'Super Fight' with Light Heavyweight kings Antonio Tarver or Glencoffe Johnson.
In contrast, Edinburgh native 'Amazing' Alex Arthur put on perhaps his most complete performance to date. In front of a capacity home crowd the Scotsman impressed with a 6th round stoppage of Eric Odumase to retain his IBF Intercontinental Super Featherweight crown.
Arthur looked classy throughout, picking his shots well and put the game Odumase down three times before the Ghanian was withdrawn by his corner at the end of the 6th.
Delighted with his performance, Arthur now looks to continue to build momentum and fight again before the New Year. His promoter, Frank Warren, teased that both Arthur and WBU Champion Michael Gomez will likely get the opportunity to replicate their 2003 domestic Fight of the Year in late 2005...
Also on the card, featherweight hot prospect Kevin 'Mighty' Mitchell continued his seemingly inevitable march towards stardom with a dominant points win over frenchman Mounir Guebbas.