With the big British news revolving around the Calzaghe-Lacy mess, Clinton Woods’ win last week, and the Ricky Hatton-Frank Warren saga, what is potentially one of the best punch ups in a British ring may go relatively unnoticed tonight, as British Middleweight Champion Scott Dann makes the 3rd defence of his belt against Wayne Elcock...a natural match between a southpaw buzzsaw and a textbook boxer who both have the power to take the other out.
Nobody could concede that these two honest Joe’s are the best in Britain (that honour would go to world contender Howard Eastman, who relinquished this British title when the international stage beckoned), but they are popular fighters who will get Dann’s home town of Plymouth all excited at the prospect of such a match.
Coming in, Dann has to be the favourite. He is 22-2 (16), with one of those losses coming to Eastman in his first British title tilt. It came too early for him, and he was stopped in three rounds after taking the fight to the lanky puncher. He went back to the drawing board with trainer/manager Chris Sanigar, and returned in formidable form. Since the Eastman loss, he is 7-0 (6), including three straight knockout wins with the British title at stake.
His opponent, Wayne Elcock, is also rebounding from a loss...although this one was a little more unscripted. After trouncing the world ranked Anthony Farnell, unbeaten Birmingham man Elcock was being heavily talked up by the British media. He’d only had 11 fights, and he was already winning 12 rounders! But then, out of the blue, a single right hand from unknown Scotsman Laurence Murphy ended the dreams, at least temporarily, as Elcock went down to a first round knockout loss. He’s since rebuilt with three comeback wins to set up this title challenge.
The clash of styles itself is what makes this so enticing. Elcock is a smooth boxer-type, with a potent right hand, whilst Dann is an out-and-out puncher, fighting from a southpaw stance, who is particularly dangerous in the opening rounds. Factor in that he is 8-0 (8) in his hometown of Plymouth (where the fight takes place at the Pavillion Centre), and Elcock looks to be in for a tough night indeed.
But Elcock cannot be discounted. If he gets past the dreaded opening round, his movement and skills may make Dann miss, and once the Southerner is took into the late rounds, who knows what might happen?
I foresee a fight of changing fortunes, with Elcock’s boxing imposing itself onto the fight, only for Dann’s heavy handed bursts to swing the fight his way every now and then. Whilst there is every chance Elcock gets through the first half of the fight and wins down the stretch of this 12 rounder, I’m going with the tried and tested and picking Dann to score a stoppage by round 6 after being outboxed for long periods.
But when you get a boxer vs puncher of similar standards together, who knows what might happen?
The pick of the undercard has to be the chief support, which sees unbeaten Lee Haskins bid for the vacant Commonwealth Flyweight crown. Britain has a long history of quality flyweights, and with current boss Damaen Kelly coming to the twilight of a dignified career (British, Commonwealth and European crowns plus an IBF title challenge), it may be time to start looking for his successor.
Can it be Haskins, who is 12-0 (7) and slick, stylish and skillful? We may find out here as he takes on South African Sithembile Kibiti, who is 15-2 (11) and should provide a good test for Haskins. Seeing as Haskins is the one tipped for the top, and that Kibiti has little evidence on his record of being anything above Commonwealth title level, look for Haskins to cruise to a points victory to pick up his first big title.
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