Boxing News And News

By Francis Walker
Updated: May 6, 2008

GlovesNEW YORK — When Andre Dirrell fought Curtis Stevens last year it was one of the least memorable encounters in recent memory. Although he won a 10-round decision, Dirrell was hesitant and unwilling to display the talent that led to his spot on the 2004 U.S. Olympic team.

The same cannot be said of Dirrell following his performance against Anthony Hanshaw. Dirrell (15-0, 10 KOs) in a very entertaining fight, risked everything during his fifth-round TKO of Hanshaw (21-2-1, 14 KOs).

The scheduled 10-round super middleweight fight was the main event of a recent ShoBox: New Generation Series. Hanshaw is the most recognizable and challenging opponent that Dirrell has fought as a professional.

The 30 year-old Hanshaw, winless in his last three fights, pushed Roy Jones, Jr. to the limit during their bout in July 2007. Dirrell, a young 24 year-old from Flint, was pushed around the ring and forced to fight in the opening round.

Hanshaw, 31, of Warren, Ohio, attacked Dirrell in the opening seconds of the fight and nearly knocked him onto the ring apron with a barrage of punches. It was as if the bull was chasing the matador.

Whenever Dirrell was against the ropes, Hanshaw would unload with punches. Perhaps Hanshaw was too aggressive, as Dirrell made a few adjustments and stepped up his attack in the second round.

“I learned from my mistakes really quick,” Dirrell said afterwards. “I saw the type of fighter that he was when he fought Roy Jones; when he fought Jean-Paul Mendy. I knew he was wide on the inside punching wobbly and not thinking where his head is.”

“So coming into the fight, I realized that on the inside he was wide. I’ve been working on my short punches, set him up with the hook. Each time I hurt him it was the hook that started it.”

In a surprising move, Dirrell switched to southpaw in the second round before returning to conventional. The tactic proved to be very effective because, at 6-feet-2, the taller Dirrell was able to offset Hanshaw’s aggressiveness and timing. Dirrell was able to see Hanshaw’s punches, counter effectively, and box around the ring.

Dirrell’s use of his distance allowed him to control the fight. While alternating between southpaw and conventional throughout the fight, Dirrell hurt Hanshaw with a straight-punches to his chin and continued to hurt him throughout.

The fifth round was perhaps the most impressive round of Dirrell’s career. Dirrell bobbed and weaved Hanshaw’s left-right hook combinations and simply picked off his punches.

Dirrell stunned Hanshaw with a left-right-left combination before hurting him again with a series of straight-punches. The referee had no choice, butt o stop the bout at the 1:13 second mark.

In the co-featured attraction, lightweight prospect Antonio DeMarco (18-1-1, 13 KOs) remained unbeaten with a solid fifth-round TKO against previously unbeaten Juan Castaneda (12-1, 9 KOs).

Junior Witter Invades ShoBox

The next installment of ShoBox: The New Generation series will commence Saturday night from the United Kingdom. The boxing world will be delighted once they brace the opportunity to see one of boxing’s best kept secrets in WBC junior welterweight champion Junior Witter of Bradford, Yorkshire.

Witter (36-1-2, 21 KOs) is scheduled to make the third defense of his 140-pound world championship against undefeated Timothy Bradley (21-0, 11 KOs).

Witter can do it all. He can box, punch, and fight hard. He’s always in tremendous shape. However, Witter is coming off knee surgery off his last title defense, an impressive seventh round KO of former WBA 140-pound champion Vivian Harris.

At age 34, Witter, who has been longing for a shot at fellow countryman Ricky Hatton, must continue to win impressively if he wants big fights.

A world champion is always in a dangerous position when they have to defend a world championship against an unbeaten fighter in Bradley, 24, Palm Springs, California. Bradley is basically an unknown who has fought all of his fights in California, but hungers for a world championship.

Bradley is in the same position Witter was back in June 2000. Witter fought his first world title fight against Zab Judah for the IBF junior welterweight title. Witter lost a 12-round unanimous decision in a competitive boxing match; ending Judah’s six-fight knockout streak.

Following the loss to Judah, Witter had to wait more than six years before earning another world title shot. He captured the vacant WBC 140-pound title from DeMarcus Corley (W 12) in September 2006.

Witter has won 21 consecutive fights in eight years since the loss to Judah.