Controversy As Love Is Disqualified Against Spark
Controversy reigned in Cleveland as Montana Love was
disqualified after Steve Spark was lifted over the ropes in
a clinch in the sixth round – Spark picking up the WBA
Intercontinental Super-Lightweight title in the process.
The fight was building into a cracker through six rounds,
with drama in the second round as a Spark attack stunned
Love who was put onto the canvas hard by the Aussie in the
second round, with a right hand the final punch of a
damaging flurry. Love recovered quickly but the crowd were
on tenterhooks as Spark knew that he could hurt the hometown
Love still had his legs and was looking to counter, as an
emboldened Spark stalked Love who was looking to set traps
and noticeably began investing in body work. Spark once
again launched a ferocious attack in the fifth round, but
Love was able to withstand the heavy-handed man from Down
Under and fire back.
The very first action was an accidental headclash that led
to a nasty cut above the left eye of Love, and after a
lengthy check from the doctor the fight resumed, and the
pair almost immediately got tangled in a clinch that saw the
pair land on the ropes heavily and in the melee, Spark
toppled over the ropes.
The Australian jumped straight to his feet and back into the
ring intent on carrying on a fight that was brewing nicely,
but the referee disqualified Love much to the dismay of a
crowd that was fully invested in a fight that was building
to a crescendo on an exciting night in Cleveland.
“Thank you to Cleveland for the hospitality,” said Spark.
“My job is to fight, and this has changed my life. I’m
devastated how it ended. I got the early knock down and I
was fighting with my whole heart, it was growing into a
great fight, but we didn’t want it to end this way.”
“He was using dirty rough house tactics all night and I
pushed him off me, I didn’t lift him up or throw him out of
the ring,” said Love. “We wanted him to tire out and catch
him later on, and that’s where it was going. I want to do it
again, he can’t outbox me or outfight me, let’s do it
“It was a bad decision,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Montana
was rough but he didn’t intentionally throw him out of the
ring, and Steve got back into the ring and wanted to keep
fighting. Referees have a tough job but that was a poor
decision and one made too quickly.
“It was turning into a great fight, the commission will
review, I would love to do it again.”
Richardson Hitchins claimed his first pro title in his first
fight with Matchroom and Eddie Hearn as he picked up the IBF
North American Super-Lightweight title against Yomar Alamo.
Hitchins established his jab early and then opened up
towards the end of the third round, regularly finding a home
for his right hand. The Brooklyn slickster was proving too
hot to handle for Alamo, who was met with a stiff jab any
time he tried to mount an attack but was keeping Hitchins
honest despite not managing to land anything to deter
Hitchins was pitching a shut-out moving into the final
rounds and showed signs of pushing for a stoppage as Alamo
began to look discouraged and Hitchins began to enjoy
himself. Alamo made it to the end of the eighth round, but
Alamo and his corner ended the bout on his stool, and
Hitchins had a belt placed around his waist for the first
time – and made it clear that the man he wants next.
“I could have knocked him out earlier but I’m happy with the
performance,” said Hitchins. “I started hurting him and
adjusting and eventually I got him out of there.
“I didn’t have to take this fight in Ohio in front of a
hostile crowd. I want Montana Love next. I keep being asked
that question and I keep giving the same answer, it’s time
to ask him if he wants it – I came over to Matchroom, it’s
time for him to sign the contract and let’s do it.”
Raymond Ford lived up to his nickname with a ‘Savage’ KO win
over Sakaria Lukas to defend his WBA Continental Americas
Featherweight title. Ford had bad intentions from the start
and Lukas was down inside the opening minute of the fight,
although that owed as much to a tangle of legs and collision
with the referee. Regardless, Ford peppered away in the
opening half of the fight, poured it on in the sixth and
went in for the kill in the seventh, with Lukas getting a
point deducted for holding and hitting to make his plight
even worse. A big left hand in the eighth from Ford was a
sign of things to come and as the facial damage was
beginning to show on the Namibian as Ford connected cleanly
with every shot before delivering the massive right hand
that closed the sho.
Thomas Mattice recorded the biggest win of his career to
date, outpointing unbeaten Puerto Rican Christian Tapia in a
back-and-forth contest. Mattice set the tone by putting
Tapia down in the second round with a counter left hook and
hurt Tapia again in the third in a ferocious start to the
Tapia grew into it after that rough beginning and began to
have success leading into the second half of the fight, a
body assault seeming to affect Mattice, but the Ohio man
turned the tide back with a big right hand in the seventh.
The to and fro action continued to the tenth and final round
where both men poured it all out to the final bell, a
breathless battle ending with scorecards of 97-92, 96-93,
96-93 for the hometown man who ripped the WBC Continental
Americas Super-Featherweight title from Tapia.
Kicking off the DAZN broadcast, Beatriz Ferreira made a
great start to life in the pro game, beating fellow
Brazilian Taynna Cardoso over four three-minute rounds.
Former amateur star Ferreira made the perfect start with a
knockdown in the opening round, and repeated that trick in
the third round en-route to taking victory 40-34 on all
three cards, and the 29 year old will return swiftly on
December 3 in Glendale, Arizona.
Nikoloz Sekhniashvili got back to winning ways after a
dominant performance over David Rodriguez after the referee
waved the action off in the corner before the start of the
fourth round, with Rodriguez suffering horrible swelling to
the right eye which began from being floored by a left hook
in the opening session, Sekhniashvili improving to 8-1.
Montana Love’s older brother Raynell Williams put
Ryizeemmion Ford down in the first round on his way to a
comfortable points win over six as his return to action
continued, getting the nod 60-53 on all three cards and
moving to 14-1.
Khalil Coe kicked the action off by registering his fourth
win in the paid ranks. Coe floored Bradley Olmeda in the
fifth round and looked for the stoppage but Olmeda gamely
survived to hear the final bell, where Coe swept the cards
60-53 to move to 4-0-1.