Thursday, September 28, 2023  |


Lee Haskins outpoints Ivan Morales, retains IBF bantamweight title

Fighters Network

Lee Haskins successfully retained his IBF bantamweight title for the first time with a wide unanimous decision over Ivan Morales on Saturday at the Ice Arena in Cardiff, Wales. Haskins won by scores of 119-108 and 118-110 (twice).

The 32-year-old beltholder from nearby Bristol, THE RING’s NO. 6-rated bantamweight, settled into the bout quicker than Morales, using his awkward southpaw style to counter the Mexican challenger, winning the early rounds.

To his credit Morales (29-2, 17 knockouts) – the younger brother of future hall of famer Erik Morales – fought gamely but had no answers for the more experienced titleholder throughout. Neither fighter was able to hurt the other.

At the conclusion of 12 heats, Haskins (33-3, 14 KOs) was justifiably awarded the decision over the IBF’s No. 13-rated contender.

Haskins fought for the first time in 11 months when he stopped Japanese contender Ryosuke Iwasa in six rounds last June to claim the IBF’s interim belt. He was due to face then-full IBF titleholder Randy Caballero on the Miguel Cotto- Canelo Alvarez bill last November before the Californian missed weight forcing the bout to be cancelled at the 11th hour.

Haskins now has 90 days to face his mandatory challenger Stuart Hall, who beat Rodrigo Guerrero last month. Haskins outpointed Hall in 2012.

In the co-feature to Haskins-Morales, Craig Kennedy got off the canvas twice to eek out a close split decision over Joel Tambwe Djeko to win the vacant IBF international cruiserweight title.

Kennedy (15-0, 8 KOs) went down heavily along the ropes in the second but was able to recover and see the round out. Djeko (9-2-1, 4 KOs) from Belgium via Senegal again dropped the local fighter in the sixth round, though looked more of a push.

The action was sustained through out and to Kennedy’s credit he looked he looked to press the fight though at the end of the fight their were a few nervous looks around the arena.

Moments later Kennedy was announced as the winner by scores of 95-93 twice, overruling the same score in Djeko’s favor.

Andrew Selby (5-0, 3 KOs) won the vacant British flyweight title outpointing the always game Louis Norman (11-2-1, 2 KOs).

Selby, 27, boxed well through out, boxing at a face pace and was rewarded with a wide unanimous decision 120-109 (twice) and 119-110.

Also on the undercard Scottish junior welterweight Josh Taylor (5-0, 5 KOs) continued his impressive start to his pro career stopping Miguel Gonzalez (13-12, 11 KOs) midway through the opening round.

Tony Dixon (7-1, 2 KOs) was stopped in the first round by Paddy Gallagher (10-2, 6 KOs) to win the vacant Celtic welterweight title.

In middleweight action Conrad Cummings (9-0-1, 4 KOs) dropped Frankie Borg (9-6, 3 KOs) in the fifth round before getting a stoppage in the sixth and final round.

Mitchell Buckland (11-0, 2 KOs) outpointed Mohamed Larabi (4-8-1, 2 KOs) in a junior welterweight contest, winning a shut out decision on referee Martin Williams lone scorecard.

Light heavyweight Nathan Thornley (5-0, 2 KOs) won every round en route to a four round decision over journeyman Elvis Dube (7-50-2, 5 KOs)

Also at light heavyweight Morgan Jones (7-0, 3 KOs) stopped Richard Harrison (1-5) in three rounds.

The Cyclone Promotions event was televised initially on Spike before moving on to terrestrial TV, Channel 5. It was attended by Barry McGuigan, Carl Frampton, Lee Selby, Steve Robinson as well as 2016 Olympian Joe Cordina and two time Commonwealth medalist Sean McGoldrick.

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