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Leeds undercard: Ebanie Bridges lifts IBF 118-pound title, Maxi Hughes and Dalton Smith win

Bridges (left) wins world title at second attempt. Photo by Mark Robinson/ Matchroom Boxing
Fighters Network

Popular Australian star Ebanie Bridges scored a 10-round unanimous decision over Maria Cecilia Roman to claim the IBF bantamweight title at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, England, on Saturday. The official scores were 100-91, 97-93 and 97-93. The first of those tallies was frankly embarrassing.

Bridges was busier in the first half and she was able to impose her strength on the long reigning Argentinian titleholder. However, utilizing her vastly superior experience, Roman came roaring back late in the fight and scored very well in the eighth, ninth and 10th rounds.

Despite Roman being four years older, at 39, she could more than match the challenger for stamina. There was just the feeling that she’d left it too late and that proved to be the case when the judges scorecards were read out.

“I feel proud of myself,” said Bridges (8-1, 3 KOs) during her post-fight interview with DAZN. “Everything I’ve sacrificed has been worth it. This belt represents all the heartbreaks, all the training, everything, so I’m just happy.”

Roman, who entered as The Ring’s No. 5 rated bantamweight, falls to 16-6-1.

Dalton Smith drops Ray Moylette. Photo by Mark Robinson/ Matchroom Boxing

Southpaw Maxi Hughes (25-5-2, 5 KOs) scored a one-sided 12-round unanimous decision over Ryan Walsh at lightweight. The official scores were 120-108, 119-108 and 118-110. The 32-year-old Hughes was coming off a career-best win over Mexican puncher Jovanni Straffon, who he dominated over 12 rounds in Leeds last September. This was a similar showing with Hughes creating angles, boxing off the target, and enjoying himself throughout. Walsh, a former British featherweight champ, drops to 27-5-2 (12 KOs).

Maxie Hughes (left) was too sharp for Ryan Walsh. Photo by Mark Robinson/ Matchroom Boxing

Junior welterweight Dalton Smith (10-0, 8 KOs) scored an impressive 10th-round stoppage over game Irishman Ray Moylette. The official time was 0:49. The only scare for Smith was a rarely implemented two-point deduction for a serious low blow in the seventh. After penalizing the Englishman, referee Mark Lyson warned Smith that another infringement could lead to a DQ loss. Releasing body shots was now an issue, but when Smith focused his attack upstairs exclusively he found the stoppage. Two knockdowns, courtesy of accurate left hooks, forced the corner to throw in the towel. Moylette is now 12-2 (5 KOs).


Tom Gray is managing editor for Ring Magazine. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing