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Belmedhi edges Lamptey in hard 10-round battle

Moroccan super featherweight Jaouad Belmehdi scored an upset of sorts with a split decision win over previously-undefeated Ghanian Alfred Lamptey, topping the bill at the Yas Links Golf Course in Abu Dhabi, live on DAZN.

After 10 rounds, Belmehdi had won a hard-fought contest by two cards of 96-94 while one judge scored for Lamptey 97-93.

“I enjoyed that fight,” said Belmehdi. “I’m happy. It’s a big fight. He [Lamptey]’s a young fighter, he’s strong, his head [chin] is strong. The heart is big.”

Asked about the scorecard in Lamptey’s favour, Belmehdi said: “It’s a scandal!”

Belmehdi landed a good left hook as Lamptey tried to get off to a fast start. Lamptey’s timing was off in the early going and he occasionally looked ragged.

Lamptey’s coach, Colin Nathan, tried to get him stay calm in the corner but the second session was also fast-paced. Both had their moments. Lamptey was guilty of loading up, while Belmehdi was trying to counter and throw combinations.

Towards the end of the second, Belmehdi threw Lamptey to the canvas and afterwards fired off several clusters of shots as Lamptey appeared to slow.

Lamptey had some success through the third, scoring with right hands and left hooks.

Belmehdi smiled a few times, and when the France-based Moroccan stopped once to protest about being hit on the break, Lamptey followed in and Belmehdi kept complaining until the bell.

As referee David Irving went to separate them, Belmehdi attempted to headbutt the African.

There wasn’t much between them as the fight progressed. Belmehdi landed a couple of long right hands in the fourth but Lamptey still swarmed forwards and he looked stronger as he went on.

Near the end of the fifth, Lamptey was caught off balance by a left hook and Belmehdi followed in with Lamptey trying to cover up but shaken by the subsequent barrage.

As things got scrappy, with Lamptey trying to fire back and Belmehdi buoyed by his success, they both tumbled untidily to the canvas.

Lamptey worked well behind his jab in the sixth and he comfortably banked the session by doing the basics well.

“I want a strong round now, okay,” said Nathan in Lamptey’s corner.

Lamptey was in control early in the seventh. Although he gulped down a big right and a left hook, he didn’t blink, and the France-based Moroccan came back into it as the session continued.

Lamptey’s corner instructed him to set everything up off the jab, but he was happy to plant his feet and swing big shots when he felt like it and Belmehdi still had success with accurate shots, notably lining Lamptey up for a right hand with the Ghanaian on the ropes.

Belmehdi was fighting with confidence and swagger and there was still not much in it going into the final two sessions. Belmehdi landed the eye-catching shots in the ninth, and after Lamptey was hurt near the end of the round, Belmehdi pushed him down, Lamptey tackled him and they both fell to the floor once more.

Belmehdi landed some hard shots to open the 10th and final round. Lamptey was fighting with an air of desperation and fatigue, but he wasn’t short on courage. Twice the tiring Ghanaian fell to the canvas and he took several clean shots as Belmehdi bombed forwards, finishing the stronger of the two, with both swinging for the fences in the final exchanges.

Lamptey is now 13-1 (9 KOs) and Belmedhi improves to 20-1-3 (9 KOs), with his lone loss coming to Irishman Gary Cully in 2022.

Ugandan southpaw Isaac Zebra Junior is now 3-0 (3 KOs) after a rapid victory over Egyptian Ahmed Saad, 4-3 (1 KO).

It didn’t take long for Junior to illustrate his superiority and he caught Saad with a big overhand left that froze Saad. Junior followed in and although Saad touched down, he was quickly back up. However, his senses were scrambled and Saad was unable to continue. Time of the stoppage was 2:34.

At lightweight, Fahad Al Bloushi, of the UAE, is now 14-1 (3 KOs) after an entertaining eight-round win over Andres Garcia, Colombia, who is now 14-8-1 (8 KOs). Scores were 77-75 and 78-78 (twice).

Super flyweight Sultan Al Nuaimi, from the UAE, scored a fifth-round stoppage [1:46] of Venezuelan Eliu Canario. Nuaimi is now 11-0 (7 KOs) and Canario falls to 14-4 (11 KOs). A right hand sapped Canario’s energy and Al Nuaimi followed up with body shots causing Canrio to go down and out.

Iraqi super-middleweight Amer Ghaneem 3-0-1 looked shocked to be given only a majority draw after six rounds with Russian, Kharon Zapolsky 3-1-1. One judge thought Ghaneem had done enough, scoring 58-56, but he was overruled by his two colleagues who scored it 57-57.

Credit: Boxingscene

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