BORG BEATS HOPE IN UPSET

Welsh middleweight champion Frankie Borg (9-2, 3KO) successfully defended his title with a shock decision win over Kerry Hope in his hometown (20-7, 1KO) tonight. To the disapproval of many who thought Hope did enough to win, referee Clarke Joslyn scored the contest 97-95 in favour of Borg who claimed his best career win. Hope is left without many options at title level and memories of his European title win, which was two years ago this week, now seem distant. Live on Eurosport, the Sanigar Events show was named ‘Welsh Pride’ and both boxers can be proud of their efforts but there was a small sense of injustice amongst the observers at the Merthyr Leisure Centre. Hope opted to stand with the champion in the opening three rounds but it was Borg who came off best. Both boxers landed flush hooks to the body but it was the variety in Borg’s shot selection that caught the eye. A cut over Hope’s right eye spurred Borg on in the third round as he scored with several hard short hooks and the champion couldn’t have got off to a better start. However, Hope came back in the fourth and settled behind his straight shots to establish a rhythm that would last the rest of the fight. The Merthyr man’s jabs and straight lefts from his southpaw stance bloodied the nose of Borg who was attempting to walk Hope down. The most testing moment of the contest for Borg came in the sixth round when a Hope right hook which landed on the ear staggered Borg and appeared to buzz him. For the first time, Hope had made Borg hesitant and it allowed him to get on the front foot. Although guilty of loading up for the rest of the round and throwing too many singles, it was Hope’s most successful round yet. From there in, the fight had slowed from it’s previous relentless pace and it suited Hope who circled the ring and stepped in to counter when Borg overreached. Hope appeared to have a spring in his step and the only breaks in his momentum were when Borg clipped him for exiting exchanges with his hands low. Entering the final round, Hope needed to rubber stamp his victory and he did as he seemed the fresher of the two and for the first time, Borg’s compact stance had become loose. However, it wasn’t enough for Hope and Borg retained his title.

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