High Stakes reaction: Lesson learned for Jenkins

High Stakes reaction: Lesson learned for Jenkins

Saturday’s Majority Decision draw wasn’t the result Chris Jenkins, pictured with the retired and undefeated Greg Pickin, wanted but it’s one that may benefit his long term development.

When the light-welterweight entered the ring at the Manchester Arena for his British title fight against Tyrone Nurse (32-2-1, 6KO), Jenkins (16-0-1, 8KO) ended nine months of inactivity and had just one round under his belt in the previous 14 months. When it mattered in the ‘championship rounds’, it told.

Jenkins may have been unprepared and in hindsight, a warm up fight with rounds under his belt may have been more beneficial but, understandably, he will have been happy to just fight having endured every imaginable obstacle on route to his title shot.

Pre-fight odds were surprisingly wide and heavily favoured Jenkins, whilst bordering on showing disrespect to Nurse. However, it was the Welshman who has the right to feel disrespected in the post-fight aftermath following Howard Foster’s scorecard that awarded Jenkins just three of the 12 rounds. When every round is not competitive, it’s accepted that it can be difficult to score but a five point margin when two competitors have been neck-and-neck won’t sit well with many observers. Thankfully, there are two other judges to even it and like most ringside journalists, they thought it was very close.

The WBA have ordered an inquiry in to the scoring of Anthony Crolla’s world title challenge against Darleys Perez, which was also scored a draw on Matchroom Sport’s ‘High Stakes’ show. It would be reassuring if the British Boxing Board of Control [BBBoC] did the same but don’t hold your breath. However, it’s very likely that the BBBoC will order an immediate rematch and the pair will lock horns again when the new season starts.

Jenkins won’t enter a rematch as Wales’ first ever British 10st champion but he’ll own new advantages to help with history making. Prior to Saturday, Jenkins had never been beyond 10 rounds, meaning next time he should be able to pace himself moe effectively. Instead of the belt, Jenkins brought home a bruised shiner and eight stitches for his troubles.

Despite Nurse’s three inch height advantage, his head repeatedly came low as he ducked and dodged attacks and the cut came courtesy of a number of accidental head clashes. It’s not the first time Jenkins has been cut but it was the most severe injury. It was the left eyebrow that split and a partially sighted Jenkins was unable to spot the openings for his jab, an underrated component of his arsenal that was often absent in the second half of the fight, except for a brief spell in the eighth round.

Jenkins admits that he struggled to find sparring partners with Nurse’s slippery defensive style and he hopes to share gym-time with Barry Town’s IBF world featherweight champion Lee Selby to prepare next time. When Jenkins’ eye injury heals, they’re likely to rematch in October. Both boxers should enter with a better understanding of each other and with more confidence they have the answers.

Also on the show, Birmingham’s welterweight Sam Eggington (16-2, 9KO) dominated Glenn Foot (15-1, 6KO) to defend his Commonwealth strap and collect the British belt for his trophy cabinet. At just 21-years-old, the exceptionally self-styled ‘Savage’ is surely in line for the Boxing Writers’ Club’s Young Boxer of the Year award in September and he would be a worthy winner. Eggington showed a different set of skills on Saturday, impressively counter-punching on the front foot, mixing his distance at short and long range. The scary thing was when his trainer, Jon Pegg, promised that his charge still hasn’t shown half of what he practises in the gym.

One Welshman with hopes to derail the Eggington express is St Clears’ Dale Evans (10-2-2, 3KO). The pair met in 2013 and Evans took a Unanimous Decision in a Prizefighter tournament, handing Eggington his first defeat – the only other loss also coming in another edition of the three round format. Evans, 23, will hope for a straight shot by tempting Eggington with a chance of revenge, whilst he gains the opportunity he’s always wanted – a chance to win the historic Lord Lonsdale title.

Respectfully making it known that he’s available, rather than calling the new champion out, Evans has also been nominated by the BBBoC to fight an eliminator against former Commonwealth champion John O’Donnell. Matchroom Sport have previously promoted a number of shows that Evans has appeared on, they now handle Eggington’s interests and return to his hometown in October.

Dewi Powell
BoxingWales Editor

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