Danny Dignum kept hold of his WBO European Middleweight title, but was held to a split draw by the tough Russian, Andrey Sirotkin, over ten rounds.
The fight headed the latest MTK Global offering from Bolton Whites Hotel. It was a dangerous fight for Dignum (13-0-1, 7 KOs) to take, as Sirotkin (19-1-1, 7 KOs) looked dangerous before being stopped in a 2018 defeat to John Ryder. This was the second defence of the belt for the Brit after winning the vacant title in November 2019.
Sirotkin came out swinging from the opening bell, and he landed with some winging punches that caught Dignum in the first round.
The Russian was stalking and hunting Dignum down, but the champion landed the better shots in round two, keeping the visitor at distance.
Dignum was finding his rhythm, but a good third was blighted with a wild left and right hand combination landing for the challenger.
The fourth and fifth saw the 29-year-old on the front foot, forcing Sirotkin onto the back foot where his attacks were much less potent, and round six was more of the same, with the champion landing on the counter but occasionally having to fend off more wild attacks.
The 36-year-old came on strong in the eighth, as he landed multiple clean shots in an attempt to swing the fight his way with Dignum cut.
The onslaught continued into the ninth, as Sirotkin piled on the pressure with slashing punches, but Dignum bravely steadied the ship in the final round, with his left eye bloodied, and the fight went to the cards.
IT’S A DRAW 🤝
After 10 rounds of fantastic action, @dannydignum1 vs. Andrey Sirotkin ends in a split draw. (96-95, 94-96, 95-95)
— MTK Global Boxing (@MTKGlobal) April 17, 2021
A 96-94 tally for Sirotkin, and a 96-95 score for Dignum was followed by Terry O’Connor’s 95-95 verdict, meaning the pair couldn’t be separated.
Azeez defends English title
In the co-headliner, Dan Azeez retained his English Light Heavyweight title, and won a British title eliminator, with a hard-fought split decision victory over the game Ricky Summers.
Summers (17-3-1, 6 KOs) began brightly in the opening frame, but Azeez’s jab was causing the challenger all sorts of problems as he snapped the 33-year-old’s head back with accurate regularity.
Summers though was asking Azeez (13-0, 8 KOs) questions, but he was having to expend a lot of energy in doing so as the first four rounds were pretty even.
The 33-year-old was working well on the counter, and having the better of the exchanges, and that forced a rethink from the champion, who had a better sixth round as he came on strong.
It was good, honest, give and take stuff, and rounds were hard to score, with the pair difficult to separate.
By rounds seven and eight, Azeez had found a groove, and the Londoner was taking advantage of Summers’ output slowing as he began to tire. ‘Digger’ wasn’t finished though, and he seemingly hurt the 31-year-old with a right hand in the ninth, but he was unable to capitalise on it as both men faded.
The last round saw the fight potentially up for grabs, and Azeez finished the stronger, landing a power left hand and the two exchanged as the fight reached its conclusion.
A 97-95 score for Summers was overruled by scores of 96-94 and 97-93 as Azeez kept his belt.
Bateson remains undefeated
In what was his biggest test to date, Jack Bateson was given a stern examination in an entertaining eight round Super Bantamweight points win over Joe Ham.
It took a few rounds for Bateson (13-0, 3 KOs) to find his range and rhythm, as the Scot impressed early on, but from around the third onwards, Leeds’ Bateson began to time Ham with quick combinations as he moved in and out to good effect.
Ham (16-3, 6 KOs) came back into the argument in the later rounds, but Bateson’s constant switching and changing was banking him rounds, and a 78-75 verdict from referee Steve Gray reflected Bateson just holding the upper hand in the fight.
Light Heavyweight Lewis Edmondson moved to 5-0 (2 KOs) as he added faded former Commonwealth champion, Luke Blackledge (26-10-2, 9 KOs) to his ledger, with the 30-year-old retiring at the end of the third round with what looked like a shoulder injury.
Carl Fail impressed with the Northampton Super Welterweight scoring a second round knockout of Kristaps Zulgis.
A chopping left hand from Fail (2-0, 1 KO) had the Essex-based Latvian on the deck in the second, and towards the end of the frame, Fail connected with a short right hand that had Zulgis (5-17-3, 2 KOs) unable to beat the referee’s count.
Paul Ryan (1-0) was made to work hard on his professional debut, and the Dubliner won his Middleweight contest with Kyle Hughes (2-3) by a single point on referee Howard Foster’s scorecard at 39-38.
Belfast’s ‘Irish Drago’, Paul McCullagh (2-0, 1 KO) opened the show, and the 21-year-old Light Heavyweight took all four rounds against Wolverhampton’s Antony Woolery (2-4).