Christian Mbilli destroyed Demond Nicholson in four and now sets sights on Canelo
BBN's Canadian reporter Dave Darling reporting from ringside
There were a few empty seats still available, but you would never know it from the sound of the crowd. Close to a thousand rowdy fans in the Casino-Lac-Leamy made a lot of noise on Friday night, September 8th, while soaking up the action from a highly entertaining card featuring a balanced selection of world-class fighters, promising young prospects and local-heroes.
The promoter Eye of the Tiger Management (EOTTM) has been making some serious waves in the Quebec boxing scene in recent years and is becoming world renowned for both acquiring and developing young talent.
Mbilli vs Nicholson
10×3 WBC Continental Americas super-middleweight title
Many were anticipating a more competitive contest, but this one was really over before it started. As Mbilli, now ranked in the top 5 by all major governing bodies, pounded his way to a relatively easy KO in the 4th round.
Aggressively stalking his over-matched opponent from the opening bell and throwing hard punches in bunches the local boy simply overwhelmed Nicholson and never really allowed the challenger to get anything going.
Most impressive was Mbilli's ability to integrate head and body shots in well executed combinations and really break-down his opponent along the ropes. To Nicholson's credit he stood in there and did what little he could, but it was clear from the outset that these were two athletes on different levels and moving in opposite directions.
Mbilli, now ranked #1 by the WBC, could be in line for a mandatory against current title holder David Benavidez unless the champ decides to move on to more lucrative match-ups elsewhere.
As for Nicholson, he will probably slip into the role of a "gate-keeper" for young prospects and round out the rest of his career on the road.
At this point Mbilli feels that he's ready to take on the world and is looking for a title shot ASAP, "Give me Canelo, give me anyone, I just want to be champion".
While he is certainly closing in on the promised land, I feel that he still needs some polishing before sharing a ring with the best in the world.
ROUND-1: Knock-down from a body to head combination of hooks as Nicholson lay on the ropes
ROUND-2: Knock-down from a delayed counter-right as Nicholson missed over the top with a slow weak jab
ROUND-3: Nicholson managed to stay on his feet, but continued to take punishment along the ropes
ROUND-4: Nicholson is dropped and counted out by what appeared to be a grazing left-hook thrown from a slightly downward trajectory . . . similar to Golovkin vs Rubio, but not as solid or as pretty.
MBILLI (SKILLS ASSESSMENT)
A "crowd-pleasing" naturally aggressive style (pressure fighter)
Good amateur pedigree
Great shape (clean liver / good work ethic)
Good power and power endurance
Wide selection of punches in his arsenal
Effective combinations including the ability to target both body and head in fluid sequence
Decent balance considering the way he fully commits to his punches
Varies power and hand-speed (distractions and range-finders followed by hard punches)
Quite proficient at cutting off the ring
Too wild at times (loading up / telegraphing) and this deficiency will present opportunities for threaded counter-shots between his punches
Not naturally defensive in his mindset and must improve his elusiveness as he moves up the ladder. In fact, his overall defence and head movement looks almost amateurish at times as if it's just an afterthought. This is very common among young, aggressive, hard hitting fighters who have such belief in their own power that they aren't much concerned about what's coming back (like stablemate David Lemieux). Now, Mbilli's gotten away with it so far, but he will definitely have to improve this part of his game moving forward assuming he wants to finish every fight on his feet.
MBILLI (FAST FACTS)
Born in Cameroon
Grew up and competed as an amateur in France
Went to the third round at the 2016 Summer Olympics
Emigrated to Montreal and turned pro in 2017
CLAGGETT vs VALADEZ
Highly aggressive and always ready for a "good scrap" Claggett fought an entertaining 10 round battle that took place mostly in the center of the ring.
From the outset his opponent tried to box at range, but the Canadian continually closed the distance pulling Valadez into the "phone-booth" and stinging him with effective combinations.
Always tough the Mexican gave it his all, but always seemed to be a half step behind in most of the exchanges and just couldn't hang with his superior opponent.
On route to a relatively easy 10 round unanimous decision win Claggett dropped his man on a number of occasions, but just couldn't manage get him out of there.
After the fight, Steve reaffirmed his love for the sport and feels that his best performances are still ahead of him
Only 24 years of age and also hailing from France this young man carries a celebrated amateur background in the "sweet-science" and has decided to add his name to the growing list of African fighters who have relocated to Montreal to pursue careers in professional boxing.
A slick "southpaw" with good natural defence Moreno already possesses a wide range of punches and pretty fast, fluid hands. Very relaxed and confident in the ring he's one of those top level amateurs who already looks like a pro. His timing, his rhythm, the way he moves, feints and slips punches, it all looks very professional and well beyond his years. The only obvious downside is that he's not a really "big puncher", but then again neither was Pernell Whitaker.
Now, to be fair, this was only his first pro-fight and he still has a long way to go and many questions to answer, but he certainly is in good hands. Marc Ramsey and his team at EOTTM have a well deserved reputation for finding high-powered prospects, maximizing potential and getting the most out of their athletes, So while past performance doesn't guarantee future success it's a pretty good indicator and I (for one) am very eager to see how this latest chapter unfolds.
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