Classy Russell too good for Moncriffe
Twenty-six-year-old Kemahl Russell represented the young brigade well and earned himself a spot in the finals of the Wray and Nephew 2015 Middleweight Contender series by scoring an impressive victory on Wednesday night over 38-year-old Devon Moncriffe, the man who won the 2013 title.
The fight, which was the first semi-final, and over eight rounds, had a lot of action, and Russell outpunched and outsmarted his game rival to take a unanimous decision. Judge Eion Jardine voted 78-74 while judges Lindell Allen and Clifford Brown scored it 79-73 for Russell.
Moncriffe won only one of the eight rounds, and although he never stopped trying, he just could not cope with Russell's speed and punching power. He was outclassed by a boxer whose skills improve with every fight, and the standing-room-only crowd at the Chinese Benevolent Association auditorium had themselves a wonderful time. They cheered wildly as the action unfolded, and there was the constant buzz of excitement in the auditorium during and after the fight
Russell oozed confidence as he came out for the first round and quickly established that his jabs would be the foundation on which he was going to build his attacks. He is 5' 11" tall and Moncriffe is 5' 6", so Russell exploited the height and reach advantage immediately the fight started. His jabbing was accurate, and it seemed at the outset that he wanted to deliver a clinic on how to throw jabs and hooks to the head and body of an opponent.
He was accurate and decisive, although Moncriffe was an easy target, as he bored in with his head low, throwing jabs and hooks, many of which Russell avoided. He not only won the first round easily, but set a pattern for the fight and never deviated from it. Moncriffe did not help his cause either as his approach to the fight did not show any variety, and Russell was, therefore, able to score freely.
After conceding rounds one and two, Moncriffe changed tactics. He moved from side to side more frequently then came in close and ripped hooks to the body and head. He then ended the round with a flurry of punches and went back to his corner looking full of confidence.
Both men paid tribute to each other after the fight, and Russell admitted that although he had won most of the rounds, Moncriffe was a tough opponent.
"Although I won, it was not easy. Moncriffe is a very tough opponent and I had to really work hard for the victory," he told The Gleaner.
Moncriffe conceded that Russell was the better man on the night but vowed to "come back again and win some more fights".
In the two amateur bouts on the card, Janathan Hanson from Tiger gym scored a points victory over Daine Smikle, a boxer visiting from the USA, while Donald Patrick from the Jamaica Defence Force scored a majority decision over Fabian Tucker from Sugar Olympic gym.