Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Corley, Gardener in big Contender showdown

Published:Wednesday | June 15, 2016 | 6:00 AMLeroy Brown
Gardener
Corley
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The fight that all Wray and Nephew Welterweight Contender 2016 boxing fans have been itching to see, the semi-final bout between veteran 41- year-old American boxer DeMarcus 'Chop Chop' Corley, and new kid on the block, 22-year-old Jamaican Michael 'The Wasp' Gardener, will take place over seven rounds at the Chinese Benevolent Association auditorium tonight. The action starts at 9:30 and the winner will meet Richard Holmes, who earned himself another spot in the finals after last week's semi-final.

Corley, who is the most experienced boxer in the competition, was recruited in the second week of competition, after things got off to a disappointing start the previous week with a fight that ended in 55 seconds. After looking at his record, many people felt that he was too good for this competition.

DANGEROUS FIGHTER

In his first fight, he outpointed Iwan Azore, and then in his second bout against Revlon Lake, he showed what a dangerous a fighter he is, by knocking out Lake in 55 seconds of the first round. Corley now has a record of 45 wins, 27 losses and one draw.

He has fought primarily as a super lightweight, and has gone up against renowned fighters such as multi-world champion Floyd Mayweather in a title fight eliminator in 2004, and Zab Judah in a World Boxing Organisation title fight in 2003. He lost to both men, but held his own. Mayweather won by unanimous decision and Judah by split decision, and these results show the calibre of fighter that he is.

Gardener made a hard-hitting professional debut in the Contender competition on April 26 this year when he scored a second-round knockout victory over JosÈ Guzman. In his second fight against Ramel Lewis, who was seeded at the No. 4 spot in the competition, he had another good night, and put Lewis down in the fourth round on his way to taking home a victory by unanimous decision.

These impressive performances have thrilled the Contender fans and they have, therefore, been looking forward to this clash. Gardener obviously believes in himself, and after Corley defeated Lake, he went into the ring and called him out. He told Corley that he was too old for boxing, and should make way for him, "the youth".

Corley took exception to this, and said afterwards, in a voice that was quiet, but full of emotion, "That young man just disrespected me and he is going to pay for this. I have been in this business nearly 30 years. I have been there and done that. I am going to hurt that kid." Those were fighting words, and he seemed to have meant them.

Gardener said afterwards that he was not perturbed by what Corley had said, and would take care of business on fight night.

"We are going to have a war," he declared, and his camp has said that they are confident that he will be able to take care of Corley.

The moment of truth has arrived, and tonight, their fists will do the talking. Boxing fans will see which boxer will be able to match his words with action, and it should be a thrill-packed affair. The general opinion is that this fight is one that will not go the distance.

Fasten your seat belts!