THERE was a real sense of a changing of the Scottish boxing guard at the SECC on Glasgow night, and not just because Ricky Burns lost his, and Scotland’s, only world title.
The defeat – more a dismantling, really – of Greenock’s John Simpson inside two rounds of his lightweight contest against John Murray should ensure that if we see the 30-year-old Simpson in the ring again, it will be at featherweight, as he simply does not have the power or strength to make it happen at lightweight.
Simpson has been stopped both times in his two contests at the 9st 9lbs division, and the way Manchester’s Murray demolished the Scot with three knockdowns from three body punches told the whole story – Simpson just can’t mix it above the super-featherweight limit of 9st 4lbs.
The man who took Simpson’s British featherweight title from him back in 2008 was also stopped at the SECC. Paul Appleby was downed by Scott Cardle, the adopted Scot from Lytham and St Annes, in the final round of a cracking eight-round contest at lightweight, and referee Kenny Pringle called it off as he thought Appleby was dazed.
It’s hard to see what will be next for Appleby, who always gives 100 per cent and is never in a dull contest. He’s only 26 and could come back at super-featherweight, but it’s much easier to see a brighter future for other Scots on the bill.
Michael Roberts, of Glasgow, beat the tricky Frenchman Romain Peker on points in their super-featherweight six rounder to move to 14 wins and no losses, while Ryan Collins is now a seven-bout undefeated pro after outpointing Polish-born Mariusz Bak in their four-round lightweight bout.
There was a second professional win for Lanarkshire bantamweight Scott Allan, who won all four rounds against journeyman Francis Croes, from Middlesbrough, while lightweight Ryan Smith, of Glasgow, made a winning professional debut, taking all four rounds against Ibrar Riyaz of Reading.
Olympians Anthony Joshua and Anthony Ogogo continued on their winning ways as professionals, heavyweight Joshua looking formidable as the London 2012 super-heavyweight gold medallist knocked out Hector Avila of Argentina in one round. Ogogo, by contrast, took time to get going but came through eventually to beat Greg O’Neill on points.
Joshua made all the right noises about the Glasgow fans afterwards and will be welcomed back any time, not least because he is a genuine talent on the rise.