Lee ‘Playboy,’ Haskins (33-3 14 KOs) left hearts broken in Tijuana this weekend as he retained his IBF world bantamweight title against Mexican Ivan Morales (29-2, 17 KOs) at the Ice Arena in Cardiff.
The Bristol boxer boxed supremely throughout the contest, proving much too awkward for the younger brother of four division world champion Erik Morales. Haskins won a unanimous points decision with one judge scoring it 118-110 and the other two scoring it 119-108 respectively.
Haskins won the world title on the scales last November when the American Randy Caballero was stripped of the IBF title for failing to make weight.
This was Haskins first defence and it seems to be onwards and upwards from here on. There is potential for Haskins to defend his title against domestic rival and former IBF champion, Stuart Hall. Haskins has already beaten Hall in a clash for the European bantamweight title in 2012 but it would still be considered a competitive match up.
There is also the potential that Haskins could face another domestic rival in WBA champion, Jamie McDonnell. Haskins holds an eight round points win over McDonnell from 2008, but the WBA champion has steadily improved since that setback, having beaten a number of quality bantamweights including; Tomoki Kameda (twice), Stuart Hall, and two of Haskins previous conquerors Ian Napa and Stephane Jamoye. All in all this makes for an intriguing showdown should the fight ever happen.
On the undercard, Andrew Selby (5-0, 3KOs) produced a comprehensive performance to win the vacant British flyweight title with a unanimous points victory over Louis Norman (11-2-1, 2KOs).
Cardiff’s Craig Kennedy (15-0, 8 KOs) had to get off the canvas twice to win a hard earned split decision in his clash with Joel Tambwe Djeko (9-2-1 4 KOs) for the vacant IBF International cruiserweight title. Kennedy was down in the second and sixth rounds but emerged victorious in a fight that perhaps warrants a rematch.
Belfast’s Paddy Gallagher (10-2, 6KOs) recorded an impressive first round knockout of the previously undefeated Tony Dixon (7-1, 2 KOs) to claim the vacant Celtic welterweight title.
Edinburgh’s Josh Taylor (5-0, 5 KOs) also notched up a first round knockout victory over Miguel Gonzalez (13-11, 11 KOs). Gonzalez has fought mostly as a featherweight, taking Jono Carroll ten rounds in November and suffering a fourth round stoppage at the hands of Kiko Martinez last December. However considering he was a last minute choice of opponent Taylor got the job done and will move on to the next opponent in the super-lightweight division.
Middleweight Conrad Cummings (9-0-1, 4 KOs) continued his winning ways with a last round stoppage of his opponent Frankie Borg (9-6, 3 KOs) in their fight scheduled for six rounds. The Co. Tyrone fighter is beginning to demonstrate just why he is nicknamed, “Mr Dynamite,” whilst gaining valuable rounds in the process. Most likely his next appearance will be on the undercard of Carl Frampton’s proposed clash with Leo Santa Cruz in New York on July 30th.