By Marco Bratusch
In a considerable upset according to the British bookmakers and most boxing insiders, 30-year-old mandatory challenger Mohamed Mimoune, from Toulouse, France, outboxed former European welterweight titlist Sam Eggington to a split decision victory at Manchester Arena, England. The fight was scheduled as the chief support for the Anthony Crolla vs. Ricky Burns lightweight contest to fill a Matchroom Boxing promoted night, broadcast live on Sky UK.
That was the first defense of the title for Eggington, who won it last May with a late stoppage over Spaniard Ceferino Rodriguez.
The shorter Mimoune (19-2, 2 KOs) started strong since the beginning, boxing brilliantly with his superior hand speed and footwork. Being a southpaw, his lead hand, the right, was used as a looping punch while at the same time he pivoted on his lead foot slipping to his right side to leave Eggington (21-4, 13 KOs) out of balance.
The 23-year-old British stepped up the pressure, as it is in his typical boxing style, in the middle rounds making it a close fight but struggled to land clear on Mimoune continuously, mainly trying to use his physical strength to slug his opponent out with little result. A bit one-dimensional and without pace changes in respect to other angrier performances showed by him, Eggington was basically beaten to the punch and got the right cheekbone bruised after few rounds.
Mimuone, promoted by Malamine Koné, spent some time during last summer working out with the French national team before moving to Cuba alongside with his trainer Mehdi Oumiha for a three-week training stage with the local national team. It looked the choice paid back well in order to sharpen his skills for tonight.
Going into the final part of the contest, the challenger persisted to his smart movement and timing, providing different angles to his punches and remaining relaxed with his guard high, at times adding a decent bodywork on the slender hips of the champion. The sense of urgency appeared clear in Eggington’s corner before the last round, however, the local puncher could not land anything big to turn the fight in his favor in the final three minute of the bout.
After twelve rounds judges saw the contest 116-112 for Eggington, followed by 116-112 and 115-113 for Mimoune.