Linus Udofia Dominates ‘Asthmatic’ Harding
After ten rounds of lopsided action, Linus Udofia (16-0, 8 KO’s) claimed a late ninth round technical knockout victory over John “The Pest” Harding Jr (8-2-1, 2 KO’s). With the win, the up and coming Nigerian middleweight will look to continue rising up the rankings.
The contest opened up respectfully enough with both looking to establish their jabs. For the better part of it, Harding’s swift, spear-like jab was winning that battle. Yet, his success quickly dried up like water in the Sahara sun with the coming of the second. Having felt him out, Udofia’s activity increased greatly.
The Nigerian was able to land far more jabs and began planting a number of effective, digging hooks to the body. To make matters much worse, by the third round the Pest was sucking in air like he just crossed the finish line of the London Marathon. From time to time, Harding was able launch short bursts of hooks, mainly to the head, although they generally had no notable effect.
By the seventh round, Harding was doing far more holding than he was punching. In fact, it was somewhat odd that referee Michael Alexander had yet to give him one warning for the glaringly egregious behavior. The Pest enjoyed his best round since the first period in the eighth. The London born fighter was able to fight at range for longer stretches of time and connect with some solid jabs and meaningful combinations. Sadly, it was nowhere near enough to claim the round.
He briefly transferred his success into the ninth but was chopped down to the canvas with a crunching counter-right hook. Despite beating the count, referee Alexander waived the fight off. There will be those who believe it was a premature stoppage. The knock down was not overly devastating and Harding was on his feet by eight and ready go. Sure he was losing by a mile, but he did not appear to be unable to continue. Also, he did not look any worse then than he had at any point in the previous three rounds.
Despite the questionable stoppage, it was very solid performance for the Nigerian middleweight Linus Udofia.
By: Bakari Simpson