One of the problems we have with this site is being so focused on what happens with traditional boxing countries, such as Japan, South Korea, Thailand and the Philippines, and often missing what goes involving fighters from Central and Western Asia. The reality is that until recently Central Asia was very much a region that dominated amateur boxing, something we don't really focus much on, and that Western Asia has really lacked notable boxers in number. Despite that there are some fighters from both that have stood out, and Central Asia is certainly set to become a massive player in the professional ranks.
Today we get the chance to look an upset caused by an Iranian fighter in the UK, in what is a bit of a rarity, but something that is worthy of attention.
July 7th 2001
Velodrome, Manchester, Lancashire, England
Mehrdud Takaloo (16-2, 12) vs Anthony Farnell (26-0, 17)
British born Iranian Mehrdud Takaloo is one of the very, very few Iranian fighters who has left a mark on the sport of professional boxing. Saying that however he did that by essentially becoming a force on the British scene from 1997 to 2011, becoming a major player on the British Light Middleweight scene. Early on however that never seemed likely and he lost 2 of his first 7 bouts. By 1999 he was 5-2 (3) but rebuilt well with 11 wins, albeit mostly against limited opponents, before taking on the hugely popular Anthony Farnell.
In the summer of 2001 Anthony Farnell, known as the "Warrior", was one of a number of fighters from the North West of England creating a lot of buzz. There was Farnell, and there was also Jamie Moore, Michael Gomez, Michael Jennings and a little ginger haired fellow called Ricky Hatton. It was expected that British boxing in, and around, Manchester was set to be huge over the following decade and that it would become one of the hubs of the British boxing scene thanks to all the talent that was coming through at the same time.
Although not all that talented managed to reach the top they generated a lot of buzz and huge fans in the Manchester Velodrome.
With a 26-0 record Anthony Farnell was seen as being on the verge of a big fight. First however he was going up against Takaloo for the lightly regarded, and vacant, WBU Light Middleweight title.
Coming into the fight Farnell, fighting at home in Manchester, was the betting favourite, priced at 2/5 to win. Takaloo was a live under-dog at 7/4 as they entered the bout, but still a clear under-dog.
From the off Takaloo came out firing to the body, Farnell tried to cover up but the first 30 seconds or so saw Takaloo really ripping to the mid-section and landing them clean. Farnell managed to have some success with his jab but every time he had a moment Takaloo seemed to take the play away from him in a good opening 90 seconds.
The good start got even better for Takaloo when he managed to land a gorgeous right uppercut on Farnell's chin, dropping the previously unbeaten man. To his credit Farnell got to his feet, but Takaloo had no intention of letting his opening go, and unloaded on Farnell with huge head shots.
At the bout's end the fans booed. whilst Ian Darke, doing commentary for Sky Sports stated "Nobody thought that could happen" and "The Kent based Iranian has scored the most astonishing victory."
Whilst not the biggest upset ever the result, and the nature of the win, was a genuine shock.
Thinking Out East
With this site being pretty successful so far we've decided to open up about our own views and start what could be considered effectively an editorial style opinion column dubbed "Thinking Out East" (T.O.E).