2014 Round of the Year

Nominated:
Francisco Rodriguez, Jr. vs Katsunari Takayama — Round 12
Travis Dickinson vs Matty Clarkson — Round 5
Tommy Coyle vs Daniel Brizuela — Round 11
Juanma Lopez vs Francisco Vargas — Round 3
Jose Lopez vs Roberto Castaneda — Round 1

Winner: Travis Dickinson vs Matty Clarkson — Round 5

During every “Rocky” movie there is a moment, a punch, a piece of music that signals the tables have turned in our hero’s quest to overcome seemingly impossible odds.

Matty Clarkson had that kind of moment in his unforgettable fight against Travis Dickinson in May of last year. And the round in which that happened, the three minutes of drama that was Clarkson vs Dickinson, Round 5, is The Fight City’s Round of the Year for 2014.

After four rounds of this English light-heavyweight title contest and semi-final of the Maxi Nutrition Knockout boxing competition, Clarkson had already been down twice to Dickinson’s one. The latter was the heavier handed, and after being hit to the body earlier, it was body shots from Clarkson that would almost give him his big screen moment at Leeds Town Hall.

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Clarkson and Dickinson weigh-in.

As the bell signaled round five it was all to play for. What follows are my (polished) notes from a quite staggering 180 seconds of boxing.

R5: Clarkson going to the body in first 20 seconds. Dickinson in pain, grimaces. Couple of lefts on the inside from Clarkson then thudding rights, and a combo of body shots puts Dickinson to the floor. The first knockdown of the fight where it doesn’t look like the fighter will make it back to his feet.

Dickinson rises. A Clarkson right then left to the body, Dickinson tightening up. Screams in the crowd. Toe-to-toe they go, Dickinson firing back, Clarkson unrelenting to the body. Dickinson finding it hard to straighten his body up.

Clarkson comes in low and eats a right to the face. Dickinson follows up with another right hand, Clarkson looking spent. In the crowd, Tyson Fury on his feet in a sleeveless Kronk t-shirt. Another left to the body from Clarkson and Dickinson is down again. He’s back up. Dickinson grimacing like Ivan Drago. He’s on the ropes looking to throw the short uppercut as Clarkson loads up to the body.

Another left hand from Clarkson, face badly swollen, sends a crumpled Dickinson to the floor. Sinks to his knees, gets up at seven amazingly. Just under a minute to go. Again body shots from Clarkson who then eats some to the face. He stops and turns round as referee looks at Dickinson, but the ref never intervened! Out on their feet, Dickinson lands three chopping right hands, Clarkson staggers.

Final seconds and Dickinson looks like he’s taking over again but Clarkson comes back with more body shots. Bell ends, both men exhausted, everyone on their feet. Dickinson looked like he was in pain for nearly the entire duration of the round.

The fight was finally waved off in the sixth round due to the facial damage sustained by Clarkson. A “Rocky” injury, a “Rocky” moment, but sadly no “Rocky” ending. But it’s boxing, not Hollywood.

— Shaun Brown

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