Stephen Smith in cruise control as he beats the drive out of Jose Luis Graterol

1 Jun

Alan Dawson – London

Having lost a high-profile British and Commonwealth featherweight title fight against Lee Selby last year, Stephen Smith began 2012 with two big first round knockouts but, against distance boxer Jose Luis Graterol at York Hall in Bethnal Green in East London on Friday, June 1, Swifty was forced to fight the full eight rounds. Smith was always in control of the contest, even switching stances, as he shut out the South American with ease.

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Dawson’s scorecard

Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Graterol
9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9

Smith
10 10 10
10 10 10 10 10

Official verdict: Smith wins referee’s decision (80-72).

“I know a lot of people say if they don’t get the knockout they are happy with the rounds but I blew the last two guys out,” Smith (15-1-0, 8ko) commented to Box Nation after his triumph. “If I keep winning and performing I can’t do much more than that.”

Smith’s enthusiasm for a fight was perhaps blighted by slight in-ring misdemeanours as the referee twice warned the Liverpudlian for foul play. The first was for a left mitt that was slung suspiciously low, leaving Graterol watery-eyed and requiring added time to recover, while the second was for punching after the break. From then on, though, Smith bossed the round with a bombardment of rights and lefts, forcing Graterol to peddle backwards in order to escape the abuse.

In round two, Smith was cuter. He’d check Graterol’s chin with tidy uppercuts, score well with jabs from range and, when the gap had been closed, he maintained authority with superior inside skills, working the body – particularly the ribs. A known survivalist evidenced by his 12 round distance fight with Jeremy Parodi for the IBF International super bantamweight title and his unsuccessful eight rounder with Joe Murray last year, Graterol showed signs of some fight – he scored with left hands but largely reactive ones rather than proactive – but it was never enough to even command a share of the spoils, even in round three.

Round four showed good pressure from Smith, maintaining his ascendancy and even opening up a cut along the hairline of Graterol which required extensive work by his cutman when he returned to the red corner. Graterol proved hard to land cleanly upon in round five, but when Smith closed the gap, he was more ferocious and let his fists go more often.

A combination of the body-punching and the sheer heat inside the Bethnal Green hall had sapped Graterol of his energy reserves and his desire to box had come to a near standstill in round six.

In the contest’s final quarter, Smith’s tempo did not falter. The 26-year-old swarmed Graterol on the ropes throughout round seven and, in round eight, the Venezuelan appeared to suffer from cramp as he was unable to plan his feet without grimacing in the eighth and final chapter.

By trumping Graterol, Smith’s comeback trail continued and could see him pitted against the only man to defeat him, however, he added in his post-fight remarks: “I’m fed up with Lee Selby, I’m confident we’ll meet again. I want him to win the European title if he gets that fight as it will make our fight even bigger. I’ll do featherweight. I’m a featherweight. If opportunities come, I’ll move up.”

His trainer Joe Gallagher said: “It was a good performance from Stephen. He hurt him numerous times and heard him wincing in there but [Graterol] has only been stopped four times and all by world champions. One thing we know about Stephen Smith is that his power has come on and it was a good workmanlike performance.”

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One Response to “Stephen Smith in cruise control as he beats the drive out of Jose Luis Graterol”

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  1. News: Jan – June « On The Beak - November 18, 2012

    […] Stephen Smith in cruise control as he beats the drive out of Jose Luis Graterol […]

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