Super bantamweights Dennis McCann (14-0-1, 8 KOs) and Ionut Baluta (16-4-1, 3 KOs) fought to a technical draw after their bout was stopped early in the ninth round due to an accidental clash of heads. The bout headlined a card at York Hall in London, England. TNT Sports were the broadcasters of the Queensberry Promotions event.
For McCann, the fight was meant to serve as a step-up in opposition. Baluta, who has a gained a reputation for defeating a number of English and Irish fighters, was upset minded as usual. Despite swinging and missing a several shots and slipping to the canvas a number of times, he gave McCann plenty of trouble throughout the fight. McCann attempted to stay at range and had some success with counters. In the end, the decision resulted in calls for a rematch.
In the opening round, McCann appeared to have found his range and was making Baluta miss. As a result, McCann was able to counter with the more cleaner punches throughout round one. However, Baluta’s swinging shots meant that he was always a threat, something that became very clear in the second as he landed a couple of hard, eye-catching punches. Although his swinging shots meant he missed the target and slipped to the canvas a number of times, Baluta landed enough to edge some of the earlier rounds. McCann’s best rounds were those in which he stayed at range and countered.
In the seventh, a cut to the forehead of McCann resulted in a lot of blood to pour out. Referee Marcus McDonnell momentarily stopped the bout to assess the damage before allowing the fight to continue. The cut was the result of an accidental clash of heads. Baluta attempted to capitalize on this and started to land with even more frequency. He continued to have success in the eighth and was appearing to pull away on the scorecards as a result. Baluta kept on landing clean going into the ninth before the fight was halted.
Since the cut to McCann’s forehead was due to an accidental clash of heads, the fight went to the scorecards. One judge had it 86-85 for McCann while the other two scored it 86-86, resulting in a technical draw.
Post fight interviews
“To be honest with you, I thought it was a bit of a flat performance,” said McCann in a post-fight interview. “I was hitting him with a lot of jabs. I thought I was catching him an awful lot as well, I know he was coming forward, but it is boxing…It was a good fight, I thought I won it by a round.”
“Great fight tonight,” said Baluta when he was interviewed. “Very good fight for the fans. All is good, but tonight I was coming out victorious. The referee told him to put his head down so that it [the fight] could be stopped. That is not how it is done in boxing. Tonight, they have shown that I am the best. The trainer [Al Smith] said to lower your head so that the referee would stop it and it would go to the scorecards. This is not how it’s done in boxing. Tonight they have shown I am the best and if they give me the rematch with Dennis McCann, I am ready for them. I have demonstrated that I am the best super bantamweight in Queensberry Promotions.”
Both fighters have expressed a willingness to face each other again a rematch. Whether it takes place or not remains to be seen.