Larone Whyte, a Team Canada professional boxing rookie in only his third pro fight, surprised journeyman boxer Devon “Concrete” Moncriffe, with a split decision win to propel his team into a 4-3 lead at the penultimate stage of the eight-fight first round of the Wray and Nephew White Overproof Rum Contender boxing series at Chinese Benevolent Association auditorium Wednesday night.The decision came as a surprise to some after ring announcer Oliver Hardie delivered the verdict in favour of the Canadian. This was after judges Ransford Burton and Jeremy Hayes both scored the bout 48-47 in the winner’s favour, while Keith Brown scored it 49-46 in favour of the vanquished Jamaican.
The fight was close, with some boxing aficionados expressing the view that Moncriffe had done enough to move on to the second stage of the “Best of the Best” Contender quarter-final stage.
Be that as it may, Moncriffe was responsible for his below par showing against the Canadian, who is of Jamaica parentage.
Moncriffe opened in the first round like a thatched house on fire on a windswept plain. But by the latter stages of the third round, 15 months of competitive inactivity causing ring rust began to show on the 40-year-old former Contender winner.
Whyte was also without a fight for 12 months, but at 27, youth was in his favour and he was able sustain while Moncriffe faded.
The fifth and final round was pivotal for both boxers. Moncriffe did very little to help his cause, however, his younger opponent stayed the course, picking his spots to earn the narrow win.
“I am not surprised winning against Moncriffe. I came here prepared for a hard fight. I came prepared to go five rounds, something which I had never done before. So I had to pace myself through rounds and eventually came out on top with a victory. For me, that is a great moral victory”, Larone Whyte said in his post-fight comments.
Next Wednesday, in the final preliminary match, the unseeded Team Jamaica boxer Ramel Lewis, who last fought in last year’s Contender series, will meet Team Canada’s number three seed, John Ryan Wagner.