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The bizarre shenanigans of world title professional boxing appear to have stood firmly in the way of Dominica based Guyanese Clive Atwell when he challenged for the World Boxing Council featherweight title against the word champion Jhonny Gonzalez in Acapulco on Saturday 24th May.

Atwell's quest for a world title was abruptly halted in the 10th round on the premise of Gonzalez suffering a cut next to his left eye and awarded a decision with the points going 98-89, 96-92, 98-90 for the Mexican making the first defense of his title won via a first round knockout. A view of the fight video failed to show anything remotely resembling the atrociously one-sided report presented on electronic media by the Mexican home press and swallowed wholesale by Guyanese newspapers.

A remarkably composed Clive Atwell allowed me the following interview right after he got home on Tuesday night.

Congratulations Atwell. Despite your not getting the decision, what size of crowd saw you perform?

The Acapulco Convention Center holds about 7,000and was full to capacity, even some people couldn't get in.

Are you satisfied as to the amount of time you had to prepare for the fight?

No. I had only five weeks and I thought I could have done better with eight to twelve weeks. But it was an opportunity we couldn't pass up.

Did Gonzalez catch you with hard shots?

He does have a punch and he caught me two or three times but I was very well conditioned to take that in stride. My answer was to catch him solidly with an overhand right in the 5th round.

Gonzalez displayed an awkward style of defence.

Indeed he appears to have his hand in your face and his defense sometimes looks open when it is not.

Any particular advice given by your corner?

I was advised to watch out for his left hand which delivers a potent hook and to keep him off balance with my jab.

Did you attempt to go sufficiently to Gonzalez's body?

Yes, from the middle rounds and my body shots took good effect.

The press report was extremely one-sided. How did it really go in the ring?

I thought I took the first round rather handily and one or two rounds were somewhat even. Then from around the fifth round I felt everything had turned in my favour and my opponent was very concerned with the trend of the exchanges. The judges must have seen an entirely different fight.

From the professional angle when did you feel you had fully assessed your man?

I had to be cautious. These guys are pros. However, by the 3rd round I had his style fully solved and it would only be a matter of time before he would be duly exposed.

How was the bout actually stopped?

A cut developed near to his left eye and the regulation required a point to be deducted from me as the one who didn't suffer damage. The referee was signalling for the bout to continue, only to hear the Mexican corner reacting. The referee then promptly halted the action.

What was the crowd response?

Oh boy! They booed Gonzalez as he quickly left the scene and they pelted him with stuff. They thought I had won.

Hard Luck! How do you propose to further develop your career as a pro?

I am satisfied I acquitted myself well. What I want is to find myself in a constant programme of preparation with training at the A level.

Any prospect for another title fight?

Jhonny Gonzalez's handlers have not found it fit to allow me a return bout and seem to be looking for easier matches. I am ranked No 12 in the world and could go up higher on strength of my performance. The next bet is to tackle the Commonwealth title held by an Englishman named Selby.

On the whole what sort of a deal did you get?

All I can say it was not good. We took it in order to get a foot inside the World Championship door. We hope for much better in the future. I return next week to Guyana for public relations work to correct the bad publicity given by Mexican journalists on the electronic press.

The best of luck to you Clive Atwell. Greetings to your dear wife and your new born son. It would have been nice to have you as the world champion.


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