This past weekend just gone saw an entertaining overall card at London’s 02 Arena it must be said. Here’s a round up of all the action in the UK.
Essex’s John Wayne Hibbert (17-4, 11 KOs) lined up against Italian Andrea Scarpa (20-2, 10 Kos) and Hibbert started well, going to work early in the first with neat combination punches.
However it wasn’t long for the Italian waiter to start to expose Hibbert’s lack of defence with a dangerous left hook in the second round, opening up a deep cut over Hibbert’s right eye.
Scarpa continued to build on this success soaking up John Wayne’s busy work and tagging him in between flurrys, as the cut got worst over Hibbert’s face.
Hibbert went over early in the fifth round as the writing appeared to be on the wall for the Essex boxer.
To Hibbert’s credit he kept coming forward and attempted to break Scarpa down before the doctor stopped the fight correctly in the sixth round. Hibbert now needs to evaluate his career as his cuts heal to see what the next step is.
Dillian Whyte (17-1, 14 KOs) looked to impress in a comeback match from his seventh round knock-out defeat by Anthony Joshua.
To add to the unwanted set back Whyte also underwent shoulder surgery which can be devastating to a fighter’s career.
Whyte weighed in three stones heavier then his opponent, Croatian Ivca Bacarin (25-10-1, 15 KO) and the size difference was apparent from the off, with Whyte digging in heavy shots to the body and head.
It wasn’t long before Whyte was landing meaningful shots and began slowing down the awkward Bacarin.
Whyte who showed signs of frustration throughout the fight, eventually finished his opponent off in the 6th with a big right hand which robbed Bacarin of his will to continue.
Whyte will be glad to see the back of the awkward Croation ahead of a busy 2016.
Conor Benn (3-0, 2 KO) made light work of equally inexperienced Lukas Radic (3-7-1, 3 KOs) with a confident display and a first round stoppage, coming out shadow boxing to the ‘Fugees’, Benn exuded confidence and was enjoying the professional limelight.
Benn slipped a straight left well early on, countering with a right hand and landing a left on the way down, as Radic went down hard with the ring doctor and the oxygen making an immediate appearance.
Thankfully Radic was on his feet and smiling after a few minutes with Benn showing class by delaying his celebrations until the Czech Republic man was on his feet.
Michael Buffer introduced Tom Doran (17-1, 7 KOs) and Chris Eubank Jr (23-1, 18 Kos) in the eagerly anticipated British middleweight title clash.
Brighton’s Eubank Jr arrived to a frosty reception from the O2 crowd with his father ‘Senior’ in tow, it was hard to identify who the negativity was aimed towards.
Welshman Doran having prepared for this clash sparring with Martin Murray took this challenge clearly very seriously.
A steely determination from Eubank led to sharp jabs and the trademark uppercut landing in the first round appearing to cause Doran’s legs to dip.
Doran responded well though, finishing the first round strong.
A sustained attack from Eubank Jr in the third caused an eight count with Doran looking shop worn and Eubank Jr taking charge of the pace.
Initially Doran looked to recover well early in the fourth but Eubank Jr’s precise sharp shooting and powerful body shots caused the referee to stop the bout after a number of knock-downs, despite Doran’s courage.
Eubank Jr looks ready for the next step and although Golovkin is a world away from Doran, this statement will put him firmly in the frame for a world title shot with Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn stating the bout with Golovkin could be announced in the upcoming week.
A win or bust match up between George Groves (24-3, 18 Kos) and Martin Murray (33-4-1, 16 KOs) was a cracking affair.
The fight ignited in the fourth round with a clash of heads seeming to wake up the pair.
Groves rattled the St. Helens man in the seventh round with an excellent right hand just before the bell. The eighth round continued where the seventh left off, with Groves penetrating Murray’s defence at will hurting the 33 year old on multiple occasions.
Despite conversations between rounds with the corner looking to pull Murray out the St. Helens man rocked Groves to his boots on two occasions in a last gasp effort to stop Groves in the tenth round.
Groves continued to control the distance and score meaningful shots however, eventually securing a well deserved points win.
Interestingly George may have secured a title fight with the recent news Felix Sturm has allegedly failed a drugs test, as this may lead to Fedor Chuminov being handed the title with Groves being a mandatory challenge to the WBA crown.
In the main event of the evening IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (17-0, 17 KOs) wore white in tribute to the great Muhammed Ali for his first defence of his title against Dominic Breazeale (17-1, 15 KOs).
Breazeale arrived in confident fashion draped in American colours. For what he lacked in head and lateral movement he made up for with toughness, taking shots well until a strong shot rocked Brezeale back in the second round.
With a partially closed right eye due to damage, the American went toe to toe with Joshua in the third.
The Watford man’s class really started to shine through in the middle rounds though, scoring at will and finally breaking down Brezeale’s resistance in the seventh round with referee Howard Foster waving it off after the second knock-down early in the round.
The win marked another stand out performance by Joshua who really is currently leading the way in heavyweight boxing.
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