Tonight on the Joshua-Usyk card in London, former super-middleweight champ Callum Smith scored a genuinely frightening knockout as he took out the experienced and durable Lenin Castillo in the second round.
Smith, now campaigning as a light-heavyweight and trained by Buddy McGirt, scored a crushing right hand to the head and down went 33-year-old Castillo.
His legs twitching in violent and disturbing fashion (Sky commentator Matthew Macklin said on air how he had never seen anything quite like it before, apart from on old tapes – Matt perhaps reminded, as this writer was, of the way Ingemar Johansson’s leg twitched after he had been KO’d by Floyd Patterson), it was obvious the man from the Dominican Republic was very badly hurt.
How hurt we must wait and see. Agonizing minutes passed before Castillo was finally stretchered from the ring. Watching in TV, it was unclear if Castillo regained consciousness or even moved a muscle.
We must all hope Castillo is okay and that he makes a full recovery in the hospital, where he has hopefully now arrived and is stable.
31-year-old Smith, who wants a light-heavyweight rematch with Canelo Alvarez, looked truly powerful tonight, taking out a man who had never before been stopped and who had been the distance with noted punchers Dmitry Bivol and Marcus Browne.
After a fairly quiet opening round, Smith suddenly lowered the boom on Castillo courtesy of that perfect right hand. Castillo fell instantly, his entire body frozen, save for that scary twitching.
As of the time of writing, Sky Sports commentators tell us Castillo IS conscious in hospital. We must all hope they are correct and that this brave fighter – as are all fighters who step into the ring brave – makes that full recovery.
Smith may well have scored a KO of the Year contender tonight. Let’s all hope Smith’s KO will not be remembered for something far more gruesome or tragic.
Tonight, we all got a graphic example of just how dangerous the sport of professional boxing really and truly is. Smith is now 28-1(20). Castillo falls to 21-4-1(16).