On a night where the main event failed to deliver on the fireworks promised Cleverly v Bellew II was ably propped up by an undercard featuring some of Britain’s brightest talents. Both current and future world champions sharpened their tools ahead of bigger nights to come.
Anthony Joshua KO1 Michael Sprott (10 x 3 mins British Heavyweight title eliminator)
When Anthony Joshua arrived in the ring at 11pm he did so with menace sporting a Tyson like get-up of solid black and like the erstwhile baddest man on the planet, the 2012 Olympian wasn’t in the mood to hang around.
It took little over a minute for Joshua (now 10-0 10KO’s) to deliver a huge straight right sending stalwart Michael Sprott careering to the ropes, where he was disposed of under a barrage of varied punches all heavier than the last. The fight was stopped 1:26 into the first round and not a moment too soon.
It’s been a busy year for Anthony Joshua and he finished in the manner everyone expected. They will be looking for tests in 2015, that’s if they can find the fighters to take the job on, next up is ‘Negatron’ himself Kevin ‘Kingpin’ Johnson in January.
Joshua said. “Kevin Johnson is durable and he’s got a lot of experience and quite a lot of mouth, so it should be a fun one.”
James Degale KO3 Marco Antonio Periban (12 x 3 mins Super Middleweight contest)
James Degale made a statement producing an impressive 3rd round stoppage of the fleshy looking Mexican Marco Antonio Periban, who failed at two attempts to make the Super Middleweight limit on Friday.
Degale looked business like from the opening bell, showing little regard for what his opponent had to offer. Switch-hitting throughout the opening two round the Harlesden stylist had success with his leaping leads. They looked messy at times, but they landed at will and Periban didn’t seem to fancy taking many more. Degale put him out of his misery with a two huge left hooks 30 seconds into the 3rd, leaving the former world title challenger unable to continue.
The 2008 Olympian looks destined to fulfill his potential following a couple of lean years moving to (20-1 14KO’s) and will fight for the IBF title in his next outing, it’s just a matter of who. Eddie Hearn: “Carl Froch is up there for Sky Sports Box Office tonight and he’s got to make a decision. The Froch fight is a great fight, the Groves fight is a great fight, but James will fight for a World title in his next fight whomever there is.”
George Groves KO7 Denis Douglin (12 x 3 mins WBC Silver Super Middleweight title)
It was a difficult night for George Groves who showed signs of mental fatigue following what has been a difficult year. The Saint struggled to figure out Denis Douglin’s southpaw stance over the first 3 rounds, being caught regular on the way in, when perhaps trying to blast out the American under the gaze of bitter rivals Carl Froch and James Degale.
A cut on the bridge of the nose and a severe dressing down in the corner from Paddy Fitzpatrick roused Groves, who from the 4th round onwards went through the gears, drawing the leads and punishing Douglin who began to tire after a huge effort early. When the stoppage came it was dramatic and predictably courtesy of Groves’ vicious right hand, first with a hook to the body, straight over the top and finished with a hook that dumped Momma’s Boy on the seat of his pants. The American was up at 8, but overwhelmed shortly after forcing Victor Laughlin to step in 2:54 into round 7.
Groves now (21-2 16KO’s) didn’t impress, but he was on a hiding to nothing and figured the task out well. He moves onto a deserve world title tilt in the New Year and he has one opponent in mind. George Groves: “I want to take the quickest route to a World title and that’s the Dirrell fight. I want to be a World Champion and bring a World Title belt to Britain. I’ll be a World champion next year.”
Scott Quigg W12 Hidenori Otake (12 x 3 mins WBA World Super Bantamweight title)
They breed them tough in Japan and Scott Quigg found out just how tough in securing a clear unanimous decision victory over the granite Hidenori Othake 119-109 x 2 and 118-110. Quite how the Japanese fighter withstood the full repertoire of punching from Quigg is beyond me. What is clear is the rounds against a stubborn operator will do Quigg the world of good and something that he seemed to enjoy.
Quigg said: “I tell you what, I know his head is tough, I tried to pour on the gas at the end and landed some great combinations but he wasn’t going nowhere and fair play to him, but 12 rounds is never a bad thing to get under your belt.”
Scott Quigg was the boss throughout rocking his opponent regularly with straight right hands and crunching body shots that have disposed of lesser fighters in the past. He moves on to (30-0-2 22KO’s) and mouthwatering unification fights in the offing against Frampton, Santa Cruz and Rigondeaux who all got a mention post fight.
Callum Smith W12 Nikola Sjekloca (12 x 3 mins WBC Super Middleweight title official eliminator)
In what for me was the performance of the night Callum Smith outclassed the seasoned world level operator Nikola Sjekloca over 12 thoughtful rounds to fully justify his lofty WBC ranking.
Smith was razor sharp from the first bell, building everything behind that spearing jab which found a home on the Montenegrin’s forehead all night. The Liverpudlian went on to control affairs from there on in, landing frequently with solid straight right hands and sickening looking left hooks off the back foot when his opponent became ambitious. It was the fourth round, when Smith delivered a trademark left hook to the body that had Sjekloca in all sorts of trouble briefly before the closure of the round.
This was a serious step up in class for Smith and one that he passed with flying colours both physically and mentally on what has been a difficult week for the Smith family. The judges scored the fight 118-111, 118-110 and 120-108 for Callum Smith now (15-0 11KO’s) who finished a great year in style.
Jamie McDonnell KO10 Javier Nicolas Chacon (12 x 3 mins WBA World Bantamweight title)
Jamie McDonnell secured a 10th round stoppage of Javier Nicolas Chacon to retain his WBA World Bantamweight title in bizarre circumstances, with Chacon pulling himself out with what appeared to be a dislocated shoulder.
This turned into a difficult assignment for McDonnell who seemed to struggle with the squat style of the late Argentinian replacement, shipping some punches in the early rounds that had his team worried momentarily. As is with Jamie McDonnell he found a way and began to break down his tiring challenger as the action slowed.
McDonnell moves on to take on Tomoki Kameda in a unification bout in Las Vegas in 2015 and improves his record to (25-2-1 12KO’s)
Bradley Saunders PTS6 Ivans Levickis
Vincent Feigenbutz KO7 Olegs Fedotovs