Buatsi secures a stoppage victory and the UK welcomes another world champion
Matchroom Boxing put on a show at The Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes that had Joshua Buatsi on top of the card and another world champion from the UK was crowned.
Let’s get into the card and run down the results:
Linus Udofia (c) def. John Harding Jr – English middleweight title
This fight had a little extra spice from the get-go and having seen both men around the bubble this week and their interactions, it was clear we were in for some fireworks.
In the early exchanges, Harding Jr’s left jab was doing some great work and he kept finding a way through. Udofia eventually worked his way back into the bout and finished the first round strong and even caught Harding Jr flush bang on the bell.
Harding Jr was sticking to his jab, body and head, while Udofia was looking to unleash combinations where possible. The champion was looking to fight his way over Harding Jr’s high guard but that was no quick job.
In the third, Harding Jr unleashed a close flurry of hooks and uppercuts that Udofia impressively ate, but that work likely won the challenger the round. The fourth round was the definition of scrappy, but once again, Harding Jr finished strong with a beautiful jab-straight combination.
from the fifth round, Harding Jr’s manager Dillian Whyte started making his voice heard. Harding Jr was doing the far more meaningful work against the slick Udofia and as things got heated at the end of the round, the feel in the room was that suited The Pest Harding Jr.
The sixth round went by with Udofia upping his work rate considerably but still struggling to find the same kind of joy Harding Jr had enjoyed. The seventh round was very similar, but there was no doubt that this point that Udofia was dictating the tempo more and was the busier fighter.
The work continued into the ninth round where finally, the pressure paid off. Udofia got into an exchange with Harding Jr and a huge right hook sent The Pest down. Although Harding Jr was up at eight, the ref waved the contest off, much to the anger of the challenger.
John Hedges def. Jan Ardon
Gentleman John is an 18 year old sensation, but Matchroom didn’t give him a ‘gimme’ in his debut bout.
It was only a four rounder, but it was clear to see that Hedges was the smoother, slicker boxer throughout, but his opponent certainly carried a pop with his punches that made the Essex-born Hedges think twice.
While Hedges moved well and put together some aesthetically good combinations, Ardon hit with far, far more conviction.
All the judges scored the contest 39-37 to Hedges, but in truth, a draw was the fair result. Hedges might have even shaded it, but he was not two rounds clear by any stretch of the imagination.
Aqib Fiaz def. Kane Baker
This was a grudge match following the Fight Camp debacle six weeks ago. Fiaz failed to make weight that time and then pulled out sick, a move that Baker suggested wasn’t entirely sincere to put it mildly.
In the first round of this bout, Fiaz certainly looked the more polished performer, but Baker had bursts of fire that showed what he could bring to the table.
While Fiaz dictated the second round, Baker came out to fight on the third and really put it on his rival with a serious of combinations as he incessantly backed him into the ropes.
Fiaz wasn’t given a minutes peace by Baker. It could be argued that Fiaz was the more skilled and cultured puncher, but Baker’s pressure was telling.
Baker never let up all the way to the final bell and although Fiaz hit the harder shots, Baker made the most of his opportunity.
Ahead of the decision, it seemed as though the feud between the two men had been settled a new respect was present. Fiaz grabbed the win 77-75 on all the scorecards, but Baker can hold his head high.
Alen Babic def. Niall Kennedy
The Savage has a perfect record of 4-0 with four knockouts and that streak continued here.
In the third round, a straight from Babic over in Kennedy’s own corner saw the Irishman reel and hit the canvas. Although he answered the count, Babic immediately pressured him again and the ref waved it off.
Babic is all hooks with little variation, but what he does do is pretty devastating. His legend continues to grow.
Chantelle Cameron def. Adriana Araujo – WBC super lightweight title
El Capo started this fight with the vigour you would expect from someone with their first world title in their grasps, but Araujo looked sluggish throughout.
The Brazilian wasn’t a difficult target to hit, but she did present a challenge if Cameron got inside and wanted to trade.
Through the first few rounds, Cameron’s combinations coupled with her stick and move approach was working a treat.
Cameron dominated and dictated every single round. Save for Araujo’s sporadic swings inside, the Brazilian didn’t have the energy, movement or enthusiasm to compete.
The fight went the distance, but Cameron won every round with ease. It wasn’t flashy and there was no knockdowns or any electric moments, but the performance was stellar. Cameron did the job she came to do and she did it to perfection. Judges scored it 100-90 across the board.
Joshua Buatsi Marko Calic
After 400 days outside of the ring, Joshua Buatsi had testing return that required the Olympian to dig deep.
Neither man came flying out the traps but Buatsi was crisp and sharp in everything he did. Calic was no soft tough, mind, and if Buatsi walked in the Croatian gave him problems.
A huge right hand from Buatsi really exerted the pressure on Calic in the third round and seemed like it could be the beginning of the end, but Calic courageously fought back and ended up landing a nasty flurry of his own towards the end of the round.
That flurry caused a great deal of swelling around Buatsi’s left eye and as the rounds wore on, it was clear that while Buatsi appeared the more powerful and superior boxer, Calic had plenty about him to worry about.
In the seventh round, Buatsi really stepped on the gas and with his opponent against the ropes unleashed a series of hooks that were full of venom. Calic felt the power and he was forced down to one knee.
Although he answered the count, Buatsi pounced on him against straight after and moments later, Calic’s corner threw in the towel.
Calic seemed to have no complaints and Buatsi now moves on to the AJ undercard on December 12. If he’s victorious again, he can look forward to a huge 2021.