Anthony Yarde vs Richard Baranyi
Undefeated Light Heavyweight sensation Anthony ‘The Beast’ Yarde (12-0-0, 11 KO’s) claimed the WBO European Light Heavyweight title with an impressive first round blowout against the outmatched Richard Baranyi (18-2-0, 12 KO’s).
In his first major tilt at a title, Yarde settled into the contest with ease, pushing Baranyi back behind a snappy left jab and appearing to hurt his man with every punch he landed. With the gulf in class apparent with each passing second, Yarde uncorked a vicious right hand to send Baranyi to the canvas.
Baranyi rose groggily to his feet, but with Yarde moving in for the kill, the outcome was inevitable, and the follow-up barrage saw the referee halt the contest with Baranyi in no fit state to continue.
For Yarde, sterner tests are undoubtedly to come, but with another successful step taken on the ladder, the Londoner keeps impressing and will be delighted with adding the European title to what he hopes will be an ever growing collection of titles.
Daniel Dubois vs Mauricio Barragan
Heavyweight prospect ‘Dangerous’ Daniel Dubois (4-0-0, 4 KO’s) produced another swift stoppage victory as he dispatched of Mauricio Barragan (15-2-0, 8 KO’s) inside two rounds to claim the WBC Youth World Heavyweight title.
Dubois began in customary fast fashion, knocking Barragan on to his heels with a ram-rod left jab and before long had his man on the canvas after a right hand early in the first round.
Barragan – who was significantly outweighed by the former Team GB standout – bravely dragged himself to his feet, but the end was nigh. Dubois sensing the finish, applied the final touches early in the 2nd round with a hard left hand to the liver that had Barragan writhing in agony, with the referee deeming him in no fit state to continue.
Bradley Skeete vs Dale Evans
Bradley ‘Super’ Skeete (27-1-0, 12 KO’s) successfully defended his British Welterweight title with a dominant 12 round decision victory over Dale Evans (13-4-2, 4 KO’s).
Skeete boxed patiently throughout and controlled proceedings from the opening bell as he secured the coveted Lonsdale belt outright.
The fight began in watchful fashion, with Skeete using his superior footwork and reach advantage to keep the advancing Evans at bay.
Evans was able to close the distance in the third, landing a hard left hook the get the Champion’s attention. However, Skeete soon found his rhythm and uncorked a sharp right uppercut in the fifth that rocked Evans head back.
Skeete continued to control the contest and soon found a home for his straight right hand, clipping the shorter Evans clean and often throughout the middle rounds.
While Skeete was firmly in the ascendancy, some may point to his lack of urgency in going for the stoppage. However, the Londoner seemed content to box at range, snapping Evans’ head back at will with his fast left jab as the fight moved into the Championship rounds.
Undoubtedly behind on the cards, Evans bravely attempted to get inside on his rangy opponent in hope of securing a dramatic, come-from-behind stoppage. He was rewarded for his gusto with a hard right hand that Skeete took well, but it was too little, too late for the Welshman, as Skeete bossed the remainder of the contest to secure a resounding victory.
With scores of 120-208 & 119-109 (x 2) the scorecards reflected Skeete’s dominance in the squared circle. After securing the British title outright and holding a lofty #3 ranking with the WBO, Skeete will undoubtedly be looking forward to making a splash on the world stage, with a mooted fight with newly crowned WBO World Welterweight Champion Jeff Horn too of his wish list.
Rob Tebbutt Scorecard: 119-109 (Skeete)
Darryl Williams vs Jahmaine Smyle
‘Ferocious’ Darryl Williams retained his English Super-Middleweight title with a Majority Decision victory over nemesis Jahmaine Smyle in their highly-anticipated rematch.
Williams started the contest slowly, allowing Smyle to dictate from the outside with his superior height and reach. However, the contest exploded into life in the 3rd when Williams connected with a crisp right hand that sent Smyle to the canvas. It was a shot seemingly out of nowhere that injected much-needed life into Williams’ performance.
Buoyed by his success, Williams continued to force the action, smothering Smyle’s work and negating his jab as he set about his man at a relentless pace. With legendary former two-weight World Champion Ricky Hatton in his corner, Williams displayed some of the same gusto that ‘The Hitman’ once showed, working well on the inside and banging Smyle to the body.
As the fight wore on, the pressure of Williams seemed to take its toll on Smyle, as he piled up the points against his noticeably tiring opponent. A stinging right hand to the chin of Smyle in the ninth round threatened to force the stoppage, however Williams was unable to capitalise and found himself guilty of smothering his work.
While the fight struggled to reach the heights of their action-packed first encounter, both men showed signs of weariness heading into the 10th round. It was Williams who once more answered the bell with intent, forcing Smyle back and working until the final bell.
With most ringside observers seeing the fight clearly for Williams, the initial announcement of 95-95 was met with disapproval. However, with decisive scores of 96-94 (x 2) for Williams, the correct decision was reached – albeit with closer scores than many had foreseen.
Rob Tebbutt Scorecard: 97-92 (Williams)
Gary Corcoran vs Larry Ekundayo
Gary Corcoran captured the WBO Intercontinental Welterweight title with a hard fought 12 round split decision over Larry Ekundayo.
Corcoran started the fight in aggressive fashion, using his superior size and strength to outwork Ekundayo on the inside, with Ekundayo unable to slow his momentum despite landing some crisp counters of his own.
The middle rounds saw Corcoran begin to slow, with the fight becoming increasingly scrappy on the inside. Both men would suffer cuts as a result of some questionable tactics from Corcoran, with the two men clashing heads with alarming regularity.
Undeterred, Ekundayo began to find his range in the 7th, enjoying his best round of the contest with a series of snappy counters. Corcoran continued to plough forward, but without the same vigour as in the early rounds, and was momentarily stunned by a sneaky left hook from Ekundayo at the end of the ninth round.
As the bout progressed, Ekundayo was very much in the ascendancy, and he would continue his late surge with a huge tenth round. After touching Corcoran with a right hand, Ekundayo had his man badly hurt with a crunching left hook, leaving Corcoran holding on for survival as he sought to close the show.
The final rounds saw much of the same scrappy action, with Corcoran fortunate not to be penalised by the referee for flagrant use of the head. Ekundayo would again find the target with the left hook, closing the contest the stronger of the two, with Corcoran content to hold as the final bell drew near.
With the conclusion of the bout, ringside consensus was that the fight was very close, which was reflected in the scorecards. With scores of 115-113, 113-115 & 114-113, it was Corcoran who got the nod by the slimmest of margins in an absorbing encounter.
Rob Tebbutt Scorecard: 114-114 (Draw).
By Rob Tebbutt. You can follow him on Twitter on @RobTebbutt