December 12 turned out to be a night to remember for Heavyweight sensation Anthony Joshua (14-0, 14KOs) after he stopped long standing rival Dillian Whyte (16-0, 13KOs) in the seventh round of their vacant British title fight at London’s O2 Arena.
The fight erupted at the end of the first round, when both Joshua and Whyte landed punches after the bell, causing chaos to erupt as a number of Whyte’s entourage jumped into the ring. Credit must go to Jonathan Banks, Whyte’s trainer, for diffusing the situation so that the fight could continue.
The second session saw Whyte really hurt Joshua with a flurry of punches after Joshua had landed a couple of solid shots himself; Joshua doing well to survive the round.
The third was a cagey affair, with both fighters trying to establish the jab, although Joshua got the better of the exchanges.
The fourth, fifth and sixth rounds followed a similar pattern to the third, with Joshua landing a couple of his infamous power shots (although Whyte didn’t seem to feel them at all).
The seventh round provided the vital break through, with the Olympic Gold medalist landing a number of huge shots, culminating in a devastating right uppercut which left Whyte sprawled on the canvas.
The fight was stopped before the count ended with Whyte in desperate need of some medical attention. Both fighters deserve huge credit for putting on an entertaining show, when many felt the contest would fail to live up to its pre-fight billing.
The penultimate fight of the night saw Chris Eubank Jr. (20-1, 15KOs) face Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan (22-1, 15KOs) in a final eliminator for the WBA Middleweight crown over twelve rounds.
Eubank shook O’Sullivan early in the second round, with a number of vicious right uppercuts landing. The third round went the opposite way, with O’Sullivan landing some huge left hooks on Eubank.
The fight was very one sided from then on in, with Eubank dominating the contest. This culminated in O’Sullivan retiring on his stool at the end of the seventh round, after being pulled out of the contest by trainer Paschal Collins.
Both men deserve great credit for the contest whilst it lasted, with Eubank now the mandatory challenger for WBA regular world champion Danny Jacobs.
The exciting clash between Kevin Mitchell (39-3, 29KOs) and the undefeated Ismael Barroso (18-0-2, 17KOs) was for the WBA interim world Lightweight title, but more importantly it was a final eliminator to become the mandatory challenger for Anthony Crolla’s WBA crown.
The forth round saw Mitchell touch down on the canvas after Barroso landed a short sharp left hook, although many people will argue that it was caused by a tangle of feet rather than the punch itself. The fight was over in the fifth round, with Barroso landing devastating combinations with both hands.
Mitchell needed oxygen in his corner after the fight. Barroso’s devastating performance means he is now mandatory WBA challenger, whilst Mitchell’s career will need a lot of rebuilding if he wants another shot on the world stage.
Liverpudlian Tony Bellew (25-2, 16KOs) stepped in the ring to face the Polish Mateusz Masternak (36-3, 26KOs) over twelve rounds for the vacant EBU Cruiserweight crown.
Both fighters looked good behind the jab in the opening rounds, with the two boxers landing some good shots with both hands. Going into round seven, the fight was very equally poised with neither man really taking the initiative. The fight was ‘nip and tuck’ all the way through, with neither man putting a strong case forward in every single round.
The fight went to the judges scorecards, with the Bomber recording a unanimous 115-113, 115,112, 115-112 decision to become the new EBU Cruiserweight champion.
Olympic Gold Medallist Luke Campbell (12-0, 10KOs) faced Yvan Mendy (32-4-1, 16KOs) of France over twelve rounds for Campbell’s WBC International Lightweight crown. The fight erupted in the fifth round, when Mendy landed a sharp left hook to leave Campbell on the canvas.
Although his legs tangled on the way down, it was a clear knock down and Campbell was the first to admit it when he got back to his corner. Campbell recovered well after the knock down, and you could make a case for the majority of rounds to go either way. The fight went to the judge’s scorecards, with Mendy taking a split decision 115-112, 113-115, 115-113, crowning him the new WBC International champion.
The second fight of the night pitted Dereck ‘Del Boy’ Chisora (23-5, 15KOs) against Jakov Gospic (16-13, 12 Kos) over eight rounds at Heavyweight.
Chisora fought for the second time in a week, after defeating Peter Erdos via a fifth round stoppage in Germany last weekend. The fight ended in the third round, with Chisora landing a flurry of body shots to record a stoppage victory.
Due to delays in and around the O2 Arena, the first fight of the night saw Paul Malignaggi (34-7, 7KOs) face Antonio Moscatiello (20-2-1, 14KOs) over twelve rounds at Welterweight for the vacant EBU-EU title.
Malignaggi’s exemplary speed and footwork proved the difference on the night, winning a unanimous points decision 119-110,119-110 and 120-109.
Ted Cheeseman (2-0. 1Ko) against Ian Henry (1-0, 0Kos), Jake Ball (3-0, 3KOs) against Richard Horton (9-5, 1KO), Reece Bellotti (4-0, 3KOs) against Samuel Escobar (2-6, 1KO) and Martin J Ward (12-0-2, 6KOs) against Miguel Gonzalez (13-4, 11KOs) were all scheduled to be on the card, but were not contested due to traffic issues around the arena.