2012 Olympic Gold Medallist Anthony Joshua (1(1)-0) wasted no time in dismantling his unbeaten opponent Emannuel Leo (8(3)-1) within one round at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday night.
Fleshy Leo, 32, who suprisingly weighed in half a pound lighter than his chissled debuting adversary, did not have the skill or technique to cope with ‘AJ’, whose height and reach was used to maximum advantage as he pinged out heavy one-two’s, which saw his man on buckled knees on two occasions.
With nothing coming back, ‘Josh’ began to increase the power of his shots and as he sensed a finish, he thrust into full throttle, with the despairing Italian falling to the canvas. Referee Ian John-Lewis saw no need to make a count and waved off the encounter as a cool Joshua raised his hand in victory, which came at a time of 2:47.
Bury Super Bantamweight Scott Quigg (26(9)-0-2) endured a tough night going up in level to face wiley Cuban Yoandris Salinas (23(13)-0) for Quigg’s ”awarded” WBA belt.
Quigg and coach Joe Gallagher refused to walk in with the strap until they successfully ‘earned it’ on Saturday night.
Salinas forced his man into his kind of fight from round one – dictating the pace by not engaging Quigg’s sharp, teasing edgy offerings. Salinas would fling out the heavy jab, causing a noticable reddening around the left eye area.
What began as a mild ‘chess-match’ would continue in the same vein for the first 6, with Quigg unable to get his shots off, although he arguably took round 3 and 5 by taking the risk and opening up in a fight that looked to be heading the way of the Cuban whose tactics were proving highly effective – and it was apparent, not least to those shouting encouragement at ringside, that Quigg was going to have to go to battle if he was to keep hold of his crown.
Attempting to shift the momentum, Quigg began to press his opponent, unleashing sharp stinging combinations whilst kopping a few from the technically sound ‘El Nino’, which was the only way – and key, to winning the fight.
From round 8 it was all the Bury man who had now realised it was about taking the initiative and not engaging in Salianas’ strategic tactics. The pair began to open up which played into Quigg’s hands and the quicker Englishman naturally found the target more often – In the 11th he had his best round of the fight, putting together some eye-catching body shots and heat seeking hooks against a dogged, and still relevant opponent.
Salinas met Quigg’s ascendancy in the 12th as both spoiled in finding that edge to sway this close fight their way in the eye’s of the judges.
Jean-Louis Legland 114-114, Leszek Jankowiak 114-114 and Ruben M.Garcia 115-113 concluded on a majority draw in the wake of a true test in Scott Quigg’s world level credentials – holding on to his WBA title in the process.
Dagenham favorite Kevin Mitchell (35(25)-2) who weighed in right on the money at 9st 9lbs, enjoyed a welcome return to form in an impressive one-sided contest where he captured the IBF Inter-continental lightweight title via TKO over mexican Marco Lopez (23(14)-3).
‘The Hammer’, who has rued his inactivity in recent years has found a new lease of life since signing with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom and rejoining former amateur trainer Tony Sims.
The Mitchell of old was back, taking his time by unsettling ‘El Kua Kua’ with a patient, stalking movement, peppering combinations and snapping jabs which, if the truth be told, were a level above his opponent who simply had no answer. As they entered the 4th, former world title challenger Mitchell continued the assault before banging in a hard body shot, dropping Lopez to his knees, but getting up at a count of 8.
More quality boxing saw Mitchell breeze the 5th round and upon seeing his rival beginning to wilt during the 6th, he finished the job in style by going into another gear landing some exquisite unanswerable shots which sent his man flying back into the ropes and crashing to the canvas before referee Steve Grey waved it off.
There had been strong talk of Mitchell taking on Derry Mathews – which Eddie Hearn yesterday confirmed was indeed planned for December – and with Mitchell’s somewhat understated preview of ”a nice dance in the park” against the commonwealth champion, fans can look forward to a real atomic bomb of an encounter before the end of the year.
Bleeding from the corner of both eyes, british and commonwealth champion Lee Selby (17(6)-1) overcame a plucky Ryan Walsh (16(8)-1-1) earning a UD with scores of 118-110, 118-112 and 117-111 handing ‘Iron’ his first professional defeat.
‘The Welsh Mayweather’ looked to have his hands full as Walsh started the brighter taking round 1 with extravagant swoops and swinging combo’s as Selby struggled to find his rythm against the smaller, trickier Norfolk featherweight.
From round 2 it was all Selby although Walsh kept the contest interesting – occasionally countering his foe’s swift right and left leads with overhand lefts that opened a nick above the right eye. An even 4th round preceeded an entertaining 5th as Walsh landed a heavy shot to the head but again, Selby outworked him while being warned by the referee to stop holding down the head of his rival.
An identical cut to the left eye opened up on Selby as the fight wore on but the Barry man had too much class as he ran out a clear winner in what was an entertaining scrap.
Another Olympic Gold winner continued his fine start to the pro ranks with another 1st round hammering, this time against 25-year-old Neil Hepper (5(0)-3)
Luke Campbell (2 (2) -0), also 25, breezed through his latest test at lightweight in front of celebrity pals including ice-skater Jane Torville and fellow participant from Dancing on Ice; ex-Eastender Matt Lapinskas.
Campbell used all his amateur experience to out-fox Hepper by measuring him with the jab before eventually unloading with a flurry of punches that pounded into the torso – leaving the Darlington man in a heap and out for the count at a time of 1:59 in the first.
Fight of the night though belonged to Wadi Camacho (10 (6)-2) and the incredible Tony Conquest (12(5)-1), who earned the right to contest the british title after dragging himself up from the floor in rounds 1 and 2 before taming the hard hitting ‘Machoman’ with some savvy countering right leads.
‘The Conquerer’ whose tipsters have had him down for domestic and European honours since showing early promise, has endured a run of unfortunate luck on the injury front which, to his eternal credit, have not forced him to take his eyes off eventually challenging for big honours – and this confidence building war should stand him in good stead for the future.
Camacho had said before the contest that this will be Conquests last fight (a loss would see him with nowhere to go) and the Canning Town cruiserweight clocked his man with his renowned left hand in the very first round – sending the 29-year-old to the floor and struggling to his feet at a count of 8.
When Conquest again wilted under the power of Wadi’s crunching left in the 2nd stanza, it was highly apparent the end was nigh when he was again sent to the canvas.
But the man who had perhaps been through worse nightmares in getting fit, astonishingly took the remaining eight rounds by getting into a rythm – evading Camacho’s danger punch while answering with two quick popping right leads which had his rival in trouble on several occasions for the remainder of the fight.
Conquest sunk to his knees in celebration as he was awarded a UD with scores of 95-94, 96-93 and 96-93.
Earlier in the evening, popular Danny ‘Cassius’ Connor (10 -7) lost his light-welterweight southern-area title in another humdinging slug fest to fellow Londoner Tony Owen (15(2)-2).
A 1st round knockdown contributed greatly to the final score of 96-95, but the controversial ruling of a ”knockdown” in the 9th would twist the knife in a hard fought contest which saw blood pouring from Owen’s mouth and a swollen eye for the gutsy Connor.
Back and forth action and sharp twists of momentum followed the two througout with the harder shots coming courtesy of Owen, but the will and determination of ‘Cassius’ would give earn him the spoils, in terms of points, overall – especially a barnstorming 5th round where both went to town, and a 9th that saw Owen scream ”Come on!” as a rousing war cry in that crucial round.
There were also points wins for George Michael Carmen (12 – 1) and Prizefighter victor Glenn Foot, who improves his record to 12 and 0 with 6 knockouts.
It was a night when Anthony Joshua announced himself to british fans as a real star in the making and Scott Quigg earned some valuable big fight experience – but Tony Conquest gave the performance of his life to steal what was all-in-all a fabulous show.