Underlining his undoubted potential, exciting Liverpool super-lightweight, Robbie Davies Jnr., stopped normally durable Finn, Jarkko Putkonen, in the sixth of a scheduled 12 at the Devonshire House Hotel on Saturday to win the vacant WBA Continental title, gaining what should be a top 20 ranking with the organisation in the process.
Designed to get the unbeaten Davies some much needed rounds after six early wins on the spin, Putkonen took the highly rated, and British no. 1, Jack Catterall 10 rounds in October, but the Finn, never previously stopped as a pro, was under pressure throughout before the stoppage finally came at 1:26 of the sixth.
Patient when he needed to be but precise when it mattered, 26 year old Davies – son of former Olympian and exciting 1970s pro Robbie Davies – caught a few himself, but, from the very first bell, the former Knowsley Vale ABC amateur was always in control.
Occasionally switching to orthodox Davies worked his most hurtful punches well, particularly in the first when three eye catching southpaw counters – a right hook and two straight lefts – visibly shook the visitor.
Two rounds later, the Finn shipped a solid right to the pit of his stomach and, although he shook his head and smiled at Davies as he took a few steps back, his lack of urgency thereafter betrayed the venom in the shot.
In the sixth, and cheered on by a capacity crowd who sang his name throughout, Davies backed Putkonen up in his own corner with a double southpaw jab before the end came courtesy of a sickening right to the body.
The Finn rose slowly when the count reached nine only to see referee Howard Foster wave it over. Despite his half-hearted protests there were no complaints from his corner as Davies gained his ninth stoppage from 12 professional bouts.
Already on the verge of the top 10 in the domestic division after just a dozen pro contests, Davies, admitted before the fight that he has been under the radar as far as the biggest names at 10 stone are concerned, but such an emphatic victory here ensures his promise to make 2016 his year is likely to be fulfilled.
Speaking after the fight he said: “I worked behind the jab and fought at the pace that I wanted. I could feel him wilting as the rounds went on – I’m massive at the weight and I cant see anyone pushing me back – and I knew that, when I did go to body, the stoppage would come.”
Although delighted with his performance, Davies is confident he can improve and go on to even bigger and better things. He said: “I got the win, got the stoppage and, although I made a few mistakes, we can work on them and improve. I’m looking forward to the next step. As I said before the fight, 2016 will be my year.”
Speaking on the rest of the division, Davies’ confidence was self-evident. He said: “I’ve never feared anyone. Me and my team, Dave [Tonks] my trainer and Neil [Marsh] my manager, we’ve just been doing what we’ve been doing and now its time for me to come out of the shadows. I honestly believe there isn’t anyone in the country who hits as hard as me at the weight. If anyone wants to take any voluntaries against me for any of those titles, British, Commonwealth or whatever, then, if its alright with Neil, we’re up for it now even after 12 fights but I’ll do whatever Neil says and we’ll take it from there. ”