Ustinov stays on course for Joshua with early KO / Khan, Barrett win

Phil Jay 20/05/2017

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Heavyweight force Alexander Ustinov finally returned to action on Friday night in Bolton following eighteen months of uncertainty over his future.

The 40 year-old Russian signed co-promotional with Frank Warren after placing himself in contention for the WBA title, although several attempts to put Ustinov in the ring had previously failed.

Finally, Warren was able to secure a place on the Bolton Whites bill at late notice and Ustinov duly took out journeyman Raphael Zumbano Love in one round.

Ustinov is due to face the winner of Shannon Briggs v Fres Oquendo for the vacant WBA regular title taking place in June, with an eventual shot at Anthony Joshua stipulated for the eventual champion.

Briggs v Oquendo is part of a WBA tournament set up to define one single title holder in the top division as President Gilberto Mendoza bids to cut the amount of championships significantly.

Another warm-up in the summer should set Ustinov up for Briggs or Oquendo by the fall, with a shot at Joshua provisionally set for 2018 once Luis Ortiz gets his mandatory chance.

In the headliner, Zelfa Barrett remained undefeated and moved to 17-0 with a points win over Eusebio Osejo, whilst Amir Khan’s brother Haroon record a sixth career win, three years after his fifth,

Khan, 26. had taken some time out of boxing to concentrate on other things but returned to action successfully with a first round stoppage of Patrik Bartos.

Also on the card, Jack Flatley and former British title challenger Luke Blackledge had their hands raised, whilst heavyweight Adam Machaj inflicted yet another early knockout on the struggling Tom Dallas.

The reverse represented a seventh loss from eight starts for Dallas, five of which have come in the first two rounds.

Elsewhere in Essex, Ex-UK welterweight title holder Colin Lynes made it two wins from two since embarking on a comeback.

Lynes, 39, ended a three year plus retirement in March 2017 and built on his points win over Nathan Hardy with a decision triumph over Mario Petrov at the same Brentwood venue.

Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay