Askin devastates Simmons in two / Haye frustrated at Begum delay and draw / Camacho scores TKO

RINGSIDE 18/03/2018

Matty ‘The Assassin’ Askin retained his British Cruiserweight title with a devastating second round knock out over Stephen Simmons.

With a brutal left hook to the body, Askin dropped the Scot to stage a successful first defence of the Lonsdale belt he won against Craig Kennedy in Cardiff last year.

The powerful Blackpool fighter’s record now stands at 23 wins, three defeats and one draw, while 33-year-old Simmons is left to ponder his future in the ring.

“He was a very hard man tonight,” said victorious Askin after his win. “But me on my game beats anyone.

“Behind the scenes I was going through the uppercut and left hook to the body.”

Askin spent a gruelling 14-weeks in camp ahead of his defence, living in a caravan. But now the 29-year-old is looking to step up another level.

“It has been hard but you have to make these sacrifices,” he said. “There has been a lot of talk about me stepping up after this fight, so I had to put in a performance and I feel that I did myself justice tonight.”

Two-time Muay Thai kickboxing champion Ruqsana Begum, meanwhile, got her professional boxing career up and running in a closely-fought draw with Ivanka Ivanova.

The 34-year-old, from Ilford, Essex, was born into a strict Muslim family. But in 2016, she launched her own range of sports hijab to inspire more women from her faith to take part in sport.

The 5ft 3in ‘pocket rocket’ endured a frustrating start on her debut, however. She was made to wait to start her four-round contest after Ivanova failed to arrive to the ring wearing a cup protector – which is a requirement in British boxing for female fighters.

“It was a strange situation,” admitted Haye, speaking on the undercard of the event – streamed live via Facebook on SportBible.

And it did not end as hoped as Begum was scored evenly on the scorecards, 38-38, with the bout called a draw.

Elsewhere on the undercard, Wadi Camacho saw off a brave Danny Couzens to retain his Southern Area cruiserweight title via TKO.

In a dominating display, the 32-year-old Canning Town southpaw fighter floored Couzens in the ninth round before a second knockdown, courtesy of a brutal left uppercut, saw the referee step in to stop the contest.