Florian Marku talks trash to Rylan Charlton as he gets off the canvas to win
Florian Marku climbed off the canvas to stop Rylan Charlton in eight rounds in the evening’s chief-support bout to Avanesyan v Kelly.
‘The Albanian King’ toppled to the canvas in the sixth round but then forced the stoppage with a ferocious response and called for a future clash with Benn, who was watching from ringside as part of the Sky Sports team.
Charlton was punished with stinging counters in the third, and the Norwich man appeared in serious trouble when he staggered through the closing seconds of the fourth following a big right hand from Marku.
Uncorking an eye-catching uppercut, Marku appeared in complete control in the fifth, but he suffered a shock knockdown in the next round after a looping left hand from Charlton. Marku ripped in punches in round eight with savage intent on the weary Charlton, prompting the towel to be thrown in.
“I am really happy,” said Marku. “A lot of people thought that he would humiliate me and knock me out, but I showed that I could box. I will learn a lot from this fight. Three weeks before the fight, I dislocated a finger in my left hand. My team and all staff know that I was injured, but I would never pull out of the fight. I came here to fight.
“After the fifth round, I started feeling my hand. It was not a problem. I am happy about the performance. Rylan took so many good hits in the head. He took a lot of punishment. I was beating him, and I was talking to him. You know, I told him I was going to beat him and talk to him. I was telling him I’m not Joe Laws. I take the win, and we go forward.
“His face was swollen, and it was a good decision from his corner. He took a lot of punishment. I love to fight. This is my life. Thanks to the UK fans that believe in me. They like to see me fight. I love pressure. I’ll fight whoever my team S-JAM boxing decides next. Sam Jones and Adam Morallee got me into this position. I have the best team around me.”
Earlier, Gabriel Valenzuela picked up his career’s biggest win on his first trip to the UK. He claimed a majority points decision over Liverpool’s Robbie Davies Jr to earn the vacant IBF Intercontinental Super-Lightweight Title.
Mexico’s Valenzuela dropped Davies Jr with a straight right hand in the third round, and while Davies battled back in the middle rounds, ‘Nini’ closed the show in the final round when he looked close to forcing the stoppage.
Davies Jr, the former British and European Super-Lightweight Champion, struggled to deal with Valenzuela’s heavy hands and was an easy target for the 26-year-old from Guadalajara inspired by Mauricio Lara’s shock win over Josh Warrington last weekend.
Popular Romford Heavyweight Johnny Fisher got off to the perfect start in the professional ranks with a powerful first-round stoppage of Matt Gordon.
‘The Romford Bull’ marked his pro debut with a destructive display as he floored Gordon on two occasions in the opening round.
Fisher made a fast start, throwing crunching combinations from the opening bell, and a string of right hands sent Gordon toppling onto the ropes.
Sensing the finish was near, Fisher quickly clubbed Gordon back to the canvas, and referee Ian John-Lewis soon waved off the fight.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Fisher. “I know I’ve had a massive build-up; I’ve had Lennox Lewis sending me messages and Tyson Fury sending me messages. I had a lot of pressure on me, but I’ve shown that I can handle that pressure.
“All credit to Matt Gordon, but I bowled him over in one round. Normally Heavyweights are doing it in two, three, or four rounds, so I’ve done a good job. Nobody needs to get unnecessarily hurt. I knew that I had him hurt when I first got him down. It was only a matter of time, so the ref did the right thing.
“I felt right, and I felt comfortable, more comfortable than any of my amateur fights. I belong here, and I’ve got to prove that I belong here every time I fight. I’ve got a very long way to go. I know I’m only just beginning. Let’s see how far we can go. I live and breathe boxing. I love training. I’d do it every single day of the week if I were allowed. I’ve got great people around me. There are things I need to work on, but I’ve shown my power tonight.”
In further action, Jordan Gill made it two wins from two behind closed doors fights as he widely outpointed Mexico’s former World Title challenger Cesar Juarez to claim the vacant WBA International Featherweight Title and progress his record to 26-1 (7 KOs).
The 26-year-old from Chatteris showcased slick skills against Juarez’s relentless aggression as he earned a unanimous decision with scores of 98-92, 98-93, and 96-94.
“It was a very tough test,” said Gill. “He was so tough. I hit him with some great shots. He hurt my hand on his head. I always seem to hurt my right hand. We move on. There are bigger and better things to come now. It was a great fight, and I was pleased to be involved in it. I stood up to his body shots and pushed forwards. I had to pick my spots with him.
“The thing is with these guys. If you work with them, then you’re going to lose all day long. We saw that last week with Josh Warrington.
“At certain times, it’s impossible to get away clean. I did it smartly, and I tried to keep it safe at all times. I didn’t feel my sharpest.
“To be honest, I felt sluggish. I felt like I was leaning in with the shots, and I fell in with the jabs. I didn’t feel like I was pinging it like I normally do.
“There are no excuses, I did everything in the gym, and I worked very hard. I did the weight very well, especially considering I had two weeks’ notice for this fight. It shows my dedication to the sport, and it shows how many sacrifices I made. I stayed in the gym over Christmas. I stayed in the gym over New Year and missed out on lots of baking my wife!
“I’m going to go home, have a week off and do some baking with my wife. If I get a shot at the European Title next, then I’d be over the moon, whoever it’s against.”