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18 NOVEMBER 2018

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Bellew Repeats Stoppage Over Haye

By Steven Bateson


Tony Bellew repeated victory over David Haye, dropping him three times en route to a fifth round stoppage at the O2 Arena, London on Saturday night.


The opening round was fairly cagey, both men using the jab to try and work some openings, whilst Haye tried to go on the front foot and put Bellew under pressure. Haye was pushing jabs toward the body and just glanced the chin of Bellew with a huge right hand but once again he looked almost leaden footed, not displaying the kind of movement that made him so fearsome in his prime.


Haye was still pushing forward in round two and did find a little more success, crunching home two big right hands but the Liverpudlian merely smirked at his opponent and dismissed the power. Bellew hit the body in round two and followed up with a solid right of his own but the bout was just warming up.


Haye was pushing the pace, already breathing heavy, putting all of his weight on his front foot, loading up way too much for the heavy artillery, and in round three the firefight broke out. Both men stood toe to toe and started trading huge bombs, Haye desperate to win the lottery, but it was Bellew who landed his shots. A left hook caught Haye and then a straight right had him crashing back into the ropes to take an eight count. The crowd were stunned and Haye acknowledged he was hurt when he got up but chose to go back on the attack. Both men traded again but Haye was off target and fell victim to a right hook and then a left to the temple that had him down once more. His legs looked shaky as he clambered to his feet, the fight slipping away from him in dramatic fashion.


Haye potentially may have been injured from one of the knockdowns, he was certainly unsteady on his right leg from that point onwards, and it was clear the bell saved him at the end of the round, Bellew ready to rush over and finish proceedings.


Haye knew he was in big trouble and came out swinging in the fourth but his accuracy and timing was abysmal, Bellew making him miss at ease. Bellew couldn’t miss with the power punches, heavy hooks and solid one/two combinations that had Haye staggering all around the ring. Bellew was landing at will, punches to the top of the head hurting Haye time and again, and it looked only a matter of time until he sealed the deal.


The fifth round began with Haye back on the front foot, Bellew conserving some energy after his punch output of the previous round, but soon they were back in centre ring, cocked and loaded, and that is where Haye met his demise. A right hand from Bellew momentarily stunned Haye, the Bomber quicker to the punch all night, and the Bermondsey man decided to follow Bellew back into the middle and trade hooks. Haye missed with his and ate a clean, sickening left hook that dropped him face-first on the canvass once more. He did rise and beat the count but it was evident that he had very little left to offer. He backed up onto the ropes and invited Bellew on, who didn’t need a second invite, and the Bomber obliged with another barrage of blows that implored referee Howard Foster to jump in and stop it.


For Haye it has to be the end of the line, his career at Cruiserweight and his early foray into Heavyweight will be remembered fondly, but too many injuries over the years have left him a shell of the fighter he once was. For Tony Bellew, who knows what comes next? A shot at the Heavyweight Championship, the winner of the Cruiserweight Super Series? Retirement or even Andre Ward? Whatever happens he has earned it against the odds.


Ryder on the cusp of world level?


John Ryder stunned Jamie Cox with a second round knockout in a Super Middleweight contest that many predicted as a 50-50 fight.


It was seen as a crossroad fight for both southpaws and they immediately went to work, meeting in the centre of the ring and exchanging shots. Ryder looked neater in the opening round and was picking right hands in close whilst Cox looked a little more erratic, throwing wild punches to head and body. A left uppercut snapped Cox’s head out of his guard and he was met with a right hook from Ryder that was more than enough to swing the first to the man dubbed "The Gorilla".


The finish came early in round two when Cox went on the attack, pushing Ryder toward the ropes, but then a cuffing right hand to the side/front of Cox’s head completely scrambled his equilibrium and took all his control from his legs. He staggered backwards in delayed fashion and collapsed to the deck, disorientated and bleary eyed, and looked in desperate trouble. He then got to a knee and nodded to his corner, as though insisting he was good to go, but missed the count of the referee and was rendered unable to continue.


At first it looked a bizarre finish, as though Cox just miscounted, but on reflection he was badly hurt from the punch and the referee made the correct call. Cox had absolutely no control of his legs or his senses and could have been badly hurt had he been allowed to continue.


Ryder (26-4 with 14 KO’s) is in the middle of a tremendous revival, following up his tremendous win over Patrick Nielsen with this victory, and will be in with a shout to contest for titles at 168lbs. The likes of Tyrone Zeuge for the WBA Regular Championship is a distinct possibility whilst there are plenty of other opportunities now available for the Islington fighter.


Rodriguez dominates Butler


Emmanuel Rodriguez could be the next Puerto Rican superstar as he outclassed Paul Butler to win the IBF Bantamweight Championship via unanimous decision.


Rodriguez was completely dominant and punch perfect as he displayed startling accuracy and hurtful power to take the IBF crown at 118lbs against the outgunned Ellsmere Port fighter, who missed weight by over 3lbs and couldn’t win the world title anyway.


Butler tried to start sharp with his movement and body punching, something he has been praised for in the past, but he chose to stand and trade with Rodriguez and found himself on the receiving end of a devastating left hook that dropped him heavy in the first round. Butler was hurt but he beat the count, only to be knocked down again after Rodriguez took advantage of his opponent’s unsteady legs.


Butler survived the horror first round but his usual movement and head movement were virtually non existent as he ate constant jabs from Rodriguez and a steady stream of thudding hooks around the guard.


The nose of Butler was busted badly in round three, pouring blood throughout the fight from there on out, and Rodriguez continued to pump his spiteful jab straight through the hands and into the face of his opponent. The visitor was looking comfortable now, happy that he was under no threat, and began to drop his hands as he stalked Butler around the ring.


Butler’s face was battered and bloody but he continued to survive and fight gamely, despite being badly overmatched. In the sixth round Rodriguez began to up the pace and a big right had Butler hurt once more, he was visibly shaken by the never ending pressure being applied, and it looked like only a matter of time before he closed the show.


By the end of the seventh round it was practically impossible to see a way back for Butler, he had lost every round to that point and suffered two knockdowns, but to his credit he was continuing to throw punches despite the pain being inflicted upon him. He’ll have his detractors about his dedication over the missed weight, and rightfully so, but his heart cannot be questioned


Rodriguez seemed to box within himself for the next couple of rounds, in fact it is hard to know if he ever got anywhere near his top gear, but even at that pace he was still superior in every department to the former Bantamweight world champion. Every now and again Rodriguez would put a combination together and punish Butler but seemed happy to coast, almost content with systematically breaking down his rival.


There will be those who say Butler should have been withdrawn by his corner, his face increasingly bruised, battered and bloody with no chance of turning the odds in his favour, but they allowed him to continue and he deserves respect for hanging in there with a fearsome star in the making.


It was one sided from beginning to end and it is unlikely Rodriguez displayed his entire arsenal in this, there is every chance there is a lot more to come and that is worrying for the rest of the Bantamweight division.


There are rumours of a World Boxing Super Series at this weight and with the likes of Tete, Inoue, Burnett, Nery, McDonnell and now Rodriguez you have all the makings of a classic tournament.


For Butler it’s difficult to see his next step, it will be a big rebuild needed for him to get back to this level. He was too big for Super Flyweight but looks too small in stature at Bantam despite struggling with his weight. It is hard to believe he could have any kind of impact in a division above this so time will tell what the future holds.


Scorecards read: 118-108, 120-106 x2


Joyce takes Commonwealth gold


It has taken Joe Joyce just four fights to become the Heavyweight Commonwealth Champion as he just bulldozed through Lenroy Thomas in two rounds at the O2 Arena.


Joyce, an Olympic silver medallist, has been fast tracked due to his amateur pedigree but is already showcasing that he is more than ready for the more elite level of fighters in the land of the giants. It wasn’t particularly pretty to watch but Joyce (now 4-0 with 4 KO’s) looked in destructive mood as he just walked through his Jamaican foe and made him look like an unthreatening journeyman.


Thomas came out swinging to the body and head, finding Joyce a fairly static target, but the Londoner could not be budged and seemed completely unfazed by anything that was on offer from the defending champion. Joyce was trying to wing in huge hooks from out of range but was missing wildly at times, despite just constantly bombing forward and bullying Thomas. A right hand to the floating rib dropped Thomas at the end of round one and he looked extremely worried and apprehensive to continue against such an imposing foe.


A left hook stunned Thomas in round two and Joyce put the pressure on with yet more thunderous, thudding punches that eventually dropped the champion to the seat of his pants. He did climb to his feet and tried to absorb everything that Joyce bombarded him with but eventually a left hook on the inside took everything from Thomas’ legs, leaving him unable to continue as he slumped to the deck.


Joyce’s punches are extremely heavy and hurtful, you can hear the impact with every blow, and he will be a threat to anybody in this division, especially if he can maintain the relentless and frenetic pace that he set in this bout. There will be questions about his defense and the fact that he looked cumbersome at times, something that could potentially be exposed against better fighters, but for right now he is dismantling everything put in front of him and he’s ready for bigger tests.


Tennyson stuns Ward


James Tennyson knocked out Martin J Ward in the fifth round of a fantastic shootout for the European, Commonwealth and WBA International Super Featherweight Championships.


Tennyson was forced to climb off the deck in the second round from a sickening body shot but got back to his work and his rugged, aggressive approach was too much for Ward to handle, bullying the Essex man onto the ropes and letting rip with destructive punches that finally proved too much, taking Ward’s European and Commonwealth belts as well as his undefeated record.


Ward started the fight behind his sharp, impressive jab and looked to be boxing well. More renowned for his ability rather than punching power and it was proving so, the Tibbs trained fighter was moving in and out of range and raiding Tennyson before the Irishman could get any shots of his own off.


A left hook to the body forced a wince out of Tennyson in round two and shortly thereafter a second hook sent him to his knees, visibly winded and in a fair bit of distress. Tennyson survived the round but it was clear in the third that he was still feeling the strain as Ward poured it on with more damaging punches the abdomen and looking to throw uppercuts on the inside. The defending European and Commonwealth champion was looking a class above his opponent at this time, his punch selection and variety demonstrating his quality.


But Ward was becoming complacent and standing in the pocket for too long, allowing the heavy handed Tennyson to land blows of his own. A right hand counter in round three should have been a warning shot but Ward did not heed it and in the fourth he was on the receiving end once again, a big left hook and then a powerful right hand had him holding up close as he tried to avoid any more serious damage.


Tennyson had the bit between his teeth now and sensed a weakness in his opponent, choosing to step up in the fifth round and take Ward to the cleaners. Ward tried to fight fire with fire but he was no match for Tennyson’s sheer determination and strength, a left hook hurt him before a flurry of left and rights to the head sent Ward staggering back to the ropes. Tennyson swarmed with yet more blows and Ward dropped to his knees, choosing to take a count. He did rise but it was clear that his legs had no weight in them and Tennyson rushed in, landing a massive uppercut in close that forced the referee to catch Ward before he hit the deck.


Tennyson (22-2 with 18 KO’s) finds himself ranked #2 with the WBA so it will be interesting to see where his promotional team take him next. He may decide it is too early, at 24, to fight for world honours and choose to defend his newly won titles instead. The Super Featherweight division is full of exciting fights for Tennyson, who upsets the odds and now finds himself with the world at his feet.


Early results:


Joshua Buatsi continued his impressive rise in the professional ranks as he stopped France’s Stephane Cuevas in the fifth round of a scheduled eight. The left jab couldn’t miss for Buatsi and he was doubling it up with hurtful left hooks to the body of his French opponent. Buatsi works everything from his jab and was crunching stiff body punches in the second stanza before stepping on the gas in the third, a right hand briefly dipping the knees of Cuevas. Buatsi continued his work, breaking the opposition down, and then a plethora of heavy, dangerous looking right hands in the fifth had the Frenchmen seeing stars and prompted the referee to stop the fight. Cuevas was game and in shape for a fight but in levels he found himself below his foe by a considerable distance. Buatsi (6-0 with 4 KO’s) displays patience beyond his years and a cold, cerebral rhythm that will stand him in great stead as he rises the 175lbs rankings. There will be those who question his potential until he is tested properly but he certainly has the talent to trouble anyone, undoubtedly on the domestic scene at the very least. A shot at English or Area titles should definitely be on the agenda next.


Luke Campbell took a stay busy fight and dismantled Troy James, forcing the referee to step in at the beginning of the fifth round, scheduled for six. This fight was announced just days ago as Campbell treads water waiting for a shot at a final eliminator for the WBC Lightweight Championship and a chance at redemption over Yvan Mendy, the only man to defeat him as a professional. Campbell (now 18-2 with 15 KO’s) boxed beautifully behind his jab, using his vast reach and height advantage, whilst putting together sharp, crisp and accurate punches that had James down twice before the official halted proceedings. A left uppercut and right hook around the guard put James down in the second whilst a short lead right hand forced him to a knee once more in the fourth stanza. Campbell worked the body well of his slightly out of shape opponent, James weighing in at near Welterweight for a Super Lightweight contest Coventry’s Troy James showed grit and resilience, considering the short notice, but he is not in Campbell’s league and was little more than a fine tuning for the Olympic gold medallist before he once again moves toward a world crown, his first attempt just evaded him last September against Jorge Linares.


Newport’s Kody Davies wasted absolutely no time in dispatching of Przemyslaw Gargon in the first of a scheduled four rounds. Davies, trained by former world champion Gavin Rees and backed by Hayemaker Promotions, sank a left into the ribcage of Gargon and rendered him unable to continue. It is unclear as of yet what weight class Davies (now 4-0 with 2 KO’s) will box at full time, he contested this bout around Light Heavyweight but is also capable of hitting Cruiserweight as he did in his amateur days.


Jordan Gill made it twenty professional victories without a defeat as he boxed his way to a clear six round victory over Ireland’s Carl McDonald. Gill (20-0 with 4 KO’s) is a terrific talent in a very stacked and competitive Featherweight division. With only four knockouts from twenty wins his power may be questionable but his skills are not, a meeting with stablemate Reece Bellotti could happen later in the year although there are plenty of other names in the mix to test Gill at a higher level.

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