Alen Babic pressures Tom Little into defeat, while Liam Davies wins the English title and Jez Smith upsets the odds
Arguably the most intriguing fight on the Conor Benn vs Sebastian Formella undercard was the heavyweight contest (set for eight rounds) between unbeaten and ultra-aggressive Croatian Alen Babic, affiliated with Dillian Whyte, and seasoned Tom Little, who had mixed in higher class as a pro but often flattered to deceive.
Little seemed focused and determined in the build-up and weighed in at the lowest poundage of his career. Babic looks more suited to cruiserweight, although he isn’t keen on that opinion, but his 5-0 record coming in had not seen him go past round three.
Babic began at a typically frenetic pace, but Little matched him for the most part, tucking up and landing accurately to the body. Babic was throwing plenty more but tough Little talked to him and avoided a lot of the incoming. He seemed intent on taking Babic into the later rounds and running over him. Little’s head movement and footwork had Alen missing wildly at times.
Babic kept ploughing forward though and flashed those fast hands, dropping Little with accumulation and pressure in the third. Tom bravely fought on but was decked again, and stopped while on the canvas, near the end of the round. Still no fourth session for “The Savage”.
Liam Davies and Sean Cairns, two well-schooled operators, competed for the vacant English bantamweight title. Unbeaten Davies threw in greater volume, mostly off the jab, and was the more fluid, but southpaw Cairns, Central Area ruler, looked the heavier hitter early on and was dangerous with the straight left in particular. As the fight progressed, Davies dished out increasing punishment, busting his tiring opponent up until the latter’s corner understandably withdrew him after round six (of 10 scheduled).
In a super-middle six added to the card at late notice, Jez Smith outboxed Ben Ridings to take his ‘0’ after three wins. Smith won every round for the referee, 60-54.