Joshua Buatsi overcame a stern test, but managed to keep hold of his WBA International light-heavyweight title with a seventh round stoppage of Croatian Marko Calic at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes on Sunday night.
Calic (11-1, 6 K0s) was expected to be nothing more than a walkover for the returning Buatsi, however he was anything but. He had no problem penetrating Buatsi’s defence with some solid right hands and caused the Londoner a real problem with damage to the left eye.
It was new territory for Buatsi (13-0, 11 KOs) who has so far garnered rave reviews since turning over to the pro ranks and the Olympic bronze medalist appeared to be struggling to get to grips with Calic. But, like all good champions, he found a way and began to press forward and land with some sickening blows, although Calic initially refused to wilt.
Buatsi sensed an opening and he wasn’t about to let Calic off the hook. Calic switched to southpaw and Buatsi took his chance. He flashed in a right hand that put the Croatian down and, after beating the count, just, Buatsi closed in with Calic in retreat. The end seemed close and Calic’s corner saw it, too, with the Croatian’s cornerman waving the towel and saving his man, whose stock will deservedly rise for another day.
For Buatsi, it was an important test, as he toughed it out with an unexpectedly good opponent. Credit to the matchmaker and Buatsi can now move on to bigger and better things with the gut check passed and his status as an undefeated star intact.
Chantelle Cameron became the WBC super-lightweight world champion, as she cruised to a unanimous decision win over a lacklustre opponent in Adriana Dos Santos Araujo. The double-Olympian from Brazil, failed to make the weight, in fact she barely came close to it and was easy pickings for Cameron, for whom it looked like a glorified sparring session at times.
The 29-year-old remained composed and maintained her discipline, which could easily have slipped with so little coming back. It was a good performance in the end from the Northampton star, now 13-0 with 7 KOs, who no doubt has her sights set on more world title glory in the near future. All three scorecards awarded Cameron the win 100-90 after the one-sided affair.
Linus Udofia (16-0, 8 KOs) retained his English middleweight title with a workmanlike performance over John Harding Jr. (8-2-1, 2 KOs), stopping the Dillian Whyte protege in the ninth with a stiff right hand. Harding started well, but took a big shot at the end of the first and, from then on, it was Udofia in total control.
The Nigerian-born champion pressed forward, working behind a piston-like jab whilst Harding replied with his own big shots. However, he never seemed to put a dent in Udofia, who gradually took him apart and can now look to push on towards a future British title shot.
Entertaining heavyweight Alen Babic moved to 5-0 and maintained his 100% stoppage record, this time at the expense of Ireland’s Niall Kennedy (13-2-1, 8 KOs). The Croatian “Savage” bludgeoned Kennedy from the opening bell before Ian John-Lewis saved him from more punishment after 34 seconds of the third round.
Kennedy was officially down in the third before the stoppage and also in the second, which was somehow missed by the hapless John-Lewis and ruled a slip. Babic may be crude but is certainly worth a watch with his seek and destroy style.
In a fight that was originally scheduled for August’s Fight Camp, Aqib Fiaz improved to 6-0 after getting the better of Kane Baker, 77-75 on points. Fiaz, who is trained by Jamie Moore, boxed well and showed flashes of potential but Baker, who slips to 13-7, gave him plenty to think about, especially as he came on strong towards the end. Still, a deserved win for the Oldham prospect.
The 18-year-old John Hedges received the big billing for his pro debut and, it’s safe to say, he failed to live up too it, as he earned a debatable 39-37 points win over Jan Ardon (2-5). A poor decision by referee John-Lewis, albeit very unsurprising.