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Hooks and jabs: Pitters prevails, Johnson stuns Hernandez

On a busy night of boxing across Europe, Birmingham’s towering Shakan Pitters knew far too much for a persistent but pedestrian Chad Sugden to claim the vacant British light-heavyweight title in Redditch on Saturday night. Scores were 118-111 (twice) and 119-110.

With a smooth jab and unruffled rhythm, Pitters won as he pleased and hurt Sugden with an overhand right in the penultimate round. But the Newark man survived and, despite a late burst in the closing 30 seconds, was always chasing a losing cause.

“Chad was very game and I take my hat off to him. I kept it long and punished him as he came in,” said Pitters. “He was a very tough opponent but he didn’t trouble me. I wanted to keep things basic and it worked. I’m always learning and this was my first twelve-rounder. I’d give that performance a six or seven out of ten. It was a decent performance but I’m always improving.”

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Elsewhere, heavyweight veteran Kevin Johnson derailed the comeback of former IBF cruiserweight king Yoan Pablo Hernandez at the Elbau Park Floating Stage in Magdeburg, Germany.

The 40-year-old Johnson was uncharacteristically aggressive, flooring the skilful Cuban in the fourth before finishing his man with a left hook in the seventh. Hernandez had returned after a six-year layoff with dreams of a run at the heavyweight elite.

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In a WBC cruiserweight title eliminator, Aleksei Papin overcame an apparent points deficit to down fellow Russian Ruslan Fayfer at the Pyramide in Kazan, Russia.

Fayfer had boxed smartly inside, avoiding Papin’s heavy artillery with a solid defence and upper body movement. Yet in the sixth, the big-punching Papin suddenly dropped Fayfer with a left hook and two right hands to the temple. Fayfer scrambled up but the fight was waved off.

Papin now moves on to a rematch with WBC champion Ilunga Makabu who narrowly outpointed him in August 2019.