Anthony Yarde’s heavy hands gradually beat the fight out of a game Dec Spelman en route to a sixth round stoppage victory at the York Hall, Bethnal Green, on Saturday night.
The poise and power of Yarde was simply too much, and now the former WBO title challenger can look towards a rearranged encounter with Commonwealth champion Lyndon Arthur before he aims for another tilt at world honours. The fight with Arthur is currently scheduled for October 24, but is likely to be pushed back to November 21 or 28.
The win meant something extra for Yarde after the fighter lost both his father and grandmother to the Covid-19 Pandemic.
“As everyone knows, I have been through a lot,” Yarde told BT Sport’s Steve Bunce afterwards. “I am not an emotional person, but this win in particular meant a lot.
“I’m being more patient, looking for my shots, landing better shots, I’m being defensively responsible. I’m just going through the gears. Everyone knows I’ve got a lot more to give. When I want to open up I can, but that’s not what it is about. It is about earning in the ring, landing the critical shots, working the jab.”
It was a cagey, almost reserved opening from Yarde (20-1, 19 KOs), but from the third the Ilford banger cranked up the pressure. The light-heavyweight contender started to unload heavy, hurtful shots including a notable left uppercut, making Spelman work every second to compete.
Typically, the game Spelman (16-5, 8 KOs) dug in and had his moments. But Yarde was starting to measure a stiff right hand and rocked back Spelman’s head with a hefty right uppercut in the fourth. Yarde concentrated on Spelman’s body in the fifth with some hellacious shots as the Scunthorpe man’s resistance gradually began to ebb.
In the sixth, the increase in intensity paid off as a long right hand snapped back Spelman’s head and sent him backpedalling with Yarde in hot pursuit. He unloaded a series of heavy, bludgeoning blows before a right hand by the ear sent Spelman down. He rose, but referee Michael Alexander had seen enough.
Battersea bomber Denzel Bentley and Oldham puncher Mark Heffron shared the spoils in their eagerly-awaited middleweight encounter. All three judges scored 95-95, in a rare unanimous draw.
Heffron (25-1-1, 19 KOs) looked bright early, but that good work was undone when Bentley switched to southpaw and dropped him with a straight left hand in the second. An aggressive Heffron reasserted himself, but in a battle of 160lbs punchers it seemed Bentley held the crisper, one-shot power in tandem with a slick jab.
Bentley caught the eye with a right uppercut and left hook salvo in the fourth, but he got bulled into corners in the fifth as Heffron’s intensity and physicality came into play. Heffron was on the front foot and appeared to be taking the fight by the scruff of the neck after the midway point though Bentley still impressed with his sharp counters.
The Battersea man boxed adroitly on the back foot in the eighth, but he endured a rough ninth. He was rocked by a left hook and Heffron smelled blood, unleashing stiff right hands for the remainder of the round.
A slicker Bentley (13-0-1, 11 KOs) employed better movement in the last and reeled off impressive combinations to outfox Heffron. It seemed enough to seal the verdict but the judges couldn’t split them.
Nottingham’s unbeaten Ekow Essuman was too polished for rugged Frenchman Cedric Peynaud, handily winning the vacant IBF European welterweight title on the cards. Scores were 100-90, 98-93 and 98-92.
Essuman (14-0, 5 KOs) looked assured behind the jab with the switch-hitting Peynaud occasionally threatening at close-quarters early on. In the third, Essuman began to punish Ceynaud to the body and catch the Frenchman square on while he was adjusting stances.
After appearing to fade in the previous round, Peynaud (8-8-3, 4 KOs) regrouped in the fourth and gave Essuman a solid argument in the middle rounds. The Nottingham man enjoyed his best work in eighth, bullying Peynaud to the ropes and doubling him up with a stout body attack. A stoppage never looked likely, but it proved a decent workout for Essuman in his debut for Queensberry Promotions.
Bradford’s flashy feather Amin Jahanzeb (7-0, 2 KOs) was too sharp for Stockport’s resolute Jamie Quinn (7-103-2 and 1 NC, 0 KOs). Jahanzeb showed some wicked left hooks to the body and won as he pleased against a gutsy late sub. Referee Marcus McDonnell scored 60-54.
In an upset, Blackpool’s unheralded Ed Harrison (2-4, 0 KOs) derailed lightweight hope Mohammad Bilal Ali (4-1, 1 KO) over four rounds. Referee McDonnell scored 39-37, after a mix-up where Ali was originally announced the victor.
Debutant Josh Frankham (1-0, 0 KOs), a cousin of WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, showed promise outhustling Stourbridge’s seasoned Kev McCauley (15-207-12, 0 KOs) in a 154lbs four-rounder. Referee McDonnell scored 40-36.
Main image: Queensberry Promotions.