By Alexey Sukachev
Echo Arena, Liverpool - WBC #5 and WBO #7 cruiserweight Tony Bellew has further strengthed his claim as being the best British 200lber (one which will not be supported by such fighters as Ovill McKenzie, Ola Afolabi and Nathan Cleverly) by stopping rugged Brazilian import Julio Cesar Dos Santos (26-3, 23 KOs) for the first time in a career of the latter.
WBO #11 Dos Santos had some blemishes in his technique but he made up for them in his courage and determination. He wished to deal as much damage as he took but his limited abilities prevented him from producing a major scare for Bellew. Nevertheless, the Liverpudlian looked good in the first couple of rounds. Dos Santos had some moments in the third, repeatedly hurting Bellew with two big right hands. The British fighter came back in the fourth with some power of his own.
In the fifth, Dos Santos forgot his awareness and was punished for that mercilessly. Bellew threw a right hand coupled with a left hook, which sent Do Santos down. He eventually rose on unsteady legs forcing a referee to wave it off at 1:17 of the fifth round. Bellew (22-3-1, 14 KOs) retained his WBO International title for the very first time.
British newest heavyweight hope Anthony Joshua (7-0, 7 KOs) added the first sound name to his ever-growing resume. It took 2012 London super heavyweight gold medalist for the UK a round and a half to demolish grizzled veteran Matt Skelton (28-9, 23 KOs).
Skelton, already 47, was the first one to land a punch on an opponent, twice as young. Joshua answered with some hard shots in the first but no one was considerably hurt. It all changed in the second, when Joshua began to deliver heat to Skelton. Late into the second minute of the round, Joshua put him for down with a wicked right hand. Skelton got up but was soon stopped by referee Steve Gray after a few more punches at 2:33 of the round.
Former WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly continued his cruiserweight adventures with a dominating fourth-round TKO of overmatched Argentinean Alejandro Emilio Valori (15-5, 11 KOs).
Cleverly was the first one to take a significant punch when Valori landed a major left uppercut. He failed to go on with it though. Cleverly has gradually got into the fight and started delivering heat in round two. It's when Valori went down on a hard left hook to his liver. He has gamely got up but was beaten to the punch from there on.
In the third, Cleverly continued to dig deep with his body shots. Valori tried some punches of his own but was limited to rare offensive outbursts. Cleverly continued his body-punching therapy in the fourth and soon had Valori reeling, then put him down for the second time with the same left hook to the liver. Referee Terry O'Connor had seen enough and waved it off at 1:16 of the sixth.
WBA/WBO #12 and IBF #13 Cleverly (28-1, 14 KOs) has successfully retained his WBA I/C title for the very first time.
Callum "Mundo" Smith (12-0, 9 KOs), brother of Stephen Smith (and also of Paul Smith and Liam Smith) was forced to go the distance in his toughest match-up to date, which he has done with ease, clearly outpointing brave but limited US-based native of Cape Verde Vladine Biosse (15-4-2, 7 KOs) over ten rounds.
Smith was on a hot nine-fight kayo streak, while Biosse has lost his last outing via TKO to J'Leon Love. However, the guest fighter wasn't here for being rid out easily. Supported by no other than reigning WBO light middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade, who worked his corner, he chose to openly oppose Smith's supreme punching power and eagerly engaged into numerous rumbles. Smith was convincingly better than Biosse but he too had to take some shots in order to deliver his share of leather.
Biosse's best chance came in the fifth when he pinned Smith to the ropes with a combination of punches, but WBC #15 British fighter survived this short explosion. Smith's aggression increased with each fought round, but Biosse fought to the very end despite serious advantage by Smith.
At the end, two judges (and BoxingScene) had it 99-91, and one scored it 100-90 - for Callum Smith, who has retained his WBC International super middleweight title. His next fight may be a terrific Liverpudlian derby against Rocky Fielding.
2012 London bantamweight gold medalist Luke Campbell (6-0, 4 KOs) resumed his boxing career with a convincing decision over awkward and elusive Welsh "Smiler" Craig Woodruff (5-4, 2 KOs) in six three-minute rounds. Woodruff proved to be a tough opponent for the Olympic champion, who was forced to work every minute of every round. He was better in every department, but Woodruff managed to remain competitive up to the very end of the fight. Final score was 60-54 - for Campbell.
Pills can be sweet too. English boxing fans, who are mostly soccer fans as well, got one watching their favorite Rocky Fielding getting the better of Uruguayan super middleweight veteran Noe Tulio Gonzalez Alcoba over five exciting rounds. Fielding is a cousin of English national team's captain Stevie G(errard), who was an integral part of another bitter setback for the English squad, which was painfully defeated by Team Uruguay 1-2 at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Alcoba didn't hesitate to revive the nightmare, entering the ring in the Uruguay squad's T-shirt. His start also resembled a rocky beginning of his homeland's way to triumph, as Fielding dominated the first. Alcoba, however, did much better in the second with his counter left hooks dealing more and more damage to the Englishman. Fielding was better in the third but then the Uruguayan found extra room for his right hands and, once again, for his left bombs in the fourth.
Thinking he had smelled something Alcoba got berserk in the fifth, and soon was caught off-guard on his way in by a major left hand by Fielding. He remained upright but was soon decked after a subsequent left-right-left combo. The Liverpudlian waited no time in finishing off Alcoba with another freaky barrage of hard punches.
The end, issued by referee Terry O'Connor, came at 1:07 of the fifth. IBF #8 Fielding is now a proud holder of the WBA I/C super middleweight title, and improved to 19-0, with 11 KOs. Alcoba gets down to 30-4, 22 KOs, and suffers his third (stoppage) loss in the last five fights.
Super featherweight Stephen Smith (20-1, 12 KOs) successfully tuned up for an eagerly awaited world title shot with an uneventful and hardly watchable eight-round decision over Mexican journeyman Pedro Navarrete (28-19-3, 18 KOs). The sole score (from a referee) was 78-75 - Smith; Sky Sports had it wider 79-73, while this reporter had it also 79-73 - for Smith, although any score from 77-75 to 80-72 would have been well justified as the difference between two fighters was seemingly invisible.
WBC #3, WBO #9 and IBF #10 Smith was more aggressive in the first, Navarrete took the second with better punches, and the rest of the fight was mostly even, with Smith getting a slight advantage in every round due to one or two extra blows landed. The percentage of connected punches in this international friendly was very low from both parties, however, as both combatants ended the contest quietly to their mutual joy. Smith is still being on the verge of challenging WBC champion Takashi Miura in an occasional title shot, which he should be much more impressive in.
2012 London Olympian (for the UK) Anthony Ogogo improved to 7-0, with 4 KOs, after the fifth-round stoppage over Prizefighter alumni Wayne Reed (10-9, 5 KOs) in a middleweight contest, scheduled for six.
Ogogo dropped Reed with the left hook almost immediately, also provoking a solid cut on the head of Reed. The Olympian continued to wing freely in the second, rocking Reed several times at the end of the round. Ogogo went on with his domination in the third stanza, then both boxers started to rumble in the fourth. The favorite was much faster, landing his punches at will, while Reed hit mostly the air around Ogogo. Early in the fifth, Ogogo landed a major right hand, pinning Reed to the corner, then connected with several combos, the last consisting of four unanswered punches, prompting referee Steve Gray to intervene at 1:06 of the stanza.
Tags: Tony Bellew , Rocky Fielding , Stephen Smith , Anthony Joshua , Anthony Ogogo , Callum Smith , Luke Campbell