By Alexey Sukachev
West Ham, Upton Park - Before a crowd of 30,000 screaming fans, former two-division champion David Haye (26-2, 24KOs) returned for the first time in a year and knocked out Dereck Chisora (15-4, 9KOs) in five rounds to capture the WBO/WBA International titles.
Chisora came out with a lot of pressure, trying to walk Haye down. Haye was forced to work hard and threw a lot of punches early. Chisora was very inactive, spending too much time waiting for a big shot. In the fifth round, a big left sent Chisora down and he was seriously hurt. Chisora was able to make it up. But Haye started unloading with several more hard, and accurate combinations, that sent Chisora down for the second time on his back. Chisora was able to get up at the count of eight and the referee waved it off.
Chisora looked much bigger than Haye, but David was visibly the faster of the two. It mattered in the opening stanza, when Del Boy tried to bully Haye from the get-go. Haye was elusive and showed refined lateral movement to avoid Dereck's hammer-like shots in close quarters. Chisora tried to be active, and he was, but Haye's jab put him at bay. Meanwhile, Hayemaker boxed at his best and looked like he was fighting at his best; his hands being dangerously down but flying with almost demonic speed every time he chose to throw them. Otherwise, the first round was even.
Chisora pressed the action in the second, trying to corner Haye and to force him into a slippery position under Dereck's heavy fire. But it wasn't the case tonight. Chisora looked way too heavy and hence way too slow than David Haye. The former champion landed a couple of power shots and then winged a right hand to Chisora's whiskers to stun him for a second. The end of the round was also in his favor.
Feeling something was going really wrong, Chisora made a desperate attempt to knock Haye out with wild swings (while jumping in on the inside) in the third, his best round of the fight. At first, his tactics didn't work well for him, and he ate a diet of leather. However, at the end of the round, Chisora hammered Haye's defense with a couple of bombs from upside and forced him into retreat to the center of the ring. While in retreat Haye ate a couple of hooks from Chisora and smiled in appreciation of what really were punches of note. Both combatants almost continued their fistic actions during the subsequent break.
Haye came back to his brilliance once round four was on. But soon both fighters ignited more gasoline, and the gloves started flying while the girls were crying. Chisora was the first to land but Haye took his punch well and landed much harder blows in return. The last hook forced Chisora to step back to the ropes, where he had been eating some damaging blows (even despite his tight guard) for another 40 seconds, Chisora tried to win back the round but simply didn't do enough to secure any points. Haye, meanwhile, clinched on the inside and also tried to avoid being hit cleanly.
Round five looked the same for the first two minutes: slower Chisora looked for a sudden opportunity for a wild hook or two but finds none. Haye, definitely winning much in a velocity department, felt little danger here. Late in the round (with about 45-50 seconds remaining), Chisora sneaked in to the ropes but Haye landed a hammering left hook followed by a huge left hook to the ear of an already shaken Chisora, and Del Boy went down heavily. He stood up at six (by referee Luis Pabon) and continued fighting. He marched forward but Haye was unstoppable. He delivered several blows to pin Chisora to the middle of the ring and then fired a three-punch combination with the last left hook being the most damaging of all inn the fight. Chisora went down to the canvas very hard but managed to get up. At made it up but wobbled up. Chisora was still shaken and it was enough for referee Luis Pabon to stop the fight with seconds remaining in the fifth.
It was one of the biggest victories by the WBO #6-ranked David Haye in his notable career. He also acquired a couple of minor belts (WBO I/C and WBA International titles) in this victory. Afterwards, Haye said he was ready to fight Vitali Klitschko as soon as possible.
British lightweight Liam Walsh (13-0, 10 KOs) overcame a rocky start to get a not-so-spectacular victory over tough Italian Domenico Urbano (25-4-1, 10 KOs) via a technical knockout in the eighth round. Walsh acquired the vacant WBO European 135lb title in his first fight in a new weight class.
Urbano wasn't in the ring for beating though. He started to counter bigger and more talented Walsh from the beginning. The British battler wasn't fully concentrated and looked lost at moments, which didn't come as much of a surprise as he had lost his dad just days before this bout. Urbano landed a crisp left half-a-hook/half-an-uppercut to rock Walsh at the end of the first. From that point Walsh regroupped and began to use his boxing skills more. Rugged and wild Urbano tried to induce a street fight in the rind, often complained to legendary referee Mickey Vann and boxed rather dirty but Liam has been diligently boxing his way through all the obstacles.
Rounds three and four were in favour of the Brit. In the fifth, Urbano showed some signs of life and even connected with another big left. He also bullied Walsh to the corner at the end of the stanza but earned nothing but a cut right eye (after a legal punch) and a deducted point for hitting after the bell. In the sixth and in the seventh stanzas, Walsh continued his domination. Midst into the eighth, the Brit started to deliver punishment at will, and at 2:29 of the round referee Mickey Vann stepped in and waved it off after another series of hard body blows. Maybe it came too early.
Irish middleweight champion Gary O'Sullivan and veteran fighter Matthew Hall engaged into a fierce battle for the vacant WBO international middleweight title in front of half-an-empty West Ham arena. Hall, just 1-3 in his previous four fights, nicknamed "Torito", wore the colours of the Mexican flag on his trunks and behaved accordingly. He rushed in, trying to land his trademark left hook to the body of O'Sullivan, and added an overhand right on the occasion. O'Sullivan, whose moniker is "Spike", sported a Lemmy Killmister type of mustache and chose to fight smarter - doing his best to lure Hall into the trap.
After the even first round, the Irishman punctuated his advantage with a hard jab in the second. O'Sullivan's punches were better placed and landed cleaner but Hall never lost his determination, being more aggressive and more dedicated of the two. The shorter and a more shop-worn boxer, he did everything he could to best the Irishman with a number of thrown and landed blows, and he has definitely succeeded in that department. O'Sullivan started to look weary in the second half of the fight but he placed his aim with the same success and sharpness nevertheless. He also put his punches together better than the Englishman. The closing rounds were even but Hall's aggression could have been the decisive moment of the fight.
It didn't work out that way. All three judges awarded a bit of a dubious decision to Gary O'Sullivan (15-0, 9 KOs): 117-111 (Mickey Vann and Zoltan Enyedi) and 115-114 (John Coyle). Referee was Paul Thomas. BoxingScene had it a draw 114-114. Hall is now 24-6, with 16 KOs, and continues his way down in ranks.
21-year old welterweight gun Ronnie Heffron (10-0, 5 KOs) took another step in his ring education, scoring a well-earned but a hard-fought decision over well-known Irish veteran Peter McDonagh. Both fighters stood their ground, mostly in close quarters or at middle range. Heffron's speed prevailed, and his shots were faster and stronger than those of his opponent. McDonagh (now 18-24, 2 KOs), 34, tried all way through and delivered some heat to the younger fighter in the middle rounds. After eight rounds of action, all three scorecards were in favour of Heffron: 80-72, 80-73 and what was reported as 80-76.
Talented middleweight kayo artist Bradley Saunders (3-0, 2 KOs) was forced to go the distance for the first time in his career against durable professional loser Kevin McCauley (10-40-3), who was stopped just five times in his career. Saunders won this one on points.