By Jake Donovan
Anthony Ogogo enjoyed a successful pro debut with a second round knockout of journeyman Kieron Gray in their co-feature bout Saturday evening in Sheffield, England.
Consecutive right hands were enough to put Gray down and eventually out at 2:00 of round two.
Ogogo was making his first ring appearance since his Olympic Gold medal run in the 2012 London Games. The sculpted middleweight looked flawless in the ring, though admitted to mild pre-fight jitters in his first sanctioned fight without headgear and oversized gloves.
"There werew a few nerves," Ogogo confessed. "I haven't boxed in the better part of a year. But I love boxing and I couldn't wait to get in there and go."
The moment Ogogo let his hands go spelled the beginning of the end for Gray, who never really stood a chance. A clear-cut opening round paved the way for the explosive ending in round two. Gray was repeatedly caught with power shots, but Ogogo showed the poise of a veteran fighter in building towards the spectacular finish.
A right hand caught Gray flush on the chin, leaving him frozen and unprepared for the follow-up. Ogogo (1-0, 1KO) loaded up and hit a bulls-eye with a second right hand to send Gray crashing to the canvas.
Referee Michael Anderson shouted out the mandatory eight count but recognized a deflated fighter in front of him. The third man waved his hands in the air and grabbed Gray (5-14-1, 1KO), informing the 35-year old that his night was through.
Now that the first one is out of the way, Ogogo is anxious to get back in the ring. The good news for the British middleweight is that his handlers are equally as eager to keep the momentum going.
"We can see a lot of Anthony Ogogo," stated Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, who signed Ogogo fresh of the Olympics last year. "The plan is to get him his U.S. debut on May 18 in Atlantic City (Lamont Peterson faces Lucas Matthysse in the headliner). We want to get him built up. The plan is to make him into the next global superstar."
Ogogo's pro debut served as the chief support to Amir Khan's homecoming showcase versus Julio Diaz, which airs live on Boxnation and later this evening via tape delay on Showtime.
WILDER STOPS HARRISON IN ONE
Deontay Wilder picks up his most significant win to date, scoring a first-round knockout of Audley Harrison in a matchup of past Olympic medalists.
The bout was over almost as soon as it had a chance to get going. Both fighters began pawing with jabs, but a right hand from Wilder was all it took to change that in a hurry. Harrison was knocked off balance and miserably failed to protect himself, attempting to take a knee but instead left himself trapped and defenseless in a corner.
Wilder went for broke, connecting with a left hook and launching wild overhand rights before eventually forcing Harrison to the canvas. Wilder literally fell on top of Harrison after missing with a right hand, but landed two more shots before portly referee Terry O'Connor finally made his way in between the heavyweights.
Harrison arose on shaky legs, but appeared to wait out the count in hopes of continuing. The third man decided otherwise, insisting that Harrison was on unsteady legs as he disallowed the Brit to continue.
The official time was 1:10 of round one.
Wilder improves to 28-0 (28KO) with the win, still having yet to be taken beyond the fourth round of any prize fight. The 6'7" American heavyweight fought outside of North America for the first time since capturing Olympic bronze in the 2008 Beijing Games.
Harrison's latest setback could prove to be the end of the road. The 41-year old suffers his second straight 1st round knockout loss as he falls to 31-7 (23KO). The 2000 Olympic Gold medalist has never quite panned out as a pro, with Saturday's result just the latest entry in a disappointing pro career.
Haroon Khan enjoyed a successful - if uninspiring - pro debut with a four-round points win over Brett Fidore. The score of 40-37 in favor of Khan (1-0, 0KO) was accurate in that the action was generally one way, with Fidore (1-3, 1KO) offering a decent account in the early going to register an even round in the eyes of the referee.
Gary Sykes picked up his fourth straight win after taking a 10-round decision over Jon Kays in their regional super featherweight title fight.
A relatively even fight through five rounds turned in Sykes' favor thanks to a determined body punching attack. Scores of 97-94, 98-94 and 98-93 all read in favor of Sykes, who advances to 24-3 (5KO). Kays was valiant in defeat, but falls to 16-3-1 (4KO) as a four-fight unbeaten streak comes to a close.
Lightweight contender Terry Flanningan (20-0, 6KOs) stopped former unified champion Nate Campbell (36-11-1, 26KOs) in four rounds of action. Campbell, who drops his second straight, put in a very lackluster performance and quit after four, claiming a hand injury.
Local (Doncaster) super welterweight Adam Jones (2-3-1, 0KO) fought to a four round draw with Polands Tomasz Mazurikew (5-8-3, 1KO). The lone score was 38-38 in the matchup of clubfighters.
Unbeaten super welterweight Rick Godding was given his moneys worth in taking a six-round decision over veteran Bradley Price. The lone score was 58-56 for Godding, who advances to 19-0-1 (3KO). Pryce, always a tough out no matter the competition, suffers his third straight defeat as his record now stands at 33-13 (18KO).
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
Tags: British Boxing , Golden Boy Promotions , Gary Sykes , Deontay Wilder , Nate Campbell , Terry Flanagan , Anthony Ogogo , Wilder-Harrison , Wilder vs. Harrison