By Alexey Sukachev
Copper Box, London - It was vulnerability and some boxing ability from Tyson Fury. The flamboyant British heavyweight survived some scary moments but ultimately annihilated American mid-Western journeyman Joey "Minnesota Ice" Abell in four rounds with the same number of knockdowns.
WBO #7 and WBC #8 Fury (now 22-0, with 16 KOs) was out of action for ten months, whilst Abell was coming off a knockout loss to Kubrat Pulev last November. Fury showed some ring rust early on but it very well could be his showboating rather than actual rustiness. Fury, determined to showcase his boxing skills, tried to jab his way out in the first couple of rounds. Abell, meanwhile, seeing the given chance to offend the British boxer, didn't ask for another request and tried to tag Fury early on. He was successful almost immediately, putting a right accent on his southpaw stance. Fury was rocked with a left bomb midst into the first, and he also was hit a couple of times in the second round. One of these left hands forced Fury's knees to buckle but Abell was unable to capitalize on that. He was also warned for using his head in inappropriate manner.
In the third, Fury began to pick his overmatched opponent apart. He smoothered Abell's attacking bursts, then landed a quick right hand following a double jab to send the American down for the first time. Abell was up but he was forced to take a knee at the end of the round after a smashing left bomb by Fury in a wild exchange. Fury also showed some dirtiness, hitting Abell below the beltline after the break. The demolition continued in the fourth stanza but not without hint of adversity. Abell went in and landed some shots on Fury, before the latter turned the attack back on Abell and put him down for the third time. The brave opponent continued fighting but the end was near and it came after another big right hand, which sent Abell down. The American was ready to go but referee Jeff Hinds rightfully waved it off at 1:36 of the fourth round. Abell is now 29-8, with 28 KOs.
WBO #12 super middleweight Frank Buglioni (12-0, 9 KOs) showed refined skills and woeful punching power in a fifth-round blowout of Italian challenger Gaetano Nespro (21-10-1, 3 KOs). Buglioni retained his WBO Europe title in process.
Veteran Nespro, 34, feeling his diminutive stature and physical presence against bigger, stronger Buglioni, ten years his younger, started to utilize his footwork, or (it's better to say) run laterally from the very first round. It was a wise move, as Nespro definitely couldn't match Buglioni's punching power. He tried to stick and move, to use his jab and to explode in short bursts but it didn't help him much. The British fighter smartly cut angles and forced Nespro to stay in corners longer that it could be safe.
Nespro withstood the punishment for three rounds but early into the fourth Buglioni forced him down at the corner following a wicked combo of blows. The Italian got up and continued fighting but the end was within the visible range. Midst into the fifth Buglioni caught Nespro on his way along the ropes with a big left hook, and down went the Italian. He got up but soon the Brit landed a large right hand to put Nespro down for good. Referee Mikael Hook waved it off with 25 seconds remaining in the round.
Welterweight Georgie Kean (3-0, 1 KO) confidently beat his overmatched opponent Dee Mitchell (9-52-1, 2 KOs) over four rounds of one-sided action. Mitchell was wobbled several times throughout the contest but managed not only to finish the fight on his feet but he hasn't been knocked down as well. The sole score was 40-36 - for Kean.
In a horrendous stinker, skillful but unspectacular British welterweight (and BBBofC English champion) Bradley Skeete (15-0, 4 KOs) acquired his first international title with a one-sided unanimous decision over tough but not as fast and not as smart Frenchman Christopher Sebire. Skeete was better in every possible department, moving around Sebire, dominating him with his speed combined with a sneaky jab. Sebire tried hard to do something meaningful but his actions didn't support his intentions. Ultimately, the Frenchman's footwork and hand speed weren't enough to prevent Skeete, 26, from his continuous movement. All rounds were pretty much alike, and they weren't memorable at all.
At the end, all three judges saw it in favour of the Brit with big margins: 120-108 (Terry O'Connor), 119-109 (Dave Parris) and 117-111 (Joerg Milke). Skeete is now the WBA I/C welterweight champion. Sebire drops down to 22-8, with 8 KOs.
Steve Collins Jr. (3-0-1), the son of the Celtic Warrior of the same name, suffered his first setback, being held to a draw by unheralded Tommy Gifford (1-2-1, 1 KO). Collins Jr. started fast but ran out of gas and imagination in the last two rounds. The sole score was 38-38 - a draw.
Hughie Fury, the younger breed of the fighting family, had an easy time out, stopping American journeyman Matthew Greer (16-12, 13 KOs) in two rounds. After a quiet initial round, Fury turned on heat in the second, sending Greer down thrice: after a left hand to the body, then with a hard right to the ribs, and finally with a savage right hand, which put the American down for the count of referee Jeff Hinds (which has been complete despite a thrown towel). Time was 2:37 of the 2nd round. Fury is now 13-0, with 8 KOs.
Former British Olympian Thomas Stalker improved to 6-0, with 2 KOs, following a one-sided win over career journeyman Dan Carr (3-52-2, 2 KOs) in six rounds. Stalker looked flashy and exciting against a very limited opponent but failed to stop Carr, who was knocked out just once in not-so-illustrous career. The sole score was 60-53 - for Stalker.
Junior welterweight prospect Billy Morgan (9-1) saw his undefeated run go up in smoke as he dropped a six round decision to the more experienced Michael Grant (14-4, 1KOs). The sole score was 58-57.
Super bantamweight Lewis Pettitt (13-1, 4KOs) won a six round decision over Elemir Rafael (27-78-2, 5KOs). The scores was 60-53.