By Terence Dooley
Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham - Anthony Joshua (17st 10lbs) didn’t show much affection to Raphael Zumbano Love (16st 2lbs) when wiping the Brazilian out in the second-round with a Lennox Lewis-esque right hand in the Birmingham show’s main event.
Glenn McCrory, a former Lewis foe, likened being hit by the former heavyweight world champion to “Being hit with bags of wet cement” and Joshua’s punches certainly sounded heavy despite a slightly laboured first round.
However, he lined his man up in the second before detonating a big right on Love’s chin. The 25-year-old is now 12-0 (12) and meets Kevin Johnson next. Love is 36-11-1 (29), the 34-year-old showed no sign of beating the count.
“This is the last arena I had to tick off the list,” said Joshua when speaking to Andy Scott of Sky Sports. “Birmingham was lively, thanks to everyone for coming out.”
“I feel a bit more confident with every fight that goes on. I’m fit, always getting stronger, and as long as we put on a good show I’ll be happy [referring to the Johnson fight].
“Now it’s time for the real test, the first real test for Anthony Joshua,” added Hearn.
Johnson was at ringside, he believes he has the ability to upset the odds on May 30. “I look forward to being the guy who stops him,” he said, which led to catcalls and boos from the crowd.
“I don’t want to go the distance. It’s going to be a stoppage, the meanest fight anyone’s ever seen. It’s going to be very easy.”
“We’re going to clash, may the best man win, but I’m sure everyone in here knows who the best man is,” was Joshua’s take on Johnson’s claims.
Birmingham's Khalid Yafai (8st 4lbs 3oz) quickly quelled the hopes of two-time Commonwealth title challenger Isaac Quaye (8st 4oz) by dispatching the Ghana-based boxer with a left hook at 1:22 of the first stanza.
The win lifts Yafai to 15-0 (10). Quaye is 27-11-1 (18)—"Pretty Boy Junior", 35, didn’t get a chance to find his way into the fight due to his 25-year-old opponent’s lightening quick start. Referee Shaun Messer certainly didn't make a mess of the stoppage and drew a line under the contest when it became clear that Quaye was out-gunned.
Local favourite Sam Eggington (10st 6lbs 6oz) continued his march up the ratings with a hard-fought seventh-round stoppage win over Joseph Lamptey (10st 4lbs 9oz) to pick up the vacant Commonwealth welterweight title and successfully defend his WBC International Silver belt.
Eggington is on a roll—he has posted wins over domestic rivals Denton Vassell (TKO 8) and Shayne Singleton (TKO 5) in recent fights—and rolled forward with swagger and confidence only to find Lamptey a tough nut to crack. The 33-year-old from Ghana cracked home a few shots of his own, but couldn’t shatter Eggington’s title hopes.
Indeed, Eggington’s persistence was rewarded at 2:05 of the seventh-round of the scheduled 12 rounder when referee Michael Alexader called time on the contest. A big right hook to the jaw was the most eye-catching punch of the final round;the stoppage moves Eggington to 15-2 (9). Lamptey falls to 18-6-1 (12).
“I can’t put this into words,” was the 21-year-old winner’s take on his latest title victory.
“It was a good performance from Sam—I felt that he needed to jump on him and trade,” was Hearn’s take on the bout. “Glenn Foot for the British (title) is the target.”
Liverpool’s Callum Smith (12st 4lbs 3oz) hammered Olegs Fedotovs (12st 2lbs 3oz) in the night’s third live TV fight. The Latvian was taken out at 1:36 of the first round to bring the curtain down early on the scheduled six-threes Super middleweight contest.
Fedetovs slipped to his sixth stoppage defeat, he is now 19-22 (13). The 30-year-old’s last stoppage reverse was a seventh-round TKO against Vincent Feigenbutz in November; he barely had a chance to throw, let alone land, a shot against “Mundo” and referee Shaun Messer had no choice but to stop the contest.
Smith rises to 16-0 (12). “I feel better now than I’ve ever done in my pro career,” revealed the 25-year-old contender. “Rounds are always good, but I like to think I’m a good finisher so if I see it (the stoppage) I try to get them out of there. I want to box on June 26 in Liverpool.”
“He’s ready,” said Hearn. “He’ll fight Christopher Rebrasse on June 26 at the Echo Arena.”
Hull’s Luke Campbell MBE (9st 12lbs) was equally as destructive when beating France’s Aboubeker Bechelaghem (9st 11lbs 2oz) in the third-round of a scheduled eight-threes lightweight bout. The 2012 Olympic bantamweight Gold Medalist looked sharp ahead of this summer’s mooted derby showdown with local rival Tommy Coyle.
Despite taking a few right hands in round two, the 27-year-old southpaw turned up the heat in the third with a flurry of shots, prompting referee Kevin Parker to stop it at 1:03 of the round—a sweeping right hook the pick of the punches. Bechelaghem, also 27, but that's where the similarities end, falls to 9-7-1 (0).
“I’m learning with each fight and getting better,” stated Campbell. “He was a tough test, he was game, came to win, but I got him out there.”
“He’s ready for any lightweight in the country,” said Hearn when asked about the Coyle fight. “We’re working on it. It’s very exciting times.”
“There’s nothing I’d like more than to finish Tommy Coyle in that ring,” added Campbell, 11-0 (9).
Matthew Macklin (11st 11lbs) kicked proceedings off with a second-round KO win over Hungary’s Sandor Micsko (11st 4lbs 5oz), his first fight since a 10th-round KO reverse to Jorge Sebastian Heiland in Ireland in November.
It was also the 32-year-old’s first fight in his hometown since September 2009, a sixth-round retirement win over Shalva Jomardashvili and he made short work of the Hungarian national middleweight champion.
A right to the midriff sucked the fight out of the visitor, who sat out the count and didn’t protest when referee Shaun Messer waved the fight off at 1:28 of the round. He falls to 25-9-2 (19).
“It was nice to get a win,” said Macklin, now 32-6 (21), when speaking to Sky Sports after the fight. “After four rounds against Heiland, I felt there was nothing there. I had a good rest, thought and it is possible I was just burnt out.
“There’s lots of options. I’m a big name in the middleweight division. I’ll take any 50-5o fight.”
“He’s still got it,” added Jamie Moore, his trainer. “As you get older, you adjust your training a little bit. I believe he can go on and win a world title.”
“The Daniel Jacobs fight (for the WBA belt) is one that can get made for the summer or September,” revealed Eddie Hearn. “I’m pretty sure you’ll see Matthew Macklin fighting for the world middleweight title next.”
Super middleweight prospect Lennox Clarke (8-0, 3KOs) won a four round decision over Alistair Warren (8-10). The referee had a solie score of 39-38.
Michael Rooney (7-0) continued his run with a four round decision over Ismail Anwar (5-2), who went down in the second and once again in the third.
Featherweight Gamal Yafai (6-0, 3KOs) won an eight round decision over Arnoldo Solano (14-8). The sole score was 80-71.