Archie Sharp eventually earned an eight-round decision victory over Argentina’s Reuquen Cona Facundo Arce, 17-15-2 (7 KOs), but the super featherweight had to pick himself up off the floor twice to do it. 

Sharp, 25-0 (9 KOs), reached the number one position with the WBO before promotional changes, inactivity and poor opposition saw him slip out of sight and out of mind. 

The 29-year-old still sits at number five in the WBO world rankings but his entire career will have flashed before his eyes during a terrible opening round.

Arce floored a casual Sharp heavily with a well-timed left hook within seconds of his return to television screens. With a potentially life-changing victory within sight, Arce went crazy. He launched a wild attack, eventually putting Sharp down with another left hook. A more clinical finisher would have taken a tentative and vulnerable Sharp out but Arce’s recklessness enabled him to make it back to his corner after a terrible three minutes.

Disaster averted, Sharp righted the ship in the second. He took the centre of the ring, put some weight behind his shots and – crucially – switched southpaw. Arce suddenly began to struggle to find the range. 

The tide turned in the third, Sharp put Arce down with a short left hook. After receiving an eight count, Arce walked clumsily forward and directly into an even better left, somehow he stayed upright. Confidence restored, Sharp was willing to hold his feet as Arce launched his wild attacks.

The pattern was set. Sharp held the centre of the ring, keeping an aggressive but crude Arce at range and scoring with hard left hands whilst the Argentinean took every opportunity he could to wing in wild hooks. When Sharp kept things simple, he had things his own way but there was a sense of vulnerability whenever he opened up and lost his shape. 

After eight rounds, Bob Williams scored the fight 77-73 in Sharp’s favour.

It was a shaky but gutsy return from Sharp who criticised himself loudly between rounds throughout the fight and was clearly troubled by the way he started the contest. He will want to jump straight back on the horse as quickly as possible and build some momentum.

Thetford cruiserweight, Tommy Fletcher, 8-0 (6 KOs), racked up another win with a routine six round decision victory over Viktar Chvarkou, 5-13 (3 KOs).

The 6ft 7in “Norfolk Nightmare” looked to impose himself in the opening exchanges but quickly settled in behind his southpaw jab. At times, Fletcher reached a little with his left hand but Chvarkou wasn’t quick or athletic enough to capitalise. 

Fletcher has made his name with a series of quick, explosive knockouts but took his time, probing for the opening. If Chvarkou had been lulled into a false sense of security, a brilliantly timed short left uppercut to the body quickly took the wind out of his sails midway through the second.

Rather than rushing his work, Fletcher continued to take his time and pick Chvarkou apart but the Kazakh was resilient and even found the occasional counter shot as the 22 year old got a little too close and crowded his own work. Fletcher quickly realised that Chvarkou was made of tougher stuff than some of his previous opposition and got back behind his jab, clearly intent on getting some valuable rounds under his belt. Fletcher did up the intensity in the sixth and final round, punching in combination and rocking Chvarkou’s head around but never came close to forcing a finish. Referee, Amy Pu, scored the fight 60-54 in his favour. 

Royston Barney-Smith, 10-0 (5 KOs), has been in outstanding form in recent months but got eight valuable rounds out of Brazil’s Jonatas De Oliveira, 6-9 (5 KOs), at super featherweight. 

De Oliviera is usually one of the more aggressive journeymen currently campaigning in Britain, but – realising that that approach would be a recipe for disaster against a fast, calculating operator like Barney-Smith – he kept his hands up and offered very little as Barney-Smith dominated the opener behind his jab and long left hand. 

The 20 year old from Southampton began to run though his repertoire in the second, stabbing to the body and looking for his left uppercut. De Oliveira’s answer was to try and get on the front foot but he did so without throwing punches and Barney-Smith was able to move around the ring, maintain the distance and only allow the Brazilian to work inside when he chose. 

Maybe feeling that some of the sting had left Barney-Smith’s work, De Oliveira finally began to open up in the fourth. Nothing of note landed but the approach did mean that Barney-Smith’s output dropped as he concentrated on defence and footwork and looked for accurate counter shots. 

What started out as a one sided parade had turned into a decent night’s work for Barney-Smith who had success when he set the distance with his jab but let De Oliveira inside much too easily when he neglected it. 

After eight rounds, the referee scored the fight 79-73 in Barney-Smith’s favour who will have learned plenty.