Chris Kongo continued his upward momentum as he claimed a hard-fought ten-round decision over Sebastian Formella on the Richard Riakporhe-Fabio Turchi bill at Wembley Arena, although it was not a flawless display.
Kongo won a unanimous decision by scores of 97-93, 97-94 and 98-92 to claim the WBC International Silver welterweight title. It was deserved, he had landed most of the best shots in the fight, but Kongo got too greedy at times, always looking for massive punches and holding too much.
The German had only boxed once since losing a ten-round decision to Conor Benn at the same venue 19 months ago, a fight that, at the time, was seen as a step forward for Benn, although he has gone forward since. But he was always competitive, putting pressure throughout on Kongo, who had to deal with a cut in the later rounds.
“There was a lot of pressure and I wanted to get him out, but remember this is my 15th fight,” Kongo said. “I did a lot of good stuff, but I made mistakes. This is a learning curve for me.”
Any thoughts this could be a slow, technical affair were quickly dispelled as the pair went after each other in a furious opening, Kingo landing well but leaving himself open when Formella came forward.
Midway through the third round, Kongo landed a hard right that stopped Formella in his tracks and he kept the upper hand, landing well with the right again in the fifth round.
In the sixth, Kong began to threaten that he could overwhelm Formella, catching him with another hard right round the side of the German’s guard.
Formella staged something of a revival in the seventh, coming forward and forcing Kongo backwards with a long jab and overhand right, and Kongo was forced to hold as he was backed up on the ropes.
But the action was becoming messy, as both struggled to land clean shots. Kongo landed a booming right in the ninth, stepping back to create space when Formella was expecting him to hold, but while Kongo was landing the cleaner punches, Formella was the one putting on the pressure.
Both went for it in the last, with both landing good shots and, within a minute of the final bell, Kongo landed a hard right while retreating that seemed to hurt Formella and, while Kong went for a grandstand finish, Formella was still throwing back at the bell.
London heavyweight Jeamie Tshikeva, who boxes under the name TKV, moved to 2-0 as he made short work of Jake Darnell.
Darnell had tried to close the gap to TKV and make him smother his work, but TKV found gaps, first going to the body and then switching short hooks upstairs. The finisher was a short right hook then sent Darnell tumbling back into the ropes, TKV deciding not to take up the option of another punch on his way down. Darnell tried to regain his feet but was counted out by referee Sean McAvoy at 2:47, although it was announced as a stoppage.
Jimmy Lee is also 2-0 now after the super-featherweight stopped Ricky Starkey in the third of a scheduled four-rounder.
Lee threatened to overwhelm Starkey in the first, although Starkey did his best to match the punch-rate of Lee. It was to prove a thankless task, though, and midway through the third round, Lee badly hurt Starkey with a right hook. Starkey did his best to fight his way out of a corner, but he was dropped by a body punch, which prompted referee Marcus McDonnell to wave it off at 2:34.
Bec Connolly had another tough evening’s work, as her inability to slip the looping hooks of Ebonie Jones saw her caught cleanly far too often at super-featherweight.
It is impossible to deny Connolly’s toughness, nor that she kept trying to land, but she was just far too easy a target and she tended to walk through punches with her face. Still, nothing Jones threw seemed likely to stop her as Jones claimed a 60-54 from referee Mark Bates, although Connolly deserves some easier tasks in the future. Jones is now 2-0 with one draw.
Shannon Ryan was too sharp and fast for Gemma Ruegg in their four-round super-flyweight show-opener. Ryan, who is now 2-0, nailed Ruegg frequently but Ruegg tended the shrug it off and took Ryan the distance before losing a 40-36 decision from referee McAvoy,
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.