Callum Simpson went more rounds than he had in his previous six combined fights.

Far more was gained in his ten-round, unanimous decision win over Glasgow’s Boris Crighton as the unbeaten Englishman rose to the occasion in a much-needed step-up fight. Judges Victor Loughlin (99-92), Mark Lyson (97-93)   and Marcus McDonnell (99-91) all scored wide for Simpson in their Sky Sports/ESPN+ televised opener Saturday from AO Arena in Manchester, England.

The bout marked the first time in his career that Barnsley’s Simpson (12-0, 9KOs) saw the fifth round. He’d gone the four-round distance in his first two pro contests before he rattled off nine consecutive knockouts, all in three rounds or less.

Crighton (11-4, 7KOs) showed mettle as he stood up to Simpson’s power. There were moments in the second half when referee John Latham was forced to give a long, hard look to the visiting Scotsman but Crighton remained upright and responsive enough to force the fight to go to the cards. Simpson’s chin was given a brief test when he was clipped with a right hand in the final round but took the shot well and closed strong for his latest victory.

Headlining the show, undisputed super middleweight champion Franchon Crews-Dezurn (8-1, 2KOs) of Baltimore, Maryland defends her crown versus Hartlepool’s Savannah Marshall (12-1, 10KOs). Also on the show, Liverpool’s WBC/IBF/WBO junior middleweight titlist Natasha Jonas (13-2-1, 8KOs) bids to become a two-division titlist as she faces Calgary’s Kandi Wyatt (11-4, 3KOs) for the vacant IBF welterweight title.

Prior to the telecast, April Hunter (7-1, 0KOs) outpointed Kirstie Bavington (7-5-2, 2KOs) in a grudge rematch that lived up to their contentious fight week interactions. Liverpool's Hunter won 76-75 on the lone scorecard of referee John Latham, with a seventh-round knockdown the difference between a narrow win and a draw verdict. 

Bavington won their October 2021 meeting via six-round decision. Hunter has since won her last three starts and has now avenged her lone career defeat. 

Undercard bouts still to come:

Ben Whittaker (3-0, 2KOs), West Bromwich, West Midlands vs. Vladimir Belujsky (13-6-1, 9KOs), Kezmorak, Slovakia—8 rounds, light heavyweight

Zak Chelli (13-1-1, 6KOs), Fulham, London  vs. Mark Jeffers (15-0, 4KOs), Chorley, Lancashire—10 rounds, super middleweight

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox