There has been no shortage of hype around Dennis McCann and for five rounds against the durable Juan Jurado, the 20-year-old super-bantamweight hope looked as good as he ever has before he had to settle for a landslide points win at the Copper Box.
There is a lot to like about McCann – fast hands, great movement and an impressive selection of punches and while he didn’t ultimately find the shots to get rid of the Argentinian veteran, at his age, it is difficult to complain of any lack of power.
Indeed, this was a mature performance by McCann, who stayed on the job, remained positive and kept Jurado under pressure throughout, not giving up on the stoppage until he suffered a cut from a clash of heads in the sixth. By then, Jurado had already proved his toughness for standing up to some corking shots from McCann.
Jurado, 35, who had been a flyweight in his best days, came intent for a tear-up, but McCann looks a much less excitable boxer than he was 12 months ago and he waited for his opening, while keeping the Argentinian under steady pressure.
That came near the end of the round when a left to the body made Jurado sag into the ropes, followed up, caught one back but rocked Jurado as he opened up.
He hurt Jurado again with a body shot in the second and McCann started to step up the pace in the third as things started to get uncomfortable for Jurado, who was on the receiving end of a string of southpaw lefts as well as a vicious right hook to the body.
There was no quit in Jurado, though, as he tried to stand with McCann in the fourth, although McCann was landing some excellent shots, the pick being a neat right uppercut.
The punishment continued in the fifth round, as McCann picked his punches well, but he suffered a nasty looking cut at the corner of his left eye in the sixth, as Jurado came off the ropes with his forehead down and they clashed heads.
McCann was sent out with instructions to box in the seventh and, while the cut encourage Jurado, McCann was well on top and mostly restricted his natural instinct to showboat.
Still, McCann kept on Jurado’s case in the eight and last round before collecting an 80-72 decision from referee Lee Every.
Light-heavyweight prospect Karol Itauma, who made his professional debut in the last Arthur-Yarde undercard 364 days ago moved to 5-0 with a facile stoppage of Hungarian Tamas Laska.
Itauma is a decent prospect but when he landed two punches to the body, Laska dropped his hands and doubled over in obvious pain.
To his credit, Itauma didn’t hit his defenseless opponent as referee Steve Gray waved it off at 1:11 of the first round. Laska seemed to complain about the stoppage, although as Laska did not take a knee, Gray had no other option but to stop it or let Itauma punch him again.
Seriously big heavyweight hope George Fox saw his unbeaten record ended in his fifth fight by Kamil Sokolowski, who had looked desperately unlucky not to take the decision from another prospect David Adeleye in April.
Fox’s problem was that he was too easy to hit. Fox did OK for the first three rounds, as he had a high workrate and marked Sokolowski up with a series of straight rights. But once the UK-based Polish boxer figured Fox out, it was one-way traffic.
Sokolowski started off by throwing to the body, which was comfortably the easiest bit of Fox to reach. Fox wasn’t quick, though, and one of his shortcomings was that he was at times so fixated on catching Sokolowski when he came into range, he tended to ignore the punches coming his way, with the Polish boxer having more and more success with the left hook.
Once things got to the fifth round Sokolowski was getting on top and drew some ooos and aahs from the crowd when a Fox walked into a straight right.
By the seventh round, Sokolowski had totally sussed Fox and every time he threw a jab, Sokolowski threw a harder punch back before Fox had the time to pull his guard back up.
Sokolowski went out at the start of the eighth intend on finishing Fox off, as he landed two big rights and a left hook without return.
To Fox’s credit, he had a good engine and, in his first fight beyond four rounds, it was Fox who was the one on the front foot in the dying moments, as he finished well.
Lee Every, though, scored it 79-75 in Sokolowski’s favour, giving him a deserved win.
Charles Frankham secured his first stoppage as he recorded his fourth straight win as a pro, as UK-based Romanian Constantin Radoi was stopped at 1:23 of the fourth round of their lightweight six-rounder.
Radoi was game but Frankham found him regularly with a clubbing right hook to the head and, when he was staggered by a left hook, referee Sean McAvoy did the right thing in waving it off.
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