Florian Marku didn’t even need a minute to put an end to a contentious fight week.
The unbeaten London-based Albanian prospect tore through Ireland’s Dylan Moran, who never had a chance to get untracked in a first-round stoppage defeat. A barrage of punches left Moran defenseless and forced referee Mark Lyson to call a halt just 0:54 into round one Saturday at AO Arena in Manchester, England.
The pair of welterweight southpaws spent the entire fight week jawing at one another. Their developing rivalry reached a boiling point when Moran shoved Marku during their post welgh-in staredown Friday.
Marku used the ring to settle the score, with no signs of ring rust evident even after a 53-week absence.
Moran pawed with his jab attempted to put his height and reach advantage to good use. Marku eventually worked his way inside and landed a left hand to permanently change the course of the brief affair. Moran (18-2, 8KOs) was buzzed and driven to the ropes where he took more power shots. A final right hook by Marku was enough for the referee to intervene and end the fight.
Marku stormed to 13-0-1 (8KOs) with the win but was displeased with the fight itself.
“I want these big fights, but people keep avoiding me,” Marku said after the win. “Ben [Shalom, Marku’s promoter and head of BOXXER], bring me Josh Taylor, Conor Benn, Kell Brook… I don’t know who else you have but bring me someone that can show what I can do. I have two hands and thank God I can show what I can do."
Headlining the show, Liam Smith (33-3-1, 20KOs) and Chris Eubank Jr. (32-3, 23KOs) meet in a scheduled twelve-round, middleweight rematch. Smith won their first bout via fourth-round knockout.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox