Hamzah Sheeraz recorded the biggest win of his career to date as he stopped Bradley Skeete in the ninth round on the Arthur-Yarde bill in London, although he can count himself slightly lucky that he was not disqualified after landing a huge punch when Skeete was on the floor.
Skeete had frustrated Sheeraz for the first seven rounds, often making the unbeaten fighter look ponderous, but when he finally got through and dropped Skeete in the eighth round, Sheeraz followed it up with a big left hook on the floor.
It eventually cost Sheeraz a point (plus the knockdown) but had Skeete been unable to continue, Sheeraz could have lost his unbeaten record. As it was, Skeete was knocked down twice more as he got the big win he had hoped for.
Sheeraz deserved plenty of credit for sticking with it, as for much of the fight, Skeete seemed to be enjoying himself and seldom stood still long enough for Sheeraz to land.
Sheeraz landed with a good right in the first that seemed to go right through to Skeete’s boots, but Skeete steadied himself and found some rhythm, using his jab well and landing a flurry near the end of the round.
The second was more of the same, Sheeraz stalking Skeete, who was confident enough to do a bit of a shuffle near the end of the round.
There was more aggression from Sheeraz in the third and, while he did have some success, he soon became frustrated as Skeete moved away and picked him off that when, in the fifth, Sheeraz missed with a wild punch, Skeete stuck his chin out at him.
Sheeraz had his best round so far in the sixth, as he succeeded in cutting down the ring for the first time and put pressure on Skeete.
There was more success for Sheeraz in the seventh and Skeete was briefly on the canvas, although referee Steve Gray said he was pushed down. Still, Skeete seemed to be enjoying himself.
Things took a dramatic twist in the eighth when Sheeraz finally got through to Skeete knocked him to a knee where he took a huge left hook and send him down to the floor hard.
Referee Steve Gray didn’t count after what was an obvious punch on the floor and eventually docked a point from Sheeraz. Whether Skeete was really in a position to continue was a matter of debate, what was certain is that the end came fairly swiftly after.
Sheeraz tore into Skeete, who tried to stand and fight, and soon a series of blows had him over again. He regained his feet only for the round to end, but Sheeraz landed some heavy hooks early in the ninth to send Skeete down again. He bat the count at nine, but Gray waved it off at 0:58 of the round.
Sam Noakes continued his 100 percent stoppage record, but the lightweight prospect from Kent took nine rounds before finally wearing down Shaun Cooper.
It was a solid display from Noakes, who had got used to charging through opponents, but met plenty of resistance from Cooper before finally getting a knockdown and stoppage.
Noakes had his work cut out chasing down Cooper in the opening rounds. Copper had looked keen to stand and box early on but the more Noakes came forward, the more rapid Cooper’s retreat became.
There was method behind this, as he tried to draw Noakes onto shots, but by the fourth round, Cooper seemed keener to stand and fight, as he got through with some hooks up close while Noakes tended to load up.
It then became a kind of stalemate, as Noakes looked to lead of but was reluctant to leave any openings, while Cooper was determined to counterpunch.
There were signs in the seventh round that Noakes was getting through to Cooper, as he shortened his hooks and kept the pressure on.
The eighth was more of the same as Cooper showed signs of tiring and when Noakes went after him at the start of the ninth, the end came quickly. A clumping hook began the downfall, as Noakes jumped to the chance and dropped Cooper. There was no refuge for Cooper and when Noakes landed with a solid right uppercut, referee Ian John Lewis stepped in at 1:35.