Jordan Thompson clung on to his unbeaten record, although he looked a lucky man as he clambered off the canvas in the final seconds of his ten-rounder with Vasil Ducar to claim a unanimous decision on the Smith-O’Maison bill in Sheffield.
After dominating the fight, Thompson was badly hurt in the last 30 seconds and sent to the floor just as the final bell sounded. He barely beat the count, but had there been another 30 seconds, the result could have been very different.
It had been five years since Thompson had been taken more than three rounds, but the tall cruiserweight, who calls himself the Practitioner of Artistic Violence, but being taken the full ten by Ducar, of the Czech Republic, was a serious test of his stamina.
Marcus McDonnell scored it 97-92, while Giulio Piras and Olena Pobyvailo both had it 96-93 to Thompson.
“We all knew going into this it was a massive step up and test and the last 30 seconds probably did me more good than the first nine-and-half rounds,” Thompson said. “I’ve got a lot of hard work to do and there is a lot I can improve on.
“The last 30 seconds was humbling but overall I’m happy. In boxing you can’t afford to switch off.”
Ducar took the fight to Thompson and put the unbeaten fighter under a bit of pressure in the first, as Thompson used his jab to keep his distance.
Thompson opened up more in the second round, catching Ducar on the way in with a decent right uppercut and, although Ducar continued to come forward, he was nailed by a good right hand at the end of the round.
As the rounds ticked by – Thompson had never previously gone beyond four rounds – Thompson was happy to box and wait for his opening. That came in the fifth round, as he landed a good body punch and then scored with three big rights that knocked Ducar’s gumshield out.
While Ducar took the shots well, he was noticeably less aggressive and began to look tired.
But Ducar got on the front foot again in the sixth round, while Thompson was content to use his jab and sway out of range when Ducar tried anything ambitious.
In the eighth round, Thompson got a ticking off for a low punch, but he was completely dominant, although Ducar did finally get through with a couple of hooks at the end of the ninth round.
Ducar threw it all into the last round and finally he got success with an overhand right. Thompson looked in trouble as he stumbled around, while Ducar hammered away, landing two more good rights, before a right and a left hook, followed by a right uppercut sent Thompson to the floor.
The final bell sounded as he went down, but for a moment it seemed that he might not beat referee Steve Gray’s count. He got to his feet at nine, though, looking dazed, but was saved by the bell.
The IBF’s “European” belt was on the line.
Heavyweight hope Johnny Fisher, who has been sidelined by injury since February, made short work of Michal Reissinger, of the Czech Republic, stopping him in the second round.
Reissinger was wild and aggressive, slinging over big rights, but after Fisher kept composed in the early stages, he started opening up in the second half of the first round, landing a sharp uppercut and then rocking Reissinger with a big right just before the bell.
Within seconds of the start of the second round, Fisher threw a right and then followed up with another hard right that bowled Reissinger over on his back. Referee Steve Gray waved it off without taking up the count, prompting a protest from Reissinger. The official time was 0:39 of the second round.
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.