Kash Farooq continued his impressive climb up the bantamweight rankings, showing a high workrate and some great punch variety in recording a unanimous ten-round decision over Nicaragua’s tough Alexander Espinoza on the Benn-Vargas undercard at the Copper Box in London.
Farooq, 25, whose only defeat came via a disputed decision to fellow Scot Lee McGregor, has great handspeed and an exciting aggressive style, as he put pressure on Espinoza from the opening bell, working his way inside and then landing short, chopping punches. In response, Espinoza tried to stand and fight to blast his way out of trouble. Plenty of shots landed, and Farooq was marked up by the end, but Espinoza could not stop Farooq’s advance.
As well as his quick hands it was Farooq’s variety that was so impressive, sometimes starting off with a jab or a straight right but following every lead with three or four other shots. His movement was good too and, by the fourth, Espinoza was putting everything into his work just to make an impression of Farooq.
In the fifth, Espinoza started coming forward, but Farooq started to throw more weight into his punches, switching from head to body.
By the eighth round, the pace began to drop from Farooq and Espinoza had some success when just standing and throwing with the Scotsman. Any joy was fleeting, though, as Farooq began to box off the backfoot and walked Espinoza into some powerful punches.
Farooq suffered a cut over his right eye in the ninth round, but it was too late to make a difference and Farooq didn’t back off in the last before securing the decision. John Lathan had it 97-93, Michael Alexander 97-95 and Bob Williams 97-94. The referee was Ian John Lewis. The WBC’s silver title was on the line.
“He took some heavy shots but kept coming and coming, but I wouldn’t be denied,” Farooq said.
Glasgow heavyweight Nick Campbell made his professional debut at the age of 31 as he battered Petr Frohlich, from the Czech Republic, to defeat in the second round of a scheduled six.
Campbell spent most of his 20s as a professional rugby union forward and, at 6ft 7in, he towered over Frohlich, whom he simply bashed up for the first round, following the Czech boxer around the world a clumped him with left and rights to head and body. Early in the second round, Frohlich fell to his knees from a clubbing right. Campbell followed up and bashed away until referee Bob Williams stepped in to stop it at 0:41 of the second round.
“There has never been a Scottish British heavyweight champion and anyone who goes to the pros who doesn’t dream of winning titles, shouldn’t do it,” Campbell said. “That’s why I am here, to test myself against the best in Britain and see where I can go.”
John Hedges recorded his second professional win with a four-round points win over Stanko Jermelic, of Croatia, in the light-heavyweight curtain-raiser. Hedges, 18, had looked fortunate to be given the nod on his debut against Jan Ardon last October, but there were no doubts about this, as he dominated from the outside, landing well with a southpaw left and claimed a comfortable 40-36 decision from referee Bob Williams.
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.