By Alexey Sukachev
Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield, Yorkshire - In a very shady IBF "final" bantamweight eliminator, reigning British and former European and Commonwealth champion Jamie McDonnell (20-2-1, 9 KOs), who was rated #5 at 118 lbs by the International Boxing Federation, kept punishing his Nicaraguan opponent Darwin Zamora (21-7-1, 18 KOs) until the end of the eighth. Zamora's corner choose to retire their protege on a stool during the break right after that. The bout was somehow sanctioned as the IBF elimination despite the fact Zamora is a super flyweight and was ranked #12 by the same sanctioning body at 115 lbs. Zamora was a late sub for Vusi Malinga.
McDonnell looked dominant in the majority of the rounds. The Doncaster native also used a smart approach, trying to eliminate even remnants of the Nicaraguan puncher's chance by using his stinging jab and damaging activity against a smaller fighter. Zamora was very game and never stopped coming but he lacked finesse in his defense, and his wide punches weren't stong enough on this level to put McDonnell in real danger in the first half of the fight. The British boxer, on the other hand, was boxing beautifully (albeit boring) and easily overcame the Nicaraguan.
The flow of the fight partially changed in the seventh round, when southpaw Zamora finally got his punches together and landed a hard left hand to rock McDonnell a bit. He pressed forward but the Brit was cautious and avoided additional scares. Feeling the traces of a possible breaking point, Jamie sent his engine into full power mode. The Nicaraguan was way too fatigued to oppose him. He went into defensive mindset but was beaten to the punch and ate a huge number of painful blows. Zamora never went down but was too exhausted to be allowed to go on. Referee Phil Edwards stopped the contest during the break on the advice of Zamora's corner.
Former amateur standout Khalid "Kal" Yafai (4-0, 3 KOs) completely annihilated once-defeated Scott Gladwin (5-2) in two very hurtful rounds. Gladwin was down three times in the first after taking the damaging blows of Yafai to the body and to the jaw, and another fall was ruled a slip despite being a result of another of Yafai's right hands. The latter got the job done at 1:05 of the second after Gladwin went down again after a big right hand to the chest. This bout was fought in the bantamweight division.