By Alexey Sukachev
Leeds - Making his debut at junior welterweight, former WBO super featherweight and lightweight champion Ricky Burns (37-4-1, 11KOs) returned after suffering back to back defeats and won an eight round decision over Alexandre Lepelley (17-2-1, 3KOs). Lepelley was down and hurt at the end of the first round but survived and did well for the rest of the fight. Burns was too much for the overmatched Lepelley, who also lost a point in the seventh for a foul. The sole score, by the referee, was 79-71. BoxingScene had it closer, 78-73 for Burns.
The younger of four fighting Smith brothers - Callum - successfully tuned up and got his fifth win this year with a three-round destruction of well-travelled Uruguayan journeyman Rafael Sosa Pintos (48-11, 19 KOs).
Much taller Smith, 24, was clearly superior to opponent, ten years his senior. Lanky with long, powerful hands he was all over Pintos from the opening bell. The Uruguayan has somehow survived through till the third round despite huge domination by Smith. However, in the third Smith has dropped him thrice - firstly with a right hand to the body, and then twice by left hooks to the liver - forcing referee Howard John Foster to halt the action at 2:20.
WBC #10 super middleweight Smith improves to 14-0, 11 KOs. His next fight is scheduled for November 22 in Liverpool against 27-2 Montenegrin Nicola Sjekloca, a former world title challenger.
A flash knockdown from a left jab out of an off-balance stance cost world for once-defeated challenger Tyrone Nurse (29-2, 5 KOs), who dropped a majority decision and a vacant Commonwealth light welterweight champion to upset master Dave Ryan (16-8, 3 KOs).
Nurse, 24, riding high on a seven-fight winning streak, ran into a stiff lef jabe by Ryan immediately after the bell to be sent on canvas. Both combatants went into close quarters after that and stayed there for a remainder of the contest. Nurse was much more active (as he is in his professional career) but Ryan, whose latest victory - a points win over ex-world title challenger Paul McCloskey was much bigger than any of Nurse's 29 wins, used his precision to match Nurse's punch output.
Both boxers landed jabs and Nurse was more effective with it, puffing the left eye of the other challenger. It looked like Tyrone has done just enough in the mid rounds to get a win but judges saw it otherwise, having it 114-113 (x2) and 114-114 in a very close fight, which could have gone either way. Ryan adds another notable scalp to his resume, which also includes 8-0 Scott Evans and James Way, 8-1 Darren Hamilton and 10-1 John Wayne Hibbert.
WBO #15 light middleweight Brian Rose (26-2-1, 8 KOs) came back to the ring for the first time since his deceiving effort in a title shot against Demetrius Andrade this June and completely annihilated Argentinean journeyman Ignacio Lucero Fraga (11-8-3, 5 KOs) in the first round.
Fraga was down three times - each time after another right hand by Rose, but some of them weren't particularly clean, landing also at the back of the Argentinean's head. However, Rose was much better than his opponent as the referee saw enough and waved it off at 2:58 after the third knockdown.