By Alexey Sukachev
Echo Arena, Liverpool - The Price was not right! Veteran Tony Thompson (37-3, 25KOs) shocked British Boxing with a second round stoppage of previously undefeated David Price (15-1, 13KOs). Price controlled the first round and most of the second, but Thompson caught him with a huge counter and Price went down like a ton of bricks. He barely made it up and appeared to be on very unsteady legs, and the referee waved it off. Price was viewed as one of the biggest hopes in the heavyweight division and Thompson closed him out.
There were experts, who questioned Price's stamina and his chin, and those questions could be traced back to Price's amateur career. He has not been tested properly during his domestic run (which saw four huge wins over John McDermott, Sam Sexton, Audley Harrison and Matt Skelton in 2012), and IBF #14 Thompson was his first serious opponent. Before the fight IBF #8, WBC #9 and WBO #14 Price vowed to surpass Wladimir Klitschko and to defeat Thompson, who was twice stopped by the Steelhammer previously, even more convincingly.
That certainly wasn't the case. Both fighter started the bout cautiously, trying not to risk too much. That was explainable, as was the fact that Price became the first of the two to open up. He attacked Thompson during the second and the third minutes of the opening round, while Thompson tried to time his opponent but was mostly fighting on the defensive.
Early into the second round, Price got his biggest success by penetrating the American's guard with a hard right hand. Thompson, 41, was pinned to the corner but used his vast experience to put the fire out. The fight was even after that. At the start of the third minute of the round, Thompson threw a left jab and followed it up with a short and seemingly weak right hand, which was well-placed though - right at Price's left ear - and down he went very hard. Price, 29, got up on very unsteady legs, and referee Steve Gray had no other option than to wave the contest off and punctuate what was one of the biggest stunners so far this year.
Challenger Steve Williams (13-2, 5 KOs), 28, was taught a very painful lesson by the defending champion Darren Hamilton (13-2, 3 KOs) in his second career bid for the BBBofC British light welterweight title.
Defending the belt, he had won against Ashley Theophane in an upset a year ago, for the first time, Hamilton, 34, was in full control of the fight from the opening bell. Possessing no serious punch, he chose to outbox aggressive Williams and was very successful in doing so. Williams moved forward straightforwardly and tried to unload hardly on the elusive opponent. However, Hamilton gave him almost no chance for scoring, bobbing and weaving under fire, using his superb lateral movement, sticking his jab into Steve's face all night long and almost laughing at his overmatched opponent.
The first part of the fight was remotely even, as Hamilton suffered slightly from a long layoff and Williams was physically fit. As the bout progressed, Hamilton started to get more and more resilient, while Williams faded down the stretach. In the closing quarter of the bout Hamilton was close to a stoppage, which would have been well justified but Williams managed to survive the onslaught till the finall bell. It didn't help him much, as all three judges awarded the contest to the defending champion almost lopsidedly: 118-111, 119-109 and 120-108. BoxingScene also had it 119-109 - for Darren Hamilton.
In a very heated fight, BBBofC British and Commonwealth flyweight champion Kevin "Iceman" Satchell (10-0, 2 KOs) retained both of his titles with a hard-earned win over determined challenger Luke Wilton (13-3-1, 7 KOs).
Satchell started fast, using his sharp uppercuts and hard left bombs to the Wilton's body to trouble him time and again. Wilton lost the first couple of rounds but came back strong in the third, while Satchell started to eat some looping shots from his left. He came back to his best in the next three rounds, outworking Wilton but not without some problems. Wilton had his right eye cut a bit before the midpoint of the clash. However, he has never stopped trying and it resulted in a strong seconf half of the contest for him. He won the seventh round and engaged into a brutal slugfest with the champion in the eighth stanza - clearly, the best of the fight. The round took too many stamina from Satchell and he dropped rounds nine and ten.
Sensing the win was within his grasp, Wilton tried to take the end of the contest as well but Satchell stood firm and did what was needed to defend his belts. At the end, all three judges awarded the victory to the defending champion: 119-110, 119-112 and 118-111.
Fighting for the first time after almost eight years in retirement, David Burke, a former WBU and Commonwealth lightweight titlist and 1996 Atlanta Olympian for the United Kingdom, failed to find his former groove and was crushed in the fourth and final round by almost unknown journeyman Dean Mills (7-7-2, 3 KOs).
Burke fought on even terms with Mills for the first three rounds. In the fouth, Burke went toe-to-toe with Mills and was shot down twice by his right hands in a span of a minute. A referee waved the fight off at 2:20 of the round after the second knockdown of the fight. Burke, 38, is now 26-3, 8 KOs and looks like to be heading back into retirement.