Sunny Edwards reminded everyone why he is the best flyweight on the planet by seeing off his dangerous mandatory challenger Felix Alvarado.
And Edwards is already lining up the next big challenge of his reign as world champion – Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez.
Edwards, who was walked to the ring by UK grime artist Jaykae, produced a performance that mixed sublime skill and dogged determination, to defeat the excellent Alvarado on all three of the judges’ scorecards at Probellum Sheffield tonight.
The man known as ‘Showtime’ – now 19-0 as a pro – made a third defence of his IBF crown with scores of 115-113, 116-112 and 115-113 after 12 rounds at the Utilita Arena, in his adopted home city.
Edwards was full of praise for Alvarado but says he proved tonight that he can deal with the power of any 112lbs fighter – including US star Rodriguez who has confirmed he is moving into the division.
“Felix Alvarado is a phenomenal puncher and I sat there and mixed it with him. I rode shots, took shots, threw shots, and if I can do that against him then I can do it against anyone,” Edwards said.
“Bam Rodriguez, you promised me the fight. Come and get it.”
“I had the fight 8-4 or 9-3 in my favour, I don’t know what the some of the scorecards were about. I went up clear and then coasted it from there.”
Shabaz Masoud stopped Jack Bateson in the final round of their brilliant all-British clash and then declared: “I am at world level”.
The Maverick floored his rival from Leeds early in the 12th session in Sheffield tonight before he forced referee Howard Foster to step in and stop the contest at 2:00.
Masoud and Bateson had agreed to meet in one of the most anticipated domestic clashes of the year, with the unbeaten prospects winning acclaim for putting their unblemished records on the line at Probellum Sheffield.
And the fight delivered on the hype with Masoud and Bateson producing an enthralling contest that remained in the balance as it moved into the final three minutes.
But it was Stoke’s Masoud who scored a significant breakthrough early in the round before closing the show soon after.
The win nets Masoud Bateson’s WBA Intercontinental title and also puts him in line to fight for the British super bantamweight belt.
Masoud said: “I have been working years for this, there have been struggle but this is just the start.
“I believe I am world level, Jack is world level too, but this fight was called at the right time.
“There is more to come from me and whatever my team say is next, we will go for. But I will beat the lot of them.”
Hebert Conceição marked his UK debut with a shut-out points victory over Gideon Onyenani.
The 2020 Olympic middleweight champion delivered a classy performance, in keeping with his top-level billing, to win 60-54 on the referee’s card and extend his perfect start to life in the professional ranks to 3-0.
Brazilian hero Conceição said: “I am so happy to have boxed here in the UK and I am so happy I got the victory.”
“There were few times when I thought I might be able to stop Onyenani but I promise that my next performance will be better.”
Marcel Braithwaite got the better of Thomas Essomba over 12 tense rounds.
The Liverpool man was given the nod by two of the ringside judges – with scores of 117-11 and 116-114 – while one official ruled that Essomba had done enough, to the score of 116-113.
Braithwaite’s split decision win would have seen him become the mandatory challenger for the British super flyweight title but his failure to make weight, on Thursday, means that was no longer on the table.
Lisa Whiteside is now 5-0 as a professional and closer to a world title shot, after a 79-74 points win over Eva Cantos.
“In the seventh round, I thought I was going to get her out of there and I properly wobbled her.
“I now just want any of the top girls at super bantamweight, although I could quite easily bantam. Ellie Scotney has just won the EBU title, I have the utmost respect for her and would love to share a ring with her.”
Levi Kinsiona W PTS 8 76-77 Alin Florin Ciorceri
Ishamel Davis W TKO 5 Dustin Ammann
Nicolie Campbell W PTS 6 60-54 Frane Radnic