Hamzah Sheeraz vs. Francisco Emanuel Torres
Copper Box Arena, London, England – 16 July 2022
Hamzah Sheeraz is the new WBC Silver middleweight champion following a fifth round stoppage victory of the rugged Francisco Torres. Mark Heffron scored a title treble by halting Lennox Clark, Dennis McCann won the WBC International Silver belt with an eighth round stoppage of James Beech jr and Nick Ball retained his WBC Silver title with a defeat of Nathanael Kokololo at the Copper Box Arena.
Sheeraz, who was in control of proceedings with his jab, stiffened up the shot in the second round and wobbled Torres, who was very unsteady on his feet. Another left at the beginning of the third put Torres down but he then responded with a heavy right that floored Sheeraz for the first time.
Sheeraz then set up a big right that smashed into the jaw of Torres and knocked him down again and an unlikely slugfest was developing.
In the end it was a full-blooded right-hander smashed into the head of Torres that ended the fight, with the Argentinean slow to rise and respond, so referee Mark Lyson waved it off in round five after 1.56.
Dennis McCann stopped James Beech jr in the eighth round of a pulsating encounter that takes the Maidstone youngster to 13-0.
The towel was thrown in round after 1.44 following an impressive display of McCann at his spiteful best.
Dennis went into full Menace mode right from the off it was three minutes of savagery from the 21-year-old, who put Beech down in a flurry of shots midway through the round.
Beech jr came to fight, make no mistake, but his timing was off early on and he left himself exposed to rapid counters. The pace dropped a little in the second as Beech regrouped but he absorbed some punishing shots from McCann in the third.
Beech then enjoyed some minor successes, but the spiteful McCann offered him little respite and the Bloxwich fighter was struggling to keep him off and it wasn’t long before a few party tricks came out to play.
Beech rallied but was chopped down by a vicious right that put him to the canvas before another assault led to the towel being thrown in and McCann jumping for joy over becoming WBC International Silver featherweight champion.
In a fight not to be forgotten, Mark Heffron defeated Lennox Clarke to become British, Commonwealth and IBF Intercontinental super middleweight champion.
A stunning first round saw Clarke push Heffron over, which sparked the Oldham man into action and Clarke was floundering for much of the remainder of the round as Heffron landed bomb after bomb on a shellshocked champion.
The second round evened up with Clarke winging in some big shots on Heffron, but the 30-year-old in his third challenge for the British, employed some stealthy footwork and jabbed more effectively. An uppercut wobbled Clarke in the third as the ferocious exchanges continued.
Clarke established something a foothold in the fourth but, again, it was Heffron who landed the cleaner, more telling shots and the Birmingham man was showing remarkable resilience to hang in there.
The Heffron pressure cranked up in the fifth and Clarke appeared to be in retreat and in some sort of trouble. Referee Bob Williams decided he had seen enough and Heffron finally has a British title to take home.
The official time of the stoppage was 2.28 of round five.
Nick Ball had a tall order in front of him in the shape of Nathanael Kokololo, who enjoyed a significant height and reach advantage. Ball soon had him rattled by stooping low and ripping up shots towards the jaw of the Namibian.
Ball was making a first defence of the WBC Silver featherweight title.
Against such physical threats, the Liverpool lad had to be on his guard and not get caught by anything in trying to get up close. He had to work around the Kokololo jab and wasn’t able to be as typically relentless as he normally is against shorter opponents.
Ball landed some good shots at the end of both rounds three and four, but Kokololo remained a confident operator and Ball started to be bloodied around nose. The target was being found with increased frequency but a worrying mark formed under Ball’s left eye that became more evident as the fifth round drew to a close.
Kokololo opened up in the seventh in an attempt to pick up some momentum but Ball stayed in charge and was controlling the rounds. Kokololo was rocked in the ninth as Ball started looking for a big finish, but he survived to fight another round.
Ball launched the heavy artillery in the final round and finally got his man when Kokololo was caught and, for once, didn’t respond. Referee John Latham was quick to rescue him and Ball is now 16-0 and one of the best young champions in the country.
Unbeaten super bantam Masood Abdulah was given a good run for his money over eight rounds by the young Bulgarian Tank Banabakov, who largely gave as good as he got until the final two rounds when the pressure was increased and Banabakov’s work got a little ragged. Referee Bob Williams scored the contest 77-75 and Islington’s Abdulah is now 5-0 and taken the distance for the first time.
The Big Bang is back in business in a big way. New Queensberry signing Pierce O’Leary pulverised his opponent Robin Zamora with a beast of a right hand in the second round that left the Nicaraguan with his senses scrambled and referee Sean McAvoy rightly jumped in to stop him coming under further attack. The stoppage came after 2.03 of the third round in a fight that was nip and tuck until the fight-changing shot that takes O’Leary to 10-0.
Karol Itauma took his professional tally to 8-0 with a convincing win over Michal Gazdik, who he dominated from start to finish and referee John Latham had seen enough after 50 seconds of round four and stepped in to protect Gazdik.
Ryan Garner has reached a dozen fights unbeaten as a pro after outworking the game Christian Lopez Florez over eight rounds. Garner is now due a title fight to launch the next phase of his career.
Referee Sean McAvoy scored the fight 80-72.
After teeing off on his stubborn opponent, Garner found a rhythm in round five, keeping a bit more distance and working smartly up and down. He was still having to chase Florez, but was able to tease a little more return fire from the Mexican that created some openings.
Garner showed that he has plenty in the tank over the longer distance and maintained a high tempo to his work throughout. If he was guilty of any miscalculation, it was possibly trying too hard to blast his man out early out via a spectacular KO. However, he was up against a man on the run with a high and effective guard.
On his second appearance at the Copper Box, Khalid Ali once again brought the fireworks and set about Des Newton right from the off. Newton didn’t look like he would last the course and a big left from Ali led to a mighty onslaught from the Brick Lane boy, that left Newton in a heap having taken a few more punches than he perhaps should have.
The official time of the stoppage by Bob Williams – who ushered a concerned doctor out of the ring – was 54 second of round two.
Umar Khan survived a second round scare when a short right from Engel Gomez sent him momentarily to the canvas. The Ilford youngster recovered well and fought with some style and conviction to ride out the mini-storm and take control of the fight.
In his first six rounder, Khan was scored the victor by a margin of 58-56 on the card of John Latham. Khan is now 4-0.
Super lightweight Sonny Liston Ali moved to 4-0 as a pro following a convincing points victory over Chris Adaway. Referee Sean McCoy scored the fight 60-55.
In the opener for the night, Sean Noakes marked his second professional fight at welterweight with a second round stoppage of MJ Hall.
Hall took a huge right that rocked him earlier in the round and Noakes smelt a potential stoppage and a barrage that included a sweetly struck uppercut saw to it that Bob Williams had seen enough. The referee waved off the fight 2.45 of round two.
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