Hughie Fury Stops Fred Kassi – Rising heavyweight contender Hughie Fury took another step up the fistic ladder on Saturday, April 30, but the 21-year-old cousin of Tyson Fury was far from impressive. In his previous bout, Fury pitched a shutout over Dominic Guinn in a humdrum bout in which the U.S. invader showed very little offensively. His match with Fred Kassi was playing out in the same fashion until an accidental clash of heads in round six opened a nasty gash over Fury’s right eye. In the following round, on the advice of the ringside physician, the referee stopped it, sending the bout to the scorecards where the verdict in favor of Hughie was a foregone conclusion. The scores were 70-64, 69-66, and 69-65. Fury advanced his record to 20-0 (11) and acquired a minor WBO bauble, the intercontinental belt. The 36-year-old Kassi, a Cameroon native who works as a personal trainer in New Orleans, falls to 18-5-1.
The show at London’s Copper Box Arena, a Frank Warren promotion, was to feature Billy Joe Saunders in the first defense of his WBO middleweight title against Max Bursak, but Saunders was compelled to pull out with a hand injury, pushing the Fury-Kassi match to the top of the marquee. The fight was a truncated snoozer that drew steady boos, but the paying customers were rewarded with a good show thanks to a zesty undercard.
The Smith twins, Liam and Ryan, were both victorious. The brothers own the distinction of being the first set of twins to hold British titles simultaneously.
Ryan Walsh (21-1-1, 10 KOs), the British featherweight champion, drew the tougher assignment. Ryan was paired against hard-punching James Tennyson (16-1 going in) from Belfast, reputedly a distant relative of the late, great Jimmy McLarnin. But what figured to be competitive match was a tour-de-force for Walsh who had Tennyson on the canvas twice from body punches en route to a fifth round stoppage.
Liam Walsh, the British super featherweight champion, kept his undefeated record intact with an eighth round stoppage of gritty but out-gunned Troy James. Liam Walsh, now 20-0 (14), was far more efficient with his punches. The end came when James’ corner tossed in the towel. The loser was applauded for his gallant effort as he left the ring.
The third 12-rounder was a match between undefeated super flyweights Jamie Conlan and Anthony Nelson. This proved to be the fight of the night, a humdinger in which both fighters were on the canvas twice. Belfast’s Conlan, nicknamed the Mexican, scored the first and last knockdowns, the second of which, in Round 8, terminated the scorcher. Conlan is the new Commonwealth champion.
In another undercard bout of note, super middleweight Vijender Singh advanced to 5-0 (5 KOs) with a fifth round stoppage of French trial horse Matiouze Royer. The bout was halted on the advice of the ring physician because of a bad cut over Royer’s left eye. To that point, Singh had won every round.
Much was made of the fact that the heavily-tattooed Royer (now 14-25-6) had a wealth of experience, but with only three knockouts to his credit he posed no threat to Singh. A three-time Olympian who won a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing games – the first ever Olympic medal for a boxer from India – Singh is a national hero in his native country. He is scheduled to fight again on May 13.