Results From The O2 Arena – Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing were at London’s O2 Arena Saturday with a huge night of fights that saw the features air on SKY Box Office in the United Kingdom and on Showtime International in the United States.
The main event of the evening saw IBF world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (16-0) defend his title for the first time as he faced Dominic Breazeale (17-0). The fight saw Breazeale enter as a huge underdog, and for many, the question was not if Joshua would win, but when. Most observers were thinking it would be over fast.
Joshua was faster and more active in the early going, and several times in the opening rounds Breazeale seemed to feel Joshua’s power, but Joshua was showing patience and never rushed to close out the fight. Midway in the third round, Breazeale had beaten the bookie odds for the over/under, which were at 3 1/2. By the start of round four, Breazeale’s right eye was nearly closed, but at least he had made the fight last longer than the fighter introductions.
By round six Breazeale looked to have survived Joshua’s determined attack, and he seemed to initiate a bit of offense. Though Joshua won the sixth round like every other round, Breazeale did enough to bloody Joshua’s nose. Round seven saw Breazeale come out confident, but Joshua answered Breazeale with a huge flurry of punches that sent Breazeale down. Breazeale beat the count the first time, but he went down to another sustained barrage from Joshua that had the referee call the fight with Breazeale on the canvas struggling with his mouthpiece.
Earlier in the evening eight, heavyweight Dillian Whyte returned to action for the first time since his December of 2015 loss to Anthony Joshua. White had a weight advantage of more than 40 pounds in his 8-round bout with journeyman Ivica Bacurin, and it showed. White logged rounds in his return, but put Bacurin down with a right hand in the sixth to go to 17-1 overall.
Budding star Conor Benn moved his record to 3-0 as a professional as he made short work of journeyman Lukas Radic (3-7-1). Benn scored a knockdown with a short left hook, and after Radic got up, Benn applied the pressure with a barrage of punches that sent Radic down heavily. Benn was introduced as “The Destroyer”, a name that will remind many of his legendary father, Nigel Benn, “The Dark Destroyer.”
Felix Cash made a successful debut in four round action, as he faced Portugal’s Yailton Neves (0-1). Cash scored a knockdown with his first punch, but then the fight settled down. Neves was able to extend the fight, though Cash landed better punches more often throughout. Cash had the comfortable 40-35 edge on the scorecard.
In a bout for the vacant WBC Silver title at 140 pounds, Italy’s Andrea Scarpia came out and cut John Wayne Hibbert in the early going of the fight. From there, Hibbert was not able to get on track. Scarpia scored a knockdown in round five before the doctor called the fight off in the sixth because of the accumulated damage to Hibbert’s eye.
The BBBofC British middleweight title was successfully defended by Chris Eubank Jr. as he stopped Tom Doran. This was the first fight back for Eubank Jr. since his outing against Nick Blackwell this past March, a bout that was nearly fatal for Blackwell. Eubank Jr came out and confidently set the pace from the opening bell. Eubank Jr scored a knockdown in round three after a strong series of punches, but Doran survived to finish the round. Eubank added more punch and more showboating in round four, getting the stop after sending Doran down three more times.
British bragging rights and the WBA International title at 168 pounds were on the line between George Groves and Martin Murray. Groves was defending his belt, but both men entered the fight needing a win after setbacks in their last “big” fights. The weight class is also waiting on results of WBA title-holder Felix Sturm’s case, as he has failed a drug test and may be stripped. If Sturm is stripped, the winner of this bout could be in line to fight Fedor Chudinov.
Once the bell rang, it seemed as if the pre-fight tension translated to a methodical pace in the early rounds. Groves showed his patience and his boxing ability to put rounds in the bank as Murray looked to be slow getting on track. Round six saw the action pick up as both men started throwing harder punches. Several exchanges created the best action of the fight, and when the bell rang, it was Murray who had taken more punishment. Entering round seven, Groves seemed to sense Murray was vulnerable, and he relentlessly bludgeoned Murray throughout the following rounds.. The body punching throughout the fight by Groves appeared to have the effect of slowing Murray further. Murray tried to throw a one punch equalizer, but Groves consistently broke through Murray’s defenses. Halfway through the 10th, Murray landed a solid punch that started a spurt of sustained offense, as he was able to pressure Groves and land punches. Round 11 saw Murray trying to sustain his rally, but his tank was running low. Groves appeared to be gathering himself for the final three minutes. All three judges gave the fight to Groves by scores of 118-110.
For American fans, it should be noted that the SKY Box Office pay-per-view event was available for 21.95 pounds, or around $30 dollars.
Additional results from the O2:
118 lbs 8 RD: Khalid Yafai defeated Jozsef Ajtai by TKO in RD 1 @ 1:42.
160 lbs 6 RD: Anthony Ogogo defeated Frane Radnic by TKO after RD 1. (3:00).
154 lbs 6 RD: Ted Cheeseman defeated Danny Little by TKO in the 5th.
Results From The O2 Arena