Boxing on a Sunday is not a common an occurrence, with Matchroom and Sky Sports trying a new time slot for prime-time boxing. Live from Milton Keynes, the card was solid if not slightly underwhelming, culminating in the toughest test of Joshua Buatsi’s career.
Linus Udofia vs John Harding Jr
As expected, this was a well contested and matched fight worthy of an English title fight. Early on Udofia was the busier of the two, using his jab well to dictate the pace of the fight, throwing combinations to the body and head. John Harding Jr's defence held strong though, keeping his hands high and then catching his opponent with some eye-catching punches.
Despite Harding landing some flush shots, it seemed as though he lacked the knockout power to cause Udofia any significant damage. As the fight progressed, Udofia’s class began to show with his output not relenting whilst Harding continued to throw singular shots as he started to fatigue. In round 9 that relentlessness came to effect as Udofia landed an electric hook coming out of the clinch to down the helpless Harding. Although Harding managed to stand up before the ten count, his body language suggested that he was in no state to continue and as such the fight was stopped.
Result: Udofia – Round 9 KO.
John Hedges vs John Ardon
After a strong amateur career, it was John Hedges turn to enter the pro ranks with John Ardon being his first opponent. The difference in reach was clear from the outset, however, the Czech fighter still came forward throwing a considerable amount of punches, with both fighters landing early. Hedges’ had his moments, but his defence looked suspect at times, keeping his hands low and allowing Ardon to land. Against the opinion of many, the 18-year-old managed to get the decision and should perhaps count himself lucky to get the victory. He undoubtedly will use this fight as a learning curve, and it has given him and his team some things to work on.
Result: John Hedges – Decision.
Aqib Fiaz vs Kane Baker
This eight-round fight was highly anticipated after it was taken away from fight camp at short notice due Fiaz falling ill on the day of the weigh-in. From the beginning of the fight, Fiaz oozed quality, personified through his delightful jab and light feet. The 20-year-old showed a maturity well beyond his years, evading and countering with speed and precision. Baker on the other hand, offered a tough work rate and power in his shots; often the aggressor, trying to walk his opponent down.
Baker who was commended for his style and attitude during the fight continued to up the pressure and look for a big shot to stun Fiaz. In the end, it was a dominant display from Fiaz who put in a great performance and rightly earned his opponents respect after the final bell. Baker was clearly unhappy with the decision however many would struggle to make a case for him winning the fight.
Result: Aqib Fiaz – Decision.
Alen Babic vs Niall Kennedy
Babic is quickly becoming one of the largest characters in the heavyweight division. In this fight, ‘The Savage’ came out of the gates quickly, throwing punches with intent from the first bell and looking to put on a show. Kennedy did well to take the majority of the punches early on, although it was clear the punishment was starting to take its toll. The referee ended the fight in the third round, with Babic charging forward and knocking the Irishman down. The Croatian definitely answered some of his critics’ questions tonight, but it still remains to be seen whether he should move down in weight.
Result: Babic – Round 3 TKO