Sedgefield light-welterweight, Bradley Saunders 12-0 remained unbeaten as he completely outclassed Frenchman Stephane Benito 22-19-3 in Hull on March 7th in preparation for an April Commonwealth title challenge against the seasoned Dave Ryan 16-8.
Referee, Michael Alexander stopped the fight with just ten seconds remaining in the penultimate round of the six round contest. The former French champion had taken plenty of punishment throughout the fight and was almost too tough for his own good at times.
New trainer, Oliver Harrison claimed that the fight should have been stopped at least three rounds earlier. The former WBO light-welterweight champion commented on his game opponent that provided him with some much needed ring-time after the fight, "I'm definitely pleased but you know what, I doubt there's many kids that could have taken the shots that he could. I'm heavy-handed but he took some shots."
Benito was a tough cookie and would have certainly hit the deck in the opening 20 seconds of the fifth round following a short right hand from the victor followed by an uppercut that sent him flying back to the ropes which managed to keep him upright, just.
Saunders followed up with a brief onslaught to the body before Benito, clearly hurt, managed to move around and keep the distance between them for the remainder of most of the round before a thunderous left hook shook his body in the closing 30 seconds moments before Saunders ended matters with a solid right hand that landed cleanly on the Frenchman's chin. Whilst with his back to the ropes, the referee had seen enough and waved off the fight despite protests from the wounded but disappointed loser.
The decision was the right one as the 35-year-old from Southern France later confirmed that he had broken his ribs during the fight.
Saunders praised his foe by saying, "He was a very tough man. About breaking his ribs, well that's what he said, and he still didn't go down."
Saunders boxed the entire fight with his hands held low, flicking out the jab with speed and landing often, "I expect to be in the trenches with Dave Ryan but I can have a fight and I can box," he said of his next ring challenge.
Saunders next fights on the Geordie Roar show in Newcastle on April 4th against Commonwealth light-welterweight Dave 'Rocky' Ryan in the headlining fight of the schedule that also includes Olympic gold medallist Anthony Joshua 10-0 in an eight round heavyweight contest.
Eddie Hearn and Matchroom presented an action packed night of boxing from the Hull Ice Arena, as Luke Campbell MBE and Tommy Coyle successfully came through their assignments to set up a Summer showdown.
Coyle took the opening session of his bout against Martin Gethin with ease, working the jab and shooting to the body, as the Walsall man looked to figure out his young opponent. Gethin made a statement of intent in the second when he decked ‘Boom Boom’ with a wicked left hook. In between the fifth and sixth rounds, Gethin and his team pulled out of the fight citing an ear injury.
Luke Campbell put on a dazzling display of southpaw skills to outclass the capable Levis Morales in three rounds. The London 2012 Olympic gold medallist was incredibly accurate and spiteful in his attacks and the Nicaraguan puncher couldn’t keep up with the pace.
Another Oliver Harrison prospect, Rocky Fielding 20-0, returned from a lengthy hand injury to cruise to a comfortable eight round decision over Latvian Oleg Fedotovs 19-19 levelling his win-lose ratio.
Despite the comfortable nature of the performance, the lanky super middleweight showed signs of ring rust as he was tagged with a number of wild swings.
Welterweight dynamo, Sam Eggington crushed Shayne Singleton to snatch the WBC International Silver welterweight title. Singleton, the defending champion on fight night, boxed well in the opening session, however, Eggington was merely biding his time. ‘The Savage’ knew all along that he was the puncher and he proved it in the second round. A short and rapid counter exploded on the chin of the Colne man and left him on his back for an eight count. Singleton battled bravely throughout, but every clean punch from the Jon Pegg trained Eggington had a negative effect on the legs of the former English light-welterweight titleholder. Two more heavy knockdowns in the fifth round gave the Singleton corner enough cause to throw in the towel.
Tom ‘The Crusader’ Knight overcame two knockdowns to claim a hard earned draw with the smart and experienced Erick Ochieng. The young light middleweight started the fight working well behind a sharp and accurate jab. He was able to control the distance in the early exchanges, although Ochieng was always dangerous with swinging counters. A crunching overhand right to the temple in the fourth round forced Knight to take a knee. Shortly afterwards, he again touched down after swallowing a right uppercut. In extraordinary turn of events, Knight finished the fourth stanza on top. Knight then displayed plenty of heart in the fifth round as he bludgeoned ‘The Eagle’ clean through the ropes with a thudding flurry of blows. Knight seemingly outworked Ochieng through to the finish but referee, Howard Foster, scored the bout a draw.
Gamal Yafai maintained his professional winning streak by halting Krysztof Rogowski in the third round. The Polish opponent came to fight but the polished boxing skills of the younger Yafai brother were more than enough to see him safely past a potential banana skin.
Local lad, Charlie ‘Punisher’ Payton, suffered his first professional defeat at the hands of Lincoln’s Bobby ‘Dazzler’ Jenkinson. The visitor overpowered and outworked the home favourite for the entirety of their six round bout and he was thoroughly deserving of his 60-55 points victory.
Another Hull-based prospect, Connor Seymour, battled to a four round draw with Danny Brown. The pair traded often with both men enjoying success and they fought right through to the final bell.
Hometown heavyweight debutant, Ryan Fuller, started life as a professional by stopping Newcastle’s James Barnes in the opening round. A flurry of punches after 90 seconds prompted the referee to step in and call a halt to proceedings.