Hosea Burton vs Frank Buglioni
Frank Buglioni (19-2-1, 15 KOs), showed true grit and determination to stop British light heavyweight champion, Hosea Burton (18-1, 9 KOs), in the 12th round.
Buglioni first sent Burton to the canvas in the 11th, before knocking him down twice in the 12th, with referee, Michael Alexander, calling a halt to proceedings after the second knockdown in round 12.
Burton had started the final round well, and even rocked Buglioni before being caught with a menacing right to the temple. Burton managed to recover but his legs were all but gone and when Buglioni landed he sent Burton crashing to the canvas at which point the referee stepped in.
It was a close contest from the start, with Burton ahead on all the judges scorecards when Buglioni scored a stoppage in the final round.
The next stop for both fighters? A rematch in early 2017.
Callum Smith vs Luke Blackledge
Undefeated British super middleweight champion, Callum Smith (22-0, 17 KOs), stopped Luke Blackledge (22-3-2, 7 KOs) in the 10th round of their contest with a brutal KO which required medical teams to check the challenger who was fortunately able to get to his feet before leaving the ring.
Smith vs. Blackledge lasted much longer than many would have initially expected, with Smith getting caught with shots that may have left him in trouble against a higher level of opponent. However, Smith took whatever Blackledge threw at him, gave back double and then some.
Despite a courageous effort from Blackledge, he tasted the canvas in round three and also in round eight, before finally getting stopped in the tenth.
In the third, Blackledge first tasted the canvas when he was caught unawares by a right and he managed to recover well.
During the eighth round, Smith unloaded on Blackledge, once again sending the challenger to the canvas. Blackledge was again able to recover and survive the round.
Unfortunately for Blackledge in the tenth he was caught with a lethal left hook to the head which knocked him out cold.
Kal Yafai vs Luis Concepcion
Kal Yafai (21-0, 14 KOs), was able to both remain undefeated and claim the WBA super flyweight title with a unanimous decision victory over Luis Concepcion (35-5, 24 KOs).
The judges at ringside scored the contest 120-108, 119-108 and 117-110.
Yafai started the contest in an exciting fashion and caused numerous problems for the former WBA super flyweight champion, Concepcion, who was unable to find his rhythm throughout the contest.
Yafai’s win makes him Birmingham’s first and Britain’s 13th world champion and he will now look to face some of the elite fighters in the super flyweight division in 2017.
“It’s unbelievable, it’s going to take a while to sink in. I knew I was going to do it, it was just a matter of how. I just did what I needed to do, got through it. I still feel that I have a lot more in me and plenty more to give, this win will take me up to another level now.
“I always knew I was capable of a win like that. I really didn’t think he was that great in there, I felt from round one that I was winning he rounds comfortably, doing what I needed to do and making sure that I had plenty in the tank in the championship rounds.
“He was tough and physical but he wasn’t as strong as I thought he would be on the inside and he didn’t punch as hard as I thought he would. He had decent power, but not the power that I thought he would.
“Every Olympian and Olympic champion wants to become a World champion – I missed out on the Olympics but this is amazing, and I’ve had a great payday – but this is more than any payday you could ever give me.
“I could have been moved quicker really, I’ve had injuries and we’ve had to wait for the big fights. I think it has come at the right time though and the proof was in the win tonight. I’ve boxed a two-weight World champion and I’ve won very comfortably.
“I feel that I won near enough every round. I did a lot of good things but I did some bad things but I’ll correct them and get back in the gym after Christmas.
“I can’t wait to headline in Birmingham as a World champion, my hands are a bit sore so I might be out for a little bit, but the second I can get in the gym I will be back working and getting ready to defend this belt for the first time.”
Scott Quigg vs. Jose Cayetano
Scott Quigg (32-1-2, 24 KOs), made the move to featherweight in style, stopping Jose Cayetano with a brutal right to the head mid-way through the ninth round.
Cayetano proved he’s as tough as nails during the contest, simply through the sheer number of shots he endured, but he eventually succumbed to Quigg’s onslaught and when he did, referee, Terry O’Connor, had no choice but to stop the fight.
Dillian Whyte vs. Dereck Chisora
Dillian Whyte (20-1, 15 KOs), claimed a split decision victory over a rejuvenated Dereck Chisora (26-7, 18 KOs), in what was the fight of the night and a perhaps a candidate for fight of the year.
The judges at ringside scored the contest, 115-113, 115-114 for Dillian Whyte, and 115-113 for Dereck Chisora.
It was a very close fight, one you could score either way, and if Chisora had won, nobody would have questioned the decision.
It was arguably the championship rounds that clinched it for Whyte, where he seemed to have just a little more left in the tank than the older Chisora.
Both fighters rocked each other repeatedly throughout the fight, with Whyte enduring a brutal barrage from Chisora on more than one occasion.
The win for Whyte makes him the mandatory challenger for Deontay Wilder and whilst the loss for Chisora may seem like a death-blow at this stage of his career I think it’s fair to say his stock has soared. Perhaps the best option for both fighters would be a rematch on the undercard of Joshua vs. Klitschko in April 2017.
Anthony Joshua vs. Eric Molina
Anthony Joshua (18-0, 18 KOs), made easy work of a timid Eric Molina, stopping the challenger in the third round of the heavyweight contest at the Manchester Arena.
You could be forgiven for thinking that Molina failed to throw a punch in the entire fight, he gave the impression that he really didn’t want to be in that ring and definitely didn’t want a crack at the heavyweight champion.
Joshua eventually caught Molina with a right hand in the third round, which left Molina slumped in the corner, however the challenger unwillingly rose at the eight count. However, Molina was quickly in trouble once again, being caught with a flurry from the champion, to which he had no response and it was at this point referee, Steve Gray, stepped in and waved the fight off.
After claiming victory, Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, invited Wladimir Klitschko into the ring to announce that we will see Joshua vs. Klitschko at Wembley Stadium on April 29th.