As a precursor to the massive Fury v Wilder III card in Las Vegas, the British leg of BT Sport’s coverage saw Jason Cunningham win the British, Commonwealth and European super bantamweight titles, with a close and difficult to score points win over Brad Foster at Utilita Arena in Birmingham.
Foster claimed the vacant British belt in March 2019, and added the Commonwealth belt two months later, with the vacant IBF belt coming in his last outing in March, while Cunningham ripped the European crown from Gamal Yafai back in May, dropping the Brummie three times on the way to a momentous points win.
After a technical first few rounds, which were close and tough to score, the pair engaged in the fifth in an attempt to wrest control of the contest, with Foster just a shade ahead of the exchanges. Foster’s switch hitting was causing Cunningham problems, and the action was scrappy and fractious as a result. Cunningham was edging his way into the argument, and Foster was cut due a clash of heads in round eight, and the bout continued to be tricky to score, but Cunningham was the one forcing the issue, and was finishing strongly in a bid to snatch the win. Both men let their hands go in the final round, but there was also plenty of holding as the fight reached its conclusion, with both exchanging blows.
116-112, 115-114, and 114-113 ensured Cunningham took another eye catching win, and saw Foster’s unbeaten record go up in smoke.
Callum Johnson’s opponent, Server Emulaev, wasn’t expected to give the Lincolnshire man much trouble, but the Russian gave a good account of himself before ’The One’ eventually defended his WBO Global light heavyweight title with a workmanlike majority decision win.
Johnson was unable to settle into any sort of rhythm or pattern, and he found Emulaev a tough nut to crack, and he grew in confidence as the bout wore on, landing clean shots that troubled Johnson in the seventh and eighth frames. Try as he might, Johnson found his opponent difficult to pin down, and both men went for a strong end to the contest, with all results possible as the fight went to the scorecards.
Scores of 96-94, and a way too wide 99-92, trumped a 95-95 drawn card to give Johnson the win.
Ekou Essuman impressively defended his British and Commonwealth welterweight titles for the first time, as he knocked out the brave Danny Ball in the sixth round. Essuman was razor sharp from the opening bell, and Ball was marked very early on in the contest as the champion dominated the opening three rounds. Ball rallied in the fourth, landing with a raking right hand, and the pair took turns to enjoy success, with Essuman working well on the ropes and Ball doing the same at range. The sixth saw the finish, with Essuman hurting Ball with a big right hand, and, with Ball trapped in the corner, Essuman landed with rapid lefts and rights that dropped Ball to the canvas. With plenty of blood coming from Ball’s mouth, he remained on the floor for the full count, as ’The Engine’ retained in style.
— Boxing on BT Sport 🥊 (@BTSportBoxing) October 9, 2021
Liam Davies claimed the vacant WBC International Silver super bantamweight title with a landslide win over ten rounds against Dixon Flores. Two scores of 100-90, and a third at 99-91reflected the Telford native’s dominance over the distance.
Nick Ball scored three knockdowns in under a minute, as he stopped Piotr Gudel inside a round of their super featherweight contest that was scheduled for eight.
Batley based super lightweight Amaar Akbar made it 2-0 as a pro, winning every round of four against Liam Richards, who had only been stopped once in over 75 contests.
At welterweight, Owen Cooper made it five straight wins as a pro, as he stopped the usually durable Des Newton in the fifth of their scheduled six rounder. Newton was floored in the fourth, and it looked like he had suffered an ankle injury, but was under heavy fire, and the stoppage was a correct one.
Ryan Woolridge moved to 2-0, and he scored a knockdown on the way to a points win against Paul Cummings at super welterweight.
There were also wins for George Davey and debutant Macauley Owen, who defeated Dario Borosa and Michael Horobin respectively.