The sixth defence of Conor Benn’s WBA Continental welterweight title was a successful one, as he knocked out Chris van Heerden in two rounds at the AO Arena in Manchester.
Benn (21-0, 14 KOs) had been gradually been stepping up in class prior to this one, and he was last out in December 2021, halting former WBO world champion, Chris Algieri in four rounds. Van Heerden (28-3-1, 12 KOs) was a former IBO belt holder, but was somewhat past his best, his last outing coming in December 2020 in a one round no contest with Jaron Ennis that was stopped due to a cut.
The first round was a frantic one, with both men swinging for the fences and landing with hard shots, and Benn was forced to take a few from his opponent, who looked up for the fight.
‘The Destroyer’ made the breakthrough through in spectacular fashion in the second, with a right hand wobbling Van Heerden, and follow-up spiteful shots, with an uppercut and a chopping right hand forced the visitor to take refuge on the canvas, where he failed to beat the referee’s count.
Benn will now hope to move into genuine world title class as a result of his latest early win.
Amir Khan, who has previously been linked to a fight with the 25-year-old joined him in the ring after his victory.
Billam-Smith beats McCarthy again
Chris Billam-Smith successfully defended his European and Commonwealth cruiserweight titles, knocking out Tommy McCarthy in the eighth round of their rematch.
Billam-Smith (15-1, 11 KOs) took a split decision win in their original meeting last August in the Matchroom back garden, and this time around it was another competitive contest, before the Bournemouth man ended matters inside schedule.
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A tiring McCarthy (18-4, 9 KOs) was tagged by several rights and lefts in the eighth, and Billam-Smith then landed with a big right hand that dropped the Irishman, and he was unable to beat the count.
Baumgardner retains world title
Alycia Baumgardner made a successful first defence of her WBC and IBO super featherweight titles, pitching a shutout win against Edith Soledad Matthysse (17-12-1, 1 KO).
Michigan-based Baumgardner (12-1, 7 KOs) sensationally stopped Terri Harper to win the belts, and was never in danger here, as she took three 100-90 tallies from the judges to take victory.
Campbell Hatton (7-0, 2 KOs) maintained his unbeaten record with the lightweight son of Ricky Hatton winning al six rounds against Spain’s Ezequiel Gregores (3-10).
Jack Cullen (21-3-1, 9 KOs) returned after a stoppage defeat last time out, and won all eight rounds in a competitive super middleweight affair against Vladimir Belujsky (12-4-1, 8 KOs).
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Thomas Whittaker Hart (7-0, 3 KOs) made it seven from seven, taking a 78-74 win in his light heavyweight eight rounder against Ben Ridings (5-2), and Jordan Thompson (13-0, 11 KOs) extended his undefeated slate with a second round stoppage of Mariano Angel Gudino (14-6, 9 KOs) at cruiserweight.
Luke Evans (11-0-1, 1 KO) suffered his first setback as a professional, as he was held to a six round draw at super lightweight against Miguel Cesario Antin (19-10-1, 8 KOs). The referee scored the bout 56-56.