Brad Foster retained his British and Commonwealth Super Bantamweight titles, winning the Lonsdale belt outright with an entertaining and breathless unanimous decision win against the game James Beech Jr, as boxing returned in the UK from BT Sport Studio on Friday night.
Several precaution were taken and tests carried out before the boxers and their teams could make it to the ring. Referees and cornermen wore PPE as Frank Warren was the first UK promoter to come back since the Coronavirus put sport on hold for almost four months.
Foster (13-0-2, 5 KOs) began swiftly, whipping in quick shots and landing with a stinging right hand right at the end of the first frame.
The pair exchanged blows at the beginning of the second, and Foster strayed low on occasion, as he stalked his foe.
Beech (12-1, 2 KOs) for his part was boxing well and inching closer to try and negate Foster’s attacks.
The pair opened up again to kick off the third, with ’The Blade’ prepared to walk Beech down, but the former two-Weight Midlands Area champion was unfazed, firing back with combinations of his own.
The fourth again began swiftly and Foster, 22, winged in hard shots to head and body, as he slipped many of Beech’s shots to land his own.
There was damage caused to Beech’s left eye in the session, and he was blinking uncomfortably as a result. It was a competitive scrap, and the pace was frantic, with rounds becoming hard to score.
Foster would begin rounds quickly, but then elect to rest as Beech would then have his turn at success.
The second half of the contest saw the two exchange hard body shots to begin the seventh and Beech started to look like he was feeling the blistering pace, but he gamely continued to stay in the argument.
A cut had developed above the reigning champion’s left eye in the eighth, and the heads came together in the ninth, causing referee Marcus McDonnell to issue a final warning to Foster.
Beech’s corner sensed their man was coming on the stronger, and they implored him to step on the gas, as the fight went into the championship rounds.
Foster’s output was slowing, allowing his 23-year-old opponent to get point scoring shots off in the tenth.
The eleventh was a much better round for the champion, as he used some good footwork to put some eye catching combinations together. The fight was potentially up for grabs going into the final round, and Foster yet again began brightly, a hard right hook landing early on.
In the final minute of the round, Foster hurt Beech to the body with a left hook and Beech bravely survived to hear the final bell as the contest went to the cards.
Both Terry O’Connor and Howard Foster scored the bout 117-111, while Michael Alexander returned a 116-113 verdict as Foster remained the double domestic champion.
On the undercard, Hamzah Sheeraz made a successful first defence of his WBO European Super Welterweight title with a dominant win against Dundee’s Paul Kean.
The 21-year-old started quickly and with half of the first round gone, he connected with a sweet right hand on the button to drop the Scot.
The visitor survived the count, but Sheeraz (11-0, 7 KOs) was going through the gears, pawing with his left hand, whilst landing hard shots with his right.
Every time Sheeraz trapped Kean (12-2, 1 KO) on the ropes or in a corner, he would unload with fast paced shots that his opponent struggled to dodge.
The former Scottish Area titlist did begin to come into the fore in the fourth, but Sheeraz quickly regained control in the fifth with some intelligent punches.
The Ilford man was boxing beautifully, moving in and out of range, landing a variety of punches that were beginning to jolt the head back of the challenger.
The home favourite sensed his man was tiring, and he upped his output in the sixth, with his jab the potent weapon and Kean sporting a bloodied nose.
During the break between rounds six and seven, the decision was made my Kean’s father and trainer to pull his son out just as the bell for the seventh was about to toll. The official decision was a corner retirement after one second of round seven.
Sheeraz dedicated the win to his Aunt, who tragically passed away from COVID-19 recently.
“It’s been hard, and the camp could have gone better, but we did what we had to do and got the win,” Sheeraz said post-fight
It was a mature performance, and I’m happy with a win.”
Ladbroke Grove’s David Adeleye won his second straight bout, as a professional by stopping West Bromwich’s Matt Gordon inside two rounds.
Gordon was never likely to give the 23-year-old rounds, having been stopped in the first round in each of his previous two contests, but he did last slightly longer this time.
The pair were given their orders by referee Michael Alexander before the first bell, after the pair shared an intense head-to-head.
Adeleye, (2-0 2 KOs) who sparred Tyson Fury ahead of his victory over Deontay Wilder in February, was patient in the opener as he pawed with the jab and attempted to draw Gordon (2-3-1) out of his shell.
Some sledgehammer rights and lefts to head and body began the second session, and it seemed a knockout was imminent, as Adeleye continuously countered Gordon with big right hands.
With half a minute left in the round, Gordon was trapped in a corner and Adeleye teed off, putting the 35-year-old on the canvas with a volley of punches, mainly the right hand.
After administering the count, the referee removed Gordon from harms way by waving the fight off.
Dorion Krasmaru, regular sparring partner of Daniel Dubois, extended his unbeaten streak, taken the distance for the first time in his paid career with a four round points win against the tough and experienced Phil Williams of Swindon.
Krasmaru (3-0, 2 KOs) began off a lovely jab, and after a minute-and-a-half of a variety of shots, the Ukrainian pierced the guard of Williams (3-25-1, 1 KO) with a right hook, going to work with hurtful shots to head and body, as he dominated the opening session.
Krasmaru unloaded big shots in the second and a left hand had his opponent staggering, however the 34-year-old was doing well to cover up under heavy fire.
Only three men had previously halted Williams in his 24 defeats, and Krasmaru continued his assault in round three, picking his punches nicely, and the left hook to the body was a particularly eye catching punch.
The final round saw the 27-year-old up the ante, but Williams, to his credit, did get some shots off of his own, but he was tiring.
The volume of Krasmaru’s punches were taking their toll, but Williams admirably survived to the final bell on his feet, where referee Michael Alexander declared Krasmaru a 40-36 victor.
The first contest held in the UK since the enforced hiatus was a Lightweight six rounder, where Mark Chamberlain needed less than a minute to impressively halt Wiltshire’s Stu Greener.
Portsmouth-based Chamberlain (6-0, 4 KOs) wasted no time, flooring the wonderfully nicknamed “Little Canelo,” within the first thirty seconds with rapid lefts and rights, and a meaty left hook forced Greener (3-5, 1 KO) to the canvas.
After surviving the count, the 29-year-old was simply a rabbit in the headlights, and several combinations forced referee Michael Alexander to call a halt to the bout.