Billy Joe Saunders put a nightmare 2018 in the rear-view mirror by dominating the over matched Shefat Isufi at the Lamex Stadium, Stevenage. Saunders picked up the vacant WBO Super Middleweight Title in his home county and will now hope to lure the big player at both Middleweight and Super Middle to the table.
Saunders technical skills were simply too much for Isufi, and in the first five rounds of the contest, the Hatfield man put on a boxing masterclass, with a gulf in class evident.
However, in the sixth, Saunders stepped off the gas, and Isufi put Billly Joe on unsteady legs with a big right hand. Saunders managed to clear his head, staying out of trouble to see out the round.
From there on, Saunders, under the tutelage of Ben Davison, cantered to victory, with his movement and such variety simply too confusing for the visitor to handle.
The result was academic, and scores of 120-108,117-111 and 118-110 rightly saw BJS crowned a two weight World Champion.
Post-fight Saunders was hopeful for future big fights.
“He caught me in the sixth,” said the new Champion.
“It didn’t have me where my legs were gone. I haven’t been in a meaningful fight for 14 months. He’s number one with the WBO for a reason so he’s obviously good”.
“My boxing ability will always get me further in the sport I believe.
“I want the big fights, the big names. The big domestic fights, unification fights. I moved up from middleweight as none of them would fight me.”
Elsewhere on a threadbare bill, Putney Heavyweight, Joe Joyce, stopped the ageing, and limited Alexander Ustinov in three pedestrian rounds.
Joyce was a little slow and ponderous, but still retained his heavy hands, which was too much for Ustinov, who was even slower, and made Joyce look like Manny Pacquiao in comparison to him.
A chopping left hand finally finished off the Russian based Belarusian in the third, and now Joyce will hopefully move on to bigger and more meaningful things.
New frank Warren acquisition, Brad Foster added the Commonwealth Super Bantamweight Title to his British belt, as he dominated former rainbow belt Champion, Ashley Lane on the bill, stopping the Bristolian with seconds of the contest remaining. Foster had Lane on the canvas in round one, and largely controlled the action, but Lane dug in, and kept coming until the very end.
That end came in the last round, with a big right hand scoring a second knockdown, and a follow up assault saw the referee call a halt with just two seconds to spare.18 year old, Dennis McCann is certainly one to watch, and the southpaw wasted no time in dropping Kamil Jaworek with a body shot in round one. Still in pain, the Pole was caught and dropped again, and the referee had seen enough.