Three fighters gained their 1st titles as Professionals at the O2 Arena on Saturday evening.
All three men box out of Simsy’s gym in Essex. It was testament to the hard work that brothers Tony and Peter Sims have done with these guys that paid dividends this weekend.
Middleweight contender John Ryder captured the WBO Inter-Continental title; Tyler Goodjohn won the English Light-Welter strap in what was the fight of the evening. Last but certainly not least was Anthony Joshua winning the WBC International belt by butchering Russian Denis Bakhtov.
Goodjohn and Ryder both made their pro-debuts on the same bill; Friday 10th September 2010 at York Hall to be exact. Former stable-mate Lee Purdy fought Ryder’s opponent from Saturday evening Theophilus Tetteh as the main event.
As expected the big fights delivered in an emphatic fashion – let’s look at these in more detail:
Lee Selby v Joel Brunker – IBF Featherweight Final Eliminator
I must admit I did think this would be a tough fight for Selby (20-1: 8 KO’s) – but he made Brunker (27-1: 15 KO’s) look average.
The Welshman made a real statement by stopping the Australian, few would have expected that. He displayed plenty of movement from the outset proving difficult for Brunker to get near; the Aussie was only going to ever win by KO.
Selby nullified his foe with ease and proceeded to give him a boxing lesson on the back-foot. The 27 yr old looked relaxed as he shuffled along to the music in-between rounds – he sensed Brunker couldn’t live with him.
As we headed towards the mid to late rounds Selby began to go through the gears as he looked for the stoppage.
In the 9th he caught Brunker with a body-shot that rocked him, he followed that up with a spiteful combo; Brunker was static on the ropes unable to return fire. The ref intervened and stopped the contest.
With American based champion Evgeny Gradovich due to face Jayson Velez in November on the Crawford v Beltran undercard, Selby will have to wait until Spring for his title shot.
The likelihood will be the fight being staged in America, The Mexican Russian is trained by Robert Garcia and Selby will need to show more of what he did on Saturday to prevail.
He is swimming with the big boys now – I’d fancy him to beat Gradovich but future fights with 2 time Olympian Vasyl Lomachenko, Nonito Donaire and Felix Verdejo will be much tougher.
Tyler Goodjohn v Ricky Boylan
This was the best fight of the evening, like most sat in my vicinity we were on our feet for the majority of the contest.
I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Tyler personally this year and I know how much this win means to him. It was a career best performance from him. Goodjohn’s boxing ability is vastly underrated and on Saturday you saw him prove he can do more than merely trade.
Credit to Ricky Boylan who was live throughout, but I felt that the game-plan devised by trainer Peter Sims was executed to perfection. El Tornado displayed fantastic offensive and defensive skills that Pretty Ricky struggled to cope with.
Goodjohn (11-3: 4 KO’s) proved it was second time lucky in his attempt to capture the English Light-Welter title. In a deep domestic pool of 140 fighters there are some huge fights for him on the horizon.
One name that has already cropped up newly crowned Commonwealth Champion Dave Ryan – who defeated Tyrone Nurse the week before. That would be ferocious fight.
For Boylan (12-1: 4 KO’s) he shouldn’t be too disheartened at his career-first defeat, he has plenty of time on his side to bounce back – he will learn a lot from this fight.
John Ryder v Theophilus Tetteh
After a horrendous 12 months for The Gorilla of injuries and setbacks, capped off with a late change of opponent due to politics – he can finally look forward to some huge fights in 2015.
Ryder (19-1: 11 KO’s) stopped Ghanian Tetteh in the 5th round capturing the WBO Inter-Continental belt in the process.
The 26 yr old’s intentions were clear; he wanted to take all of that frustration out on Tetteh. Ryder steamed in from the outset loading up on shots looking for a spectacular finish.
I thought Tetteh’s corner was going to pull him out in the 4th as he looked shattered. A sizzling right hook – uppercut cross was suffice for the referee to end the contest.
Having spoken to John post-fight I could sense the relief that he can put all of this behind him. Tony Sims and John will be firmly on promoter Eddie Hearn’s case to match-up him with some of the biggest names in the division. Ryder is now ranked with a governing body and I’d put him in with Brian Vera or Sergio Mora without hesitation.
Anthony Joshua v Denis Bakhtov
That was hands down Joshua’s most brutal performance so far; he scorched the Russian.
Bakhtov is no patsy, a durable guy who hasn’t been stopped in 9 years but the 24 yr old toyed with him away like a lion playing with its cub.
He could have stopped him in the first 20 seconds – but in Joshua’s own words he wanted to hurt him.
I was sat a few metres from the corner where Darth Vader was hemmed in, every thud of Joshua’s punches made you wince.
The ref initially hesitated with the stoppage in the 2nd to allow more punishment to continue, he then jumped in to halt the contest before some serious damage was done. It was the first time we have seen the vicious side of Joshua; expect more of that as we enter the next stage in his development.
The hardest challenge now is who to match him with. He beats every British Heavyweight bar David Haye for me. The November fight with Michael Sprott appears to be a pure dead rubber contest now – but who should he face?
I would stick him in with Eddie Chambers or Alexander Ustinov, I want to see someone try to have a real go at Joshua. But few if any can withstand that mutant power.
With David Price commentating for Sky on the show, talk naturally centered towards him against Joshua next year. Two huge punchers and Price being one of few men who would have a height advantage over the Watford man, it makes for an exciting 12 months ahead in the Heavyweight division.