Billy Joe Saunders won again today at York Hall, topping Bradley Pryce over 12 rounds. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Billy Joe Saunders and Frank Buglioni kept their unblemished pro records with wins today at York Hall, and Stephen Smith won his third straight easy fight on the undercard as well.
In the main event, Saunders improved to 14-0 (9 KO) with a wide decision win over veteran Bradley Pryce on scores of 120-108, 120-109, 120-109, a shutout except for two of three judges finding a round to give Pryce (33-11, 18 KO) a share.
It wasn't a thrilling performance from Saunders, but it was impressive in that he totally locked himself down in the fight and gave Pryce a pretty good beating, which built up gradually. Saunders, 22, showed some offensive variety and a cool head, retaining his Commonwealth middleweight title and inching closer to the top of the domestic scene.
The popular Buglioni (5-0, 3 KO) won in the co-featured bout in front of his loud, passionate fans, beating journeyman Jody Meikle over six rounds on a score of 60-55. Buglioni has became almost stunningly popular in short order, and he whacked Meikle (3-21, 0 KO) around pretty good, but couldn't get the 32-year-old out. Meikle may seem like a veteran, but he's really not. He came into the sport in February 2011, which means he's had 24 bouts in the last 16 months. This was his third since May 12. He really can't fight at all, but he can take a few shots.
Stephen Smith PTS-8 Jose Luis Graterol
Former British and Commonwealth featherweight champ Smith improves to 15-1 (8 KO) with a shutout win over Graterol (14-15-4, 5 KO), winning on a score of 80-72. He had no real issue with this one, as he went for it early a bit, but then pulled back and simply got some rounds under his belt. Graterol hasn't been stopped since he began his comeback in October 2011, during which time he's gone 1-7.
Lewis Pettitt PTS-6 Gavin Reid (59-57)
Reid (6-14-1, 3 KO) was a late replacement opponent, but fought pretty well here. There could have been an argument for a draw, I suppose, but Pettitt (8-0, 3 KO) keeps his unbeaten record. The 21-year-old prospect from Erith had a bit of trouble going the six-round distance, with all reports that it was very, very hot in York Hall today.
Tom Baker PTS-4 Danny Brown (40-36)
Pretty routine shutout win for Baker in his pro debut, which wasn't as scintillating or exciting as Mitchell Smith's debut. Highlight of the fight was Baker's haircut, which was pretty absurd. Baker looked solid and well-prepared, but there was little spark.
Mitchell Smith TKO-3 Lee Ancliff
Watching Ancliff (11-22-2, 2 KO) is enough to make one wonder how he's won 11 fights. He was lousy. That said, he's been around the rings a few times, and for a pro debut, Smith (1-0, 1 KO) couldn't have done much better than this. He was confident, smart, put his punches together well, and totally owned the ring. Smith, 19, may well have a future -- I'm an early fan, at the very least.
Lee Noble PTS-4 John Dignum (38-36)
The difference here was a pair of flash knockdowns from Noble, who put Dignum down late in the first and late in the third. I scored it 38-37 for Noble (15-22-3, 3 KO), giving him just a 10-9 in the third on what was really just a balance knockdown in a round Dignum had been winning. Had he not suffered that knockdown in the third, I would have had this one a 37-37 draw, three to one in rounds for Dignum, but with a 10-8 for Noble in the first.
Dignum (1-1, 0 KO) was a bit shellshocked in his post-fight interview, as you'd expect from a prospect who drops his second pro fight, but his real problem today was he just plain looked flat. Flat-footed, flat offensively, flat mentally. Noble, who also beat Phill Fury on May 12, has now won two in a row for the first time since 2007.