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Rule Britannia undercard results: Ryan stops Hibbert; Blackwell, Cardle, Cleverly win

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Dave Ryan and John Wayne Hibbert stole the show on the Rule Britannia undercard in London, with three stoppages in the first four fights.

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Nathan Cleverly def. Tomas Man by KO (0:24 of round 1)

Cleverly (29-2, 15 KO) came out firing and landed a vicious left hook to the body that dropped Man (13-9-1, 8 KO), and that was that. It was a legit nasty body shot, this wasn't a guy just folding. Man's a nothing happening fighter and this was just meant to be a tune-up to prepare Cleverly for Juergen Braehmer in September, or whatever else he does next, as Eddie Hearn floated "a couple of interesting offers from America, as well" after the fight.

Nick Blackwell def. John Ryder by TKO (2:36 of round 7)

A good fight with an ending that is being criticized, and rightly so, at least in my estimation. Referee Howard John Foster jumped the gun stopping this when he did. Ryder, who was ahead in the fight, was certainly hurt when the fight was stopped, and was reeling a bit, but the flurry that Blackwell was throwing wasn't really landing much, nor was what did land particularly effective or clean. That's not to criticize Blackwell (17-3-1, 7 KO), of course, who battled valiantly and leaves with an upset win, and a big one for his career. Ryder (20-2, 12 KO) certainly should have held when he was hurt, but that's just not a good enough reason to have stopped the fight. But it's debatable.

Scotty Cardle def. Craig Evans by unanimous decision (116-112, 116-112, 116-112)

An evenly matched if not exciting fight. Cardle picks up the previously vacant British lightweight title with this win. Neither guy landed efficiently and neither guy can punch, but Evans brought some showmanship and flair to the fight, at least, and both have skills. Against different fighters, there is more entertainment to be had from these two. Against one another, they weren't going to mesh for action, and they did not.

Dave Ryan def. John Wayne Hibbert by TKO (2:00 of round 9)

This was a hell of a fight, a rematch of a 2013 fight that was won by Ryan on a referee's score of 97-95. This time out, they both looked to avoid any scoring controversy. Hibbert dropped Ryan in the third round thanks to some solid body work, and did so again in round five. But despite the two knockdowns, Ryan (17-8, 4 KO) was right there with Hibbert, and it was a competitive fight. Hibbert began to noticeably tire in round six, and was floored about a minute into round nine as Ryan suddenly put on a massive assault, flurrying and forcing Hibbert (15-3, 9 KO) to the canvas. Hibbert was down again moments later, but the fight continued on, with Hibbert fighting on instinct at that point. Ryan kept up the pressure, and referee Victor Loughlin stepped in to stop the fight, giving Ryan the win to retain the Commonwealth junior welterweight title. Just a terrific scrap between two guys who were hungry to settle the score.