Light heavyweight prospect and emerging contender Joshua Buatsi wound up facing some legitimate adversity today against under-the-radar veteran Marko Calic, but pulled the fight out with a seventh round stoppage at Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.
Buatsi (13-0, 11 KO) had trouble in every round of the fight, and in fact we had him down 59-55 after six rounds on our card. The 33-year-old Calic (11-1, 6 KO), a Croatian amateur veteran who really hadn’t taken a remotely tough fight in four years as a pro, gave the 27-year-old Buatsi a lot of trouble with his reach and sound technical ability, plus a solid game plan where he and his team seemed to have Buatsi figured out pretty well coming in.
Buatsi had trouble really getting anything going for much of the bout, but was showing some signs in the fifth and sixth rounds that he was getting close against Calic, and had him hurt late in the fifth.
In the seventh round, Buatsi caught Calic with another good shot, and Calic’s legs started to go. He was ruled down by referee Michael Alexander, though it may have been more a slip, but he was also clearly hurt — the legs were gone, and Calic began looking to his corner, who got up on the apron to wave the towel.
Calic looking like he wanted to quit was a bit puzzling at first, even a bit questionable, but Buatsi said in his post-fight interview that Calic had told him his jaw was broken. Calic went to receive medical attention, obviously, so he wasn’t in the post-fight interview himself. If so, that’s obviously an understandable reason to call it a day.
“He was throwing punches, but I had my hands up, they were hitting the gloves,” Buatsi said after the fight. “I was there, man, we’ve got 12 rounds and I kept fighting hard. But he’s a tough opponent.”
Buatsi says if his left eye heals up in time, he’d like to fight again in December.
Chantelle Cameron UD-10 Adriana Araujo
A pretty easy win for Cameron (13-0, 7 KO), who claims her first world title by taking the WBC junior welterweight belt, which was recently vacated by Jessica McCaskill. Judges had it 100-90 three times for Cameron, BLH also had it 100-90.
The 29-year-old Cameron had been trying to get a title fight at 135 or 140 with Katie Taylor, but even after signing with Matchroom earlier this year it was clear that wasn’t happening any time soon, so she took this opportunity, which she should have. She had no real trouble in this fight, as the Brazilian Araujo (6-1, 1 KO) was out of shape (she missed weight by almost six pounds), slow, plodding, and just couldn’t really do much of anything with the home fighter.
Cameron did suffer a small cut in the sixth round, but followed that up with a dominant seventh, and she pretty clearly won every round of this fight. The 38-year-old Araujo plodded around the ring, had trouble keeping herself contained in a top that was clearly not regulation, and the best thing you can say is that she was tough and ate some good shots from Cameron, though not even coming close to making weight probably had something to do with that, too. Araujo looked to be at least 15 pounds heavier than Cameron in the ring, in all honesty.
“I was brickin’ it!” Cameron laughed, speaking about her nerves coming into the fight. “My team was amazing, they know how to keep me calm and have fun.”
She also wasn’t very complimentary of Araujo, which is understandable, but said she never considered canceling the fight.
“I wanted this belt so I just had to keep my head on it,” she said. “(Araujo) was not professional enough to make the weight, but I knew I was going to win anyway, so I just had to keep the fight. I could feel the weight difference, she was really heavy.”
- Alen Babic TKO-3 Niall Kennedy: Kennedy (13-2-1, 8 KO) was able to survive into the third round, but that’s about all he did. It was Babic’s first third round and the Croatian seemed a little upset that it went that far, as he put Kennedy down and finished him 34 seconds into said round. He had also dropped the 36-year-old Irishman in the second. “I wanted it to be faster, but he was pretty easy to hit, so I didn’t have to go to the next gear. I have another 15 rounds like this in me. It was not a good performance for me, I want better, but it was a stoppage.” Babic weighed in at 199¼ for this fight but still has no interest in fighting at cruiserweight.
- Aqib Fiaz PTS-8 Kane Baker: This fight was meant to happen on one of the August Fight Camp shows, but Fiaz had to pull out late. Baker (13-7, 0 KO) came out fighting hard, which gave Fiaz (6-0, 0 KO) the edge early, and he won the first four rounds without question, I’d say, out-boxing the aggressive Baker. But Baker hurt him to the body a bit late in the fourth, too, and that changed the tone of the fight, with Baker working his ass off in the second half of the fight and giving himself an argument for at least a draw, as Fiaz got more cautious. Referee Ian John Lewis had it 77-75 for Fiaz, which is not unfair, but a tough break for Baker all the same. The sixth and seventh rounds were certainly debatable, and really all Fiaz had to do to nick a 77-75 was win one of the last four rounds. We did have it split 76-76, with Fiaz taking the first four and Baker the latter half. Baker said after the fight he’s done fighting.
- John Hedges PTS-4 Jan Ardon: Hedges is an 18-year-old super middleweight, stands 6’5”, has some amateur experience, but he looks like he might be more project than prospect at this point. It’s not a huge shock, he’s got an awkward body and he’s still a kid. Ardon (2-5, 0 KO) was able to bully him a bit and definitely won the third round, but Ian John Lewis gave Hedges a 39-37 score, which is arguable but not ridiculous. Hedges certainly won the first and it’s not a huge debate to say he won the second and fourth, though it also wouldn’t have been terribly hard to give either of those to Ardon. Bottom line is this is not a kid about to be fast-tracked. He has a lot of learning and some growing to do.
- Linus Udofia TKO-9 John Harding Jr: The 27-year-old Udofia (16-0, 8 KO) retains the English middleweight title with this win, a solid victory over the always-game Harding. Harding (8-2-1, 2 KO) gave this a real effort, particularly early, but the 36-year-old may have gassed himself out a good bit in the third round, when he really went after Udofia and tried to do big damage. But Udofia rode that out and took over the fight from there. Harding held a lot to hang around as long as he did. Udofia caught him with a nice right hand in the ninth round, which put Harding down, and though Harding got up, referee Michael Alexander had seen enough. Obviously Harding was upset, but the stoppage was fair. Udofia will probably be looking for bigger domestic fights and maybe the British or Commonwealth belt soon. Liam Williams has the British belt, but no telling for how much longer, and Felix Cash holds the Commonwealth title.