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Joshua vs Pulev results and highlights: Lawrence Okolie, Hughie Fury, Martin Bakole win on undercard

The favorites were all winners in London on the Joshua-Pulev card.

Anthony Joshua v Kubrat Pulev - IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO World Heavyweight Title Fight Photo by Andrew Couldridge - Pool/Getty Images
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Lawrence Okolie didn’t get to fight for the WBO cruiserweight title as planned, but he got a fight in and ran over replacement opponent Nikodem Jezewski in short order on the Joshua-Pulev undercard.

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Okolie (15-0, 12 KO) dropped the vastly over-matched Jezewski (19-1-1, 9 KO) twice in the first round and again in the second before referee Phil Edwards called a mercy stop to the bout at 1:45 of round two, after the Polish underdog had crumbled on a straight right hand from Okolie.

Jezewski was clearly never able to handle the raw power of Okolie, who was meant to fight Krzysztof Glowacki for the vacant WBO strap. When Glowacki was pulled due to a COVID test, Jezewski, 29, came in on short notice, taking a huge step up in class that he wound up being woefully unable to handle.

The win is at best a sideways step for Okolie, and won’t have him necessarily any better prepared for Glowacki if and when they get rescheduled, potentially in early 2021. But he will come in having shaken some rust, not just from having a fight but a full, proper training camp, and that alone could get him better prepared for Glowacki. It’d be a second training camp he has specifically for Glowacki if it does get a new date.

Eddie Hearn said the Glowacki fight will be next, then they want to unify with Ilunga Makabu and then Mairis Briedis, if all goes well.

“I’ll do something similar (against Glowacki),” Okolie said. “I can’t pick a round, but it’ll be a KO.”

Hughie Fury UD-10 Mariusz Wach

Matchroom Boxing

Fury took scores of 99-91, 100-90, and 100-90 here, with BLH having it slightly closer at 98-92, but it was for sure Hughie Fury’s fight. I gave the first two rounds to Wach by a hair each, but after that it was Hughie’s night.

Fury (25-3, 14 KO) remains intriguing to a lot of people for two reasons: he’s still pretty young at 26, and his last name. Hughie himself doesn’t talk up his cousin connection to Tyson Fury much at all, and never really has, but it will keep the public and promoters intrigued with him.

He did alright here, battling through a bad cut early that came on a clash of heads, totally accidental, just one of those things. His corner did an excellent job keeping it a non-factor, and he also defended that eye nicely. Wach (36-7, 19 KO) isn’t even the guy anymore who took a 12-round thrashing from Wladimir Klitschko in 2012. He wasn’t competitive in that fight, but he was 25 pounds lighter and eight years younger. He now shows up and is a big, durable guy, but he has very little gas in the tank anymore.

That said, it’s a solid win for Hughie to end 2020 on, and although he’s 0-3 against Povetkin, Parker, and Pulev, the Big Three P’s at heavyweight, he’s not afraid to take tough fights, and he’s had moments in those fights (less against Povetkin), and he is still young. My personal opinion when I watch him is there’s no plus skill to his game, but I’m as susceptible to being intrigued by him as anyone. And I do think he’s got a real fighting heart. If he didn’t, he’d have been much more greatly discouraged by losing fights at a young age.

Martin Bakole UD-10 Sergey Kuzmin

Matchroom Boxing

Solid win here for Bakole, who took cards of 96-94, 97-93, and 98-92. BLH had it 97-93 for Bakole, too, as the native of the Congo, now fighting out of Scotland, improves to 16-1 (12 KO).

Bakole has now won five straight following a 10th round TKO loss to Michael Hunter in 2018, which is not a loss to be ashamed of, and this was maybe a career-best win for him; it’s this or his 2019 win over Mariusz Wach.

Kuzmin (15-2, 11 KO) is 33 and the Russian has probably shown us what he can do. This is a second straight loss for him, as he dropped a wide decision to the aforementioned Hunter last time out in Sept. 2019.

Bakole will look to move forward relatively quickly, you can expect. He says he wants a rematch with Hunter.

Kieron Conway UD-10 Macaulay McGowan

Matchroom Boxing

A very game effort from McGowan, but the 26-year-old took a beating here, and that’s 20 rounds of taking a beating in the last month, following his Nov. 11 loss to Tursynbay Kulakhmet. I hope he has a very nice holiday and takes a little break from the ring. McGowan took this on short notice to replace Souleymane Cissokho.

Conway (16-1-1, 3 KO) won clearly here, taking scores of . McGowan falls to 14-2-1 (3 KO) with the second straight loss, and seems to have found a ceiling. But he comes to fight and will have more nights where he gets a shot against decent fighters.

Conway, who fought at middleweight here, is really a 154-pounder. You might remember him from a controversial draw against Ted Cheeseman in a British title shot in 2019, a fight he probably should have lost on the cards, but he’s now won four straight, and he looks like a good domestic level guy, and has some time to get better at 24. He’s not a big puncher but he’s physically strong and fights at a good pace.

Conway did say he’d like to face Cheeseman in a rematch, and also one against Derrick Osaze, who beat Conway in May 2019 in a three-round fight by split decision.

Florian Marku D-8 Jamie Stewart

Matchroom Boxing

Referee Marcus McDonnell scored this 76-76, which the DAZN GLOBAL! team lost their minds over, as Marku (7-0-1, 5 KO) had a knockdown in the second round, so they had trouble with the math, but, y’know, European scorers are different from American scorers. Far more 10-10 rounds over yonder. “Across the pond,” as they say. Or we say. I’m not sure who says it, but they should stop.

BUT, the main point is quite true. as the 28-year-old Marku should have won this fight. Stewart (2-0-1, 0 KO) is also 28, a self-described “off the streets” guy, no amateur background, and he deserved credit for being scrappy, game, and giving Marku some good rounds. But no, Stewart did not win rounds here, certainly not enough — or a share of enough, for that matter — to force a draw. McDonnell simply got this one wrong, and it’s hard to figure it’s some grand corruption, as Marku was the A-side, a recent hyped Matchroom signing, and Stewart is just a guy.

“This is a joke, I cannot believe it,” Marku said, raging and frankly rightly so. “This referee doesn’t know shit about boxing. He hit me one time clean in the face. I was pushing him, giving him clean (shots), I put him on the ground. I don’t know what boxing is. They’re ruining our careers like this. Yes, he is a tough fighter, congratulations to him, he took good punches and didn’t go down. But did he deserve a draw?”

Stewart, of course, defended the decision. Why wouldn’t he? He’s going to use this for about 10 more paydays directly off of this outcome and this fight.

Bottom line is Marku should just move on, in all honesty. Nobody thinks this fight was a draw. There’s no reason to do a rematch, and Marku brushed off the idea, too.

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