Lyndon Arthur took care of business today at the BT Sport studio in London, winning a clear decision over Dec Spelman to retain the Commonwealth light heavyweight title, and now awaits a tougher test from former world title challenger Anthony Yarde.
Arthur (17-0, 12 KO) took scores of 116-113, 116-112, and 119-109 over Spelman, who gave a great effort and did as he said he would, attempting to pressure the defending champion, but just didn’t get enough good work done to really have an argument for a victory. BLH scored the fight 119-109 for Arthur.
The 29-year-old Arthur won the vacant Commonwealth title against Emmanuel Anim last October in Leeds, and looked probably a bit sharper and better in this fight, as Spelman (16-4, 8 KO) was just a bit too slow, and couldn’t get out of the way of Arthur’s much sharper jab.
Arthur fought relaxed and confident for the vast bulk of the bout, even when the 28-year-old Spelman was able to push him to the ropes, which was something Spelman wanted. Arthur fought well off the back foot, ripped in some good body shots and hooks to the head, as well as some lovely uppercuts. Spelman, whose face was a bit of a mess by the end, took the shots well and never appeared in any serious trouble, proving again that he’s a very tough, durable fighter at 175 pounds on the domestic level in the United Kingdom.
Arthur is now expected to face Anthony Yarde (19-1, 18 KO), who will turn 29 in a couple of weeks and went to Russia for a game test of then-WBO titleholder Sergey Kovalev in Aug. 2019, losing via 11th round stoppage. Yarde bounced back with a very easy tune-up in Spain on Feb. 8, and was expected to face Arthur in June, but obviously pretty much all fights scheduled around that time period fell through due to coronavirus.
Arthur-Yarde could be a very interesting stylistic matchup, as Arthur is cool and can be very sharp behind a quick, effective jab, while Yarde was long seen as sort of a lumbering bruiser, but showed a bit more dynamic skill against Kovalev than some expected, to be fair.
Nick Ball PTS-8 Jerome Campbell
Ball (13-0, 6 KO) is going to be fun to watch going forward, another of the 23-year-old Liverpool prospects. He’s fighting at 130, but at 5’2” he’s really short for the division, which he takes more as a challenge than a hindrance. Comparisons were made to the fighting style of Avtandil Khurtsidze in the live thread, and he may not have Khurtsidze’s compact power and TOTAL relentlessness, but you can see the comparison at least a bit.
Ball pretty much dominated here, taking a 79-72 referee’s score over Campbell (6-1, 1 KO), who was never able to use the superior height to his advantage, as Ball just forced his way in constantly, and would also catch Campbell trying to get inside. Fighting tall against a really short opponent always seems easy, but the short guys are fully trained to make that difficult, since they’re pretty much always the shorter fighter, and it often isn’t near as simple as it sounds, which it wasn’t here. Ball was credited with a knockdown in the seventh round when he knocked Campbell into the ropes, and referee Mark Lyson judged that the ropes held Campbell up.
Caoimhin Agyarko TKO-9 Jez Smith
Smith (11-2-1, 5 KO) was tough as hell and did some decent work early in the fight, through about five rounds he was totally in the fight, occasionally catching Agyarko with good timing on right hands to the head, but Agyarko (7-0, 4 KO) was able to overwhelm him with speed, power, and athleticism.
It was a good fight, a good test for the 23-year-old middleweight prospect Agyarko, originally from London and now fighting out of Belfast. Agyarko showed some leaky defense early, something he’ll want to work on, but the natural gifts are there — he puts punches together nicely in combination, has some solid hand speed, decent power, and when he gets some momentum, he digs in on it. We saw him start to be able to back Smith to the ropes consistently, and once he got there, he did good work, with a mind on finishing and doing damage.
Smith, 26, was down in the seventh on a body shot, again in the eighth on another body shot, and then dropped a third time early in the ninth on a clean right hand to the head. Smith was tough as nails, got up ready go fight on each time, but referee Mark Lyson called it off at 0:47 of round nine, which was fair enough. Agyarko had been pretty much dominating since the sixth round at that point, and Smith was just taking punishment, only occasionally really landing anything in return.
Brad Strand PTS-4 Brett Fidoe
Fidoe, 29, is one of those Professional Opponents you see a lot of if you watch UK undercards frequently enough, and he’s one of the better ones on the scene today. American fight fans in particular see a 13-63-5 (6 KO) record and assume the guy can’t fight at all, and it’s not to say he’s good, but he is there to test young fighters and see what they’re made of; if they can fight a little, they’ll probably beat him, but sometimes they can’t, and they don’t. Fidoe actually had a streak of four straight wins back in July-November of 2018, sort of a mini Clay Collard run, but he hasn’t won since, though he always gives youngsters good work.
And he did that again here. Strand, a 23-year-old junior featherweight from Liverpool, got the decision from referee Howard Foster on a score of 40-36, which was fair enough but doesn’t tell the whole story. Fidoe definitely gave Strand (4-0, 1 KO) some work, particularly in the opening round. Strand was better and gets the deserved W, but Fidoe didn’t roll over, despite the dog’s name.
Andrew Cain RTD-3 Ed Harrison
Didn’t actually see this one, as the ESPN+ start time listing was off, but at least it’s all we missed. Cain (6-0, 6 KO) keeps his stoppage streak going to start his career, putting Harrison (1-4, 0 KO) away after three rounds. Cain is a 23-year-old from Liverpool, has fought between 122 and 130 thus far, may settle in at 126 when he starts getting a tad more serious in the matchmaking.