Fabio Wardley KO-5 Eric Molina
38-year-old heavyweight veteran Molina (27-7, 19 KO) gave project-prospect Wardley (11-0, 10 KO) some decent work in this one, but was stopped early in the fifth round when he got caught with some shots and didn’t answer the referee’s count. He and his corner complained about it, feeling there was a trip or something — and there may well have been — but he’s been around, he didn’t answer the count and knew what that meant.
But this was a useful fight for Wardley, who at 26 is still very much a work in progress, still very raw. He did get caught a good bit by Molina, who has been in with a number of top talents over the years, and he showed Wardley for sure that there’s still a lot to learn to go further in pro boxing — not that Wardley has ever displayed big ego, but in case deep down he got ahead of himself, this was a good check.
WOW! Fabio Wardley withstands a big right, then knocks out Molina in the 5th! pic.twitter.com/XUrzZv0DAa— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) March 27, 2021
“You can do as much as you want in sparring, but it’s different when you get here,” Wardley said. “You need to test yourself in different ways and that’s what tonight was about. I don’t go calling people out, I’m hunting for titles and belts and accolades. We’re still trying to build. I’m looking for that next step up, that next caliber of opponent.”
Ted Cheeseman TKO-11 JJ Metcalf
This was a terrific fight, which most would have expected if they were familiar with both guys coming in. Metcalf (21-1, 13 KO) was tough as hell here, and how he got out of the fourth round without going down is beyond me. He also rebounded from that to claw his way back into things; after 10 rounds, we had it 96-94 for Cheeseman, who had taken the 9th and 10th to get the lead back after going up early and seeing Metcalf storm back.
And Cheeseman (17-2-1, 9 KO) got hurt in the 11th round, too, before suddenly firing back big shots, hurting Metcalf again, and then dropping him with a right hand at the very end of the penultimate round. Metcalf tried and tried to get up, and he did make it to his feet, but the referee rightly waved it off with an official time of 3:10 of round 11, as he had made a count to give Metcalf a chance.
This went from a really fast-paced fight to something of a grueling battle in the middle rounds, where Metcalf was doing better work, and then turned into a phone booth war of attrition late, with Cheeseman mostly bossing that. It may well have come down to experience here; though Cheeseman, 25, is younger than the 32-year-old Metcalf, he’s also much more battle-tested, and it showed.
Cheeseman is now a two-time British junior middleweight champion, having controversially lost the belt to Scott Fitzgerald in 2019, a fight he still feels he won.
“That’s the best I’ve ever boxed as a pro. I keep getting better and better. I’m only a young man, I’m 25,” he said. “Everyone said, ‘Ted’s done too many hard fights.’ I looked fresher than ever tonight. I felt good. I could have done 15 rounds tonight. We’ve kept improving. I’m mixing it, I’m using my experience. I’m boxing when I need to, I’m fighting when I need to, and I stepped on the gas in the championship rounds and took him out of there.”
“The only domestic fight I see out there for him now, in a big, big fight, is Anthony Fowler,” promoter Eddie Hearn said. “But he’s earned the right to kick on to the European title or even step up and have a big fight internationally.”
Metcalf lands a BIG right in the 7th! pic.twitter.com/8zNXn8zwhL— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) March 27, 2021
WHAT A FINISH!!!!— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) March 27, 2021
Cheeseman takes a big right hand and then KOs Metcalf at the bell pic.twitter.com/L878iSrBuS
- Campbell Hatton PTS-4 Jesus Ruiz: There will be a lot of Analysis and whatnot of 20-year-old Campbell Hatton’s debut, and I get it, it comes with the territory of being the son of a legend (Ricky Hatton) and turning pro in the middle of a big card from a power promoter. But I’d suggest taking a breath, pumping the brakes, and letting him develop or not. He’s raw, he’s highly flawed, he is not a blue chipper. He didn’t have big amateur experience. But he’s got the spirit of a fighter. Ruiz is now 0-11 so he was brought in to lose, but he’s a durable sort of prospect checker, only been stopped once. Campbell wasted a lot of nervous energy in the first two rounds. He’s a long, long way off if he’s going to be a contender. But he’s a fight in, he got the win (40-36 was the score), and he moves on from here.
- Michael McKinson UD-10 Chris Kongo: Kongo was the favorite here, but he just had an awful time with McKinson. It wasn’t much of an entertaining fight to watch, but McKinson (20-0, 2 KO) scored a flash knockdown in the first round, and took scores of 95-94, 96-94, and 97-93. Kongo (12-1, 7 KO) never found a good rhythm here, while McKinson really maxed his ability and fought as well as he could have hoped, perhaps, just picking Kongo apart. He’s not a big puncher and frankly world level seems well beyond his realistic upside, but McKinson gave Kongo some lessons here, and it’s a big setback for a 28-year-old who felt he was among the best of the British welterweights.
- Nick Webb TKO-2 Erik Pfeifer: Pfeifer (7-1, 5 KO) just got totally bowled over here, as Webb (17-2, 13 KO) smashed him up with three knockdowns in the second round for the stoppage upset win. Pfeifer, a two-time Olympian (2012 and 2016) and two-time bronze medalist at the World Amateur Championships (2011 and 2013), was a solid betting favorite and probably should have been, but the 33-year-old Webb came out throwing hands and just did not stop. Pfeifer never even got out of the starting blocks here. This is a big win for Webb, once a prospect and suffered losses to Dave Allen and Kamil Sokolowski in 2018, but might get himself back in that top domestic-level mix at the very least off of this one.