Callum Smith landed a vicious right hand in the second round to knock out Lenin Castillo today in London, but the story is less about the fight and more about a scary KO.
The 33-year-old Castillo (21-4-1, 16 KO) was drilled with the punch and the fight was stopped 55 seconds into round two, with the Dominican fighter on the canvas, his legs twitching and much of his body along with them. The referee did a good job to immediately call the fight, and medical personnel were on the scene immediately.
Castillo was reportedly taken out via stretcher — DAZN cameras did not film any of the medical attention and didn’t get a full shot of the ring again until Castillo was taken backstage — but ringside analyst Darren Barker did report that he’d seen movement in the hands and arms of Castillo.
First and foremost, we send our thoughts and best wishes to Lenin Castillo.
UPDATE (2:55 pm ET): This from promoter Eddie Hearn is encouraging news:
A horrible brutal knockout. Castillo is responsive and on his way to hospital #SmithCastillo— Eddie Hearn (@EddieHearn) September 25, 2021
Smith (28-1, 20 KO) was making his light heavyweight debut, moving up from the 168 lb division after last December’s loss to Canelo Alvarez. He certainly got the result he wanted, but at the moment this certainly isn’t one for celebration. It’s the reality all fighters enter the ring with every time out, and it’s one that fans of the sport always know can happen, but it’s not something anyone ever wants to see.
Our best wishes to Callum Smith, too, because this is a tough situation on his end, as well.
Florian Marku SD-10 Maxim Prodan
An interesting opening bout, and some truly “interesting” scores in the end, one in particular. One judge had this 99-91 for Prodan, which is outrageously bad; even if that judge had mixed up the fighters, the score would then be too wide for Marku by a couple rounds.
The two cards to Marku were 96-94 and 97-93, which were fair scores. We had it 96-94 for Marku (9-0-1, 6 KO), who certainly didn’t live up to his trash talk of scoring a knockout and putting in a thrilling performance, but in the first half of the fight boxed a disciplined fight, with a well-devised plan that he executed nicely.
He did seem to have some stamina issues down the stretch, and Prodan (19-1-1, 15 KO) was able to sort of quietly will himself back into the fight. It wasn’t quite enough in the end, and I don’t think he had any business winning any of the cards — the best I could have seen it for him was 95-95 — but he put in the effort and Marku had to suck some air and survive this one down the stretch.
“He had good power, but I was finding my rhythm. I didn’t have problems, but I couldn’t hit him easily. If the knockout was coming, it was coming,” Marku said after the fight. “It sends the message that with only 10 fights, I took a top opponent and beat him. Everyone underestimates me, they say, ‘He’s a kickboxer,’ and look who I beat today.”