Leigh Wood delivers a brilliant performance at Fight Camp.
Leigh Wood upset the odds to stop Can Xu in the final round following a brilliant boxing display where he hardly put a foot wrong. After only competing at British level throughout his career, Wood was thought to be up against it versus Xu but it was clear from the opening bell that he belonged on the big stage.
In the opening stanzas, Wood used his jab brilliantly as he prevented Xu from getting into any sort of rhythm. Whenever the Chinese fighter did let his hands go, Wood matched his output and it was the Nottingham fighter who was always getting the last word.
As the fight entered the cliched championship rounds, Xu tried to put his foot down as he felt his crown slipping but he would pay for that approach in a memorable last session. A superb right hand dropped Xu and after rising to his feet, Wood wasted no time in forcing the stoppage.
“I want the biggest fight possible,” said Wood afterwards. “I want to test myself. I said last year that there's three things I want to do and that’s win the British title, win the world title, and those boxes are ticked. The only thing left to do is to be the first person to headline at the City Ground.”
For a full recap of all tonight's action, please read below.
Xu's famed relentlessness has been absent so far. Another good round from Wood. Not all his shots are landing but he's the fighter who's controlling the action. Wood, and his team, will be delighted with this start. 10-9 Wood.
Chris Billam-Smith and Tommy McCarthy gave their all in a gruelling fight and it was the former who got the nod via split decision. McCarthy started and ended the fight impressively but his low output inbetween cost him the decision. Both fighters received a scorecard of 115-114, but a 116-112 verdict for Billam-Smith was enough to crown him British, Commonwealth and European champion.
Campbell Hatton made it three wins from as many fights with an aggressive performance against Jakub Laskowski. Hatton is still learning and the rounds he's currently banking will benefit him more than early stoppages as he clearly needs experience. Hatton's industry gets him the nod as he takes a 40-36 verdict on the referee's scorecard.
Anthony Fowler was made to work hard for victory as he registered an eighth round stoppage over Rico Mueller. The German had plenty of ambition at the start of the fight but Fowler was always landing the heavy shots and the pressue finally told. Is it Liam Smith next for Fowler?
Cullen earns career best win as he dominates Yildirim
Avni Yildirim shared a ring with Canelo Alvarez earlier this year. He was well below that level tonight but he still couldn't find a way to win as he was outboxed, and outfought, by Jack Cullen. The man from Little Leaver was in control from the first bell as he used his long jab to set up further attacks. Yildirim was headhunting but he can have no complaints about the final scorecards that read 100-90, 98-92, and 97-93 in favor of Cullen.
Sandy Ryan's professional debut was a successful one as she outpointed a game Kirstie Bavington. Ryan, a former star amateur, was in control throughout and that was reflected on the scorecards as she emerged from the contest a 60-54 winner.