Oldham, England’s Mark Heffron spectacularly won the British and Commonwealth 168lbs (12st) titles on a packed Queensberry card at the Copper Box Arena, London on Saturday. Heffron (28-2-1, 22 KO’s) dethroned Birmingham’s Lennox Clarke in an action packed contest by fifth round stoppage on 2.28 secs.
The 30 year old Heffron had twice unsuccessfully contested the British middleweight (160lbs/11st,6lbs) title, but buoyed by being comfortable at the higher weight, admitting he didn’t know why he ever fought at middleweight, he went straight at Clarke from the opening bell.
Clarke was wobbled several times in the first round and returned to his corner looking dazed and confused at the round end. Both fighters then went toe to toe in the next two rounds and seemingly when Clarke appeared to get a foothold in the fight in the fourth, Heffron raised the heat early in the fifth and referee Bob Williams stepped in towards the end of the round.
The win re-ignited Heffron’s career and he can now look forward to the prospect of championship fights. There are some excellent matches that could be made in the domestic twelve stone division including the likes of Chris Eubank Jr and Zach Parker.
Clarke must regroup and dropped to 20-2-1 (8 KO’s).
Top of the bill was English middleweight Hamzah Sheeraz in an international contest against rugged Argentinian Francisco Emanuel Torres. The exceptionally tall Sheeraz had just moved up from 154lbs (super-welterweight) and his 6ft,3in frame looks suited to the higher class. Sheeraz dominated early proceedings with his solid left jab, but had a shock in a ding-dong second round when he was dropped by the Argentine between the two knockdowns he registered.
A heavy right hook ended the contest at 1.56 secs of the fifth.
Sheeraz (16-0, 12 KO’s), from Ilford, London was recently voted British Young Boxer of the Year and after extensive training in California looks set to move himself through the world rankings. With his victory he won the WBC silver title and an immediate top ten ranking with that sanctioning body.
There were also good wins for hot prospects Dennis McCann (13-0, 7 KO’s) and Nick Ball (16-0, 9 KO’s), both at featherweight. A fight between the two would be a natural or, McCann against another Liverpudlian in Andrew Cain (10-0, 9 KO’s). There was also a stoppage win for Maidstone, Kent’s Sean Noakes in his second pro outing.
Stateside in Texas, comebacking Mexican-American Ryan Garcia (23-0, 19 KO’s) stopped Javier Fortuna inside six rounds at super-lightweight (10st/140lbs) to launch himself in the new weight class. The tall and multi-talented ‘KingRy’ Garcia dropped his opponent in rounds 4 and 5 before finishing it in the 6th. Fortuna dropped to 37-4-1 (26 KO’s).
Post-fight, Garcia again called out Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis (27-0, 25 KO’s) in what could potentially be one of the best fights in the sport. Davis is currently campaigning at lightweight (135lbs/9st,9lbs) but the money to move up could prove irresistible. This would be a genuine grudge match and provided the two opposing promoters can make it happen would be mouthwatering.
Big news expected this week is a potential ‘catchweight’ contest between Chris Eubank Jr and Conor Benn. This is mooted to be close to being signed at 156lbs (11st, 2lbs) and would re-ignite the family rivalry shared by their famous fathers in the 1990’s.