JOSH WARRINGTON COMPLETED a third defence of his treasured IBF world featherweight title in spectacular style at the FD Arena in Leeds on Saturday night, demolishing the previously not-stopped Sofiane Takoucht in the second round.
Warrington was business-like right from the off in front of his home town masses and finished the first round in the complete ascendancy.
The Leeds Warrior, now 30-0, literally went on the rampage in the second and a stiff right hand sunk his opponent in the corner, forcing the first count of the fight. A savage left-right combination floored the Frenchman again moments later before a brutal attack that spun Takoucht around forced referee Bob Williams to intervene with 2.54 of the second round completed.
ZELFA BARRETT made a first defence of the Commonwealth super featherweight title he won in style at this same venue last time out against Lyon Woodstock. This time the Manchester man was up against the tough-as-nails Scot Jordan McCorry, who seems to be doing the rounds of the hot super featherweight contenders and champions.
This encounter was something of a slow burner to begin with as McCorry, unusually, skipped around in retreat and forced Barrett to make most of the running, which is unfamiliar territory for the now 23-1 stylist.
It wasn’t until the second round that Barrett began to whip in some devilish hooks and lure McCorry into range. The third saw a sequence of body shots planted in, resulting in a knockdown that really brought the fight to life.
By the sixth Barrett was fully in his smooth groove and his intensity levels were upped over the next three rounds. A shot to the body and then head in the eighth dropped the Scot once more leading to a vicious onslaught from a fired up champion.
McCorry had a point deducted for a late blow before the start of ninth, which was the point in the fight that his challenge finally unravelled. A right uppercut sent McCorry south again and Steve Gray stepped into prevent further punishment being inflicted.
LYNDON ARTHUR joined his gym mate Barrett in holding Commonwealth title honours, with the light heavyweight having to grind his way through a gruelling fight with the come-forward Ghanaian Emmanuel Anim.
Anim, who was 14-2-1 going into the fight, was a bullish and ambitious co-challenger for the vacant title and perhaps took Arthur by surprise with his early work which had the Pat Barrett-trained man continually forced onto the back foot. Arthur did improve the quality of his punch output in the second but Anim would not be deterred and was firmly back in charge come the third.
The turning point then arrived when a strike to the top of Anim’s jaw floored the man from Accra and Arthur began to establish authority in the battle. However, in the eighth, Anim proved he was far from done by rocking Arthur and forcing him towards crisis point with legs buckling.
Arthur did well to recover his composure and emerged winner in the contest by 115-112, 117-110, 117-111 on the cards, which appeared a little harsh on Anim.
SHABAZ MASOUD introduced himself to a television audience with a comprehensive six round victory over Yesner Talavera. The Stoke youngster, recently signed up by Frank Warren, was looking to impress and his flashy style will always find favour.
The 23-year-old went through his full repertoire of shots and slick movement, continually switching and generally bamboozling his opponent.
REECE MOULD enjoyed his first win since becoming English featherweight champion last time out with a shutout victory over Bayardo Ramos, 60-53 on the card of referee Phil Edwards.
The Doncaster man was pounding in body shots from the beginning, but it was a right hook that bludgeoned Ramos to the canvas 25 seconds from the end of round two. Ramos clung on to the end and avoided becoming another stoppage statistic for the now 13-0 Mould who is looking towards a British title challenge in the near future.
GEORGE DAVEY, backed by a sizeable throng from York and Lanzarote, might well have imagined the toughest part of his opponent would be spelling his name, but Zygimantas Butkevicius did not come across from Hull to give the debut boy an easy night’s work.
Davey impressed across the four rounds and recorded a 40-36 win according to Phil Edwards, but also absorbed some return fire whenever he tried to force the money shot. The Henry Wharton-trained Davey showed enough to indicate that he has a promising career in front of him.
Elsewhere on the card, Mark Heffron again illustrated why he should be thrust back in the big fights with a first round demolition of Manuel Pavanito, with the Lisbon man unable to continue due to a cut. Heffron moves to 24-1 and deserving of another British title shot at middleweight. Shakiel Thompson went 5-0 and got six rounds under his belt against Lewis van Poetsch, again at middleweight.
Troy Williamson stopped Ben Douglas in round seven, with the super welterweight pushing on to 12-0-1, while there were points victories for John Joyce (2-0) over Jordan Grannum, Callum Simpson (2-0) against Kiril Psonko, Jack Daniel (5-0) over Jamie Speight and Evaldas Petrauskas (2-0) against Johnson Tellez.