ZHILEI ZHANG IS the new WBO Interim world heavyweight champion after a severe swelling around the right eye of Joe Joyce forced an early ending to an entertaining collision at London’s Copper Box Arena.

Joyce began the fight in a non-typical tentative fashion, circling the target before both men exploded into action and the big bombs started landing. Zhang dispatched the greater number but even this lithe-looking Joyce was able to soak up the punishment.

Joyce winged in a telling right hook to set the tone in the second but Zhang responded in kind with some huge shots of his own. The Chinese was enjoying the upper hand and put on a beaming smile as he returned to his corner at the end of the second. The features of Joyce were showing some wear and tear.

The accuracy level of Joyce increased early in the third and Zhang was finally being discouraged from throwing so freely. The Juggernaut exercised more control over the tempo of the fight in the fourth but still found himself getting tagged by the giant challenger.

Joyce took more of an initiative in the fifth but more of a concern was a serious swelling around his right eye, very similar to what he himself inflicted on Daniel Dubois.

He just about passed an inspection but the signs were not good. A further inspection called by referee Howard Foster brought the fight to an inevitable conclusion.

Mikaela Mayer made a successful entry into the lightweight division by taking the WBC Interim world title in her first fight at the weight against the brave and busy late replacement Lucy Wildheart.

At the end of 10 rounds, the American Mayer was scored the victor by margins of 98-92, 100-90 and 98-91.

Kostiantyn Dovbyschenko had not been stopped before and maintained this distinction by taking Moses Itauma the distance in the 18-year-old’s first six round experience.

In the first round Itauma peppered the Ukrainian with almost every shot in the book, testing out his resolve to stick around. Thankfully for the teenage force of nature this was not another 30-second blow out.

Such was the resolute stubbornness of Dovbyschenko, in the third he even started to urge Itauma to up the punch count as he fearlessly marched forward.

Itauma looked like he was enjoying going through his playbook of heavy shots. However, even when he planted in a low one, Dovbyschenko hardly flinched.

In the end, Itauma eased his way through and was winner by 60-54 according to referee Lee Every and he is now 3-0 as a professional.

The right hand of Sam Noakes inflicted a painful night on his opponent, Karthik Sathish Khumar, who was mercifully stopped by referee John Latham with 1.17 on the clock in round two.

Noakes, now 11-0 with the same amount of stoppages, took charge right from the first bell and landed a booming right on the Indian that was a sign of more to come. Khumar had his head snapped back at the end of the round, causing Latham to count to eight and was only spared by the bell.

When the second round started in a similar fashion, Latham needed little encouragement to rightly call time on the fight, which saw Noakes retain his WBC International Silver and Commonwealth lightweight titles.

Denzel Bentley retained his British middleweight title with a quickfire demolition of challenger Kieran Smith, who was brutally floored in the first real passage of action in round one. A punishing big right did the damage and the unfortunate Smith found himself out for the count and in need of medical attention after referee Mark Lyson abandoned any thoughts of starting a count.

Bentley, now 18-2-1, keeps his Lonsdale belt and the fight was also a final eliminator for the Commonwealth crown. The official time of the stoppage was recorded at just 45 seconds.

Eithan James eased to victory No. 11 with a convincing display against Georgi Velichkov in a six-rounder. Now at welterweight, ‘Jammy’ James edged closer to title contention with a score of 60-54. Lee Every officiated.

Sonny Liston Ali showed flashes of class in comprehensively defeating the game Richard Helm over six rounds by a margin of 60-54, adjudicated by Kieran McCann. The super lightweight from Upminster moves to 6-0.

Cruiserweight newcomer Freezy McBones battled hard for a spectacular stoppage against the redoubtable Daryl Sharp in a four-round contest but, despite his best efforts, was unable to force the issue and had to settle for a shutout points win on the card of Lee Every.

In the opener for the evening, super welterweight Joel Kodua doubled his winning record in his second professional encounter against Dale Arrowsmith. Referee Kieran McCann scored the fight 40-36 to the Tunde Ajayi-trained Londoner.

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