8 min read
flyweight title final eliminator on Friday’s action-packed #MTKFightNight.
The card was taking place at the University of Bolton Stadium, with fans back in attendance to witness a brilliant evening of action from start to finish.

In the main event, it was Sandoval who moved a step closer to a world title shot, stopping Harris in round eight due to some vicious body shots.

IBF flyweight champion Sunny Edwards was at ringside watching, on a card that also featured wins for Paul Butler, Hosea Burton, Gary Cully, Pierce O’Leary, Jordan Reynolds, Blane Hyland, Inder Bassi and Brett Fidoe.

Free to use photos from the event can be found on THIS LINK, and here’s everything else you need to know from a fantastic night of boxing.

RICARDO SANDOVAL def. JAY HARRIS via KO at 2:12 of round eight – IBF Flyweight Title Final Eliminator

Ricardo Sandoval stopped Jay Harris to win their IBF flyweight title final eliminator after a fast-paced, non-stop back and forth battle.

Sandoval (19-1, 14 KOs) started the fight well, but Harris (18-2, 9 KOs) came back into it as the midway stage approached, and it looked like it would be an extremely close contest between the two men.

It all changed in round eight though, when Sandoval landed a massive body shot that crumpled Harris and sent him crashing to the canvas, but the Welshman was able to show incredible heart and bravery to get back to his feet.

Sandoval smelt blood though, and he continued to rain down more big body shots, with another vicious left hook sending Harris down again, and this time he was unable to get back to his feet before the count of 10.

It meant that Sandoval earned an impressive knockout win, and IBF champion Sunny Edwards was watching at ringside as he witnessed a potential future opponent.

Sandoval: “I always have confidence in myself. A lot of people doubted me but I trained hard. I have a lot of experience from the amateurs and I have had some good sparring out in California.

“I have been learning in my other fights and that’s what helped me a lot in this. We started working the body a lot and that was the plan. We knew from the fight he had with Julio Cesar Martinez that the body work would be key, and that showed in the ring today.

“Sunny Edwards is the champion and I’d love that fight. He moves well and has nice combinations and punches, but that would be a good fight. I’ve enjoyed this whole experience and enjoyed it a lot. Thank you to everybody who has supported me.”

PAUL BUTLER def. WILLIBALDO GARCIA via split decision (97-92, 96-94, 94-95) – Vacant WBO International Bantamweight Title

Paul Butler secured another big win on his quest to becoming a two-time world champion as he defeated tough Mexican Willibaldo Garcia to win the vacant WBO International bantamweight title.

Butler was originally due to face Joseph Agbeko at the event, before visa issues meant the Ghanaian was forced out of the fight and replaced by Garcia, but it proved to be an even tougher fight for Butler (33-2, 15 KOs), who was pushed all of the way throughout the 10 rounds.

The Ellesmere Port man started the fight extremely well, dropping Garcia (12-5-1, 6 KOs) with a massive left in round one, but the Mexican got up and gave it his all for the remainder of the contest.

Butler got the better of the exchanges throughout the fight, and while the judges had it closer than expected, he got the win thanks to a split decision, with the judges scoring it 97-92 and 96-94 in his favour, along with 95-94 Garcia.

Butler said: “I was surprised with the cards. They’ve probably gone on his workrate. I was watching a lot of his shots on my gloves. We clashed heads a lot too so my head will be sore in the morning, but it’s part and parcel of the game.

“This was a harder fight than Agbeko. Maybe not skill wise but Garcia came and brought it. We knew he would come and sit on my chest, and he did everything unorthodox. Half the time he didn’t know what he was throwing himself.

“The way he went down in the first round I thought it was over. Fair play to him he survived the round. I want to be world champion again now, I work hard and I know how much I want it.

“I’ve never entered the ring as a world champion, so that’s my goal now. I was advised last time to give up my world title so I never got to defend it, so now defending a world title is my dream.”

HOSEA BURTON def. LIAM CONROY via KO at 1:44 of round six – British Light-Heavyweight Title Final Eliminator

Hosea Burton is on the verge of potentially becoming British champion again as he stopped Liam Conroy in the sixth round of their British light-heavyweight title final eliminator.

It was nip and tuck during the early stages, with both men landing some big shots, but Burton’s (26-2, 12 KOs) power was evident throughout the contest.

The closing moments came in round six, when a Burton combination left Conroy (18-7-1, 9 KOs) stunned, before another combination dazed the Barrow in Furness man and knocked him down.

Despite Conroy’s best efforts, he couldn’t get back to his feet before the count of 10, with the referee waving off the contest and giving Burton the stoppage win.

Burton said: “I was feeling him out and trying to see what he had. I was landing good shots but his power was still there. I then started to feel his power zapping, and I could pick the shots a bit more.

“Liam is a dangerous fighter, especially early on. I thought he was chinnier than he was, and I thought I’d tag him early and get him. I always knew if I didn’t get him then he’s got an engine and is good for the long run.

“I was pleased with the win and I will get that British title next. Craig Richards will give it up. He should have done it so me and Liam could fight for the vacant title, but he’ll wait until Monday or Tuesday and then give it up. Me and Dan Azeez will then get it on for the British title.”

GARY CULLY def. VIOREL SIMION via RTD at 3:00 of round three

WBO European champion Gary Cully extended his unbeaten record after a dominant non-title victory against Viorel Simion.

Cully (13-0, 7 KOs) was in complete control throughout the fight, landing a number of big shots which troubled Simion (22-6, 9 KOs) from the very first bell.

The Romanian was extremely tough and tried to dig in, but after three rounds of punishment, his corner opted to pull him out of the fight, giving Cully the impressive win against an opponent who has operated primarily at world level.

Cully said: “It was great to be back so soon. I just fought in March and I’m glad to be active and still fighting. We felt we needed rounds and experience before moving up to world level guys, and thought Simion would give me that, but I was a level above.

“I knew going into the fight that I needed to be switched on early. I thought he would give me trouble and I was staying light on my feet. I caught him with some good shots and I felt I could mix it with him at short distance.

“He is a tough guy and took some heavy shots. I know I’m 6’2″ but we work a lot on close and middle distance, and I feel I’m just as good there as I am at long distance. I’m happy with the win and it’s onwards and upwards.”

PIERCE O’LEARY def. JAN MARSALEK via TKO at 2:30 of round two

Pierce O’Leary earned one of the knockouts of the year as he claimed a devastating stoppage win over Jan Marsalek.

It was O’Leary’s (7-0, 3 KOs) toughest fight to date, with Marsalek’s (8-4, 7 KOs) last fight seeing him drop Kelvin Davis on the Canelo vs. Saunders bill in a close fight, but O’Leary had no trouble, landing a massive left to the head that sent the Czech face first to the canvas.

The fight was immediately waved off, with Marsalek receiving lengthy medical attention after the scary landing. He went to the hospital as a precaution, but thankfully was fine and discharged shortly afterwards.

O’Leary said: “First and foremost I wish him a speedy recovery and want to make sure he gets home to his family safe. Boxing is a tough sport. That was one of the best shots of the night, and probably the best shot of my career.

“Since my last fight I’ve spent more months away from home and my baby and family. My trainer Al Smith has done a tremendous job with me, and there are no distractions for me in that gym.

“I’m fully focused and I enjoy the training. Every spar I see myself improving and getting better. I want to achieve my dreams to make my baby’s life better, and I will do that.”

JORDAN REYNOLDS def. JAN ARDON on points after six rounds (60-52)

Jordan Reynolds claimed another impressive win in just his second professional fight as he dropped Jan Ardon twice on his way to a one-sided points decision.

It looked like it could be an early night’s work for Reynolds (2-0), as he landed a fantastic shot to knock Ardon down in the first round.

Ardon got back to his feet, but Reynolds remained as dominant, landing another knockdown in the final round on his way to a one-sided 60-52 points win.

BLANE HYLAND def. REISS TAYLOR on points after four rounds (40-36)

Blane Hyland made a triumphant return to winning ways as he defeated Reiss Taylor on points after four rounds of action.

It was Hyland’s (4-1) first taste of action since October, but he didn’t have any ring rust as he came out firing from the very first bell and controlled the action.

Taylor proved to be tough, but in the end it was a comfortable win for Hyland, with the referee scoring it 40-36 in his favour to hand the Liverpool man the victory.

BRETT FIDOE def. TYRONE MCCULLAGH via TKO at 1:46 of round three

A huge upset occurred on the card, as Brett Fidoe showed once again his record is extremely deceiving by picking up a third round stoppage win over Tyrone McCullagh.

Fidoe (15-65-5, 7 KOs) was coming off the back of a victory over a debutant earlier this month, and he continued his good run of form by overcoming McCullagh (14-2, 6 KOs), with it all stemming from a huge shot that rocked the Irishman in round three.

The onslaught continued, with Fidoe dropping McCullagh, and while the Derry man was able to get back to his feet, the referee waved off the contest, handing Fidoe a big shock victory.

INDER BASSI def. CHRIS ADAWAY on points after four rounds (40-36)

Inder Bassi returned to winning ways as he picked up a comfortable points victory over the experienced Chris Adaway.

It was a straightforward display from Bassi (3-1), using his jab extremely well throughout all four rounds to keep his opponent at bay, with the referee scoring it 40-36 in Bassi’s favour, taking his record to 3-1 in the process.