Anthony Yarde soaked up the rarified atmosphere of the Royal Albert Hall to extend his unbeaten streak to 18 with a fifth-round stoppage of Travis Reeves in his sixth defence of the WBO Intercontinental light heavyweight title.
After a slow opening round, in which Yarde landed a keen counter left hook which momentarily wobbled Reeves, a 38-year-old fighter from Baltimore, he raised his tempo through the rounds and went for broke in the fifth with a barrage of mainly right-hand power punches.
Yarde, ranked No1 by the World Boxing Organisation, could step up to a world title fight this year against Russia’s Sergey Kovalev, the reigning 175lb champion.
Earlier, the Peacock Gym trained heavyweight Daniel Dubois moved to 10 fights unbeaten with a spectacular second round stoppage of Razvan Cojanu to win the WBO European title.
Dubois was caught by some handy counters in the opening salvos but once the Romanian chose to stand toe to toe with the Londoner in the second round, Dubois produced a left-right-left combination to flatten him. The final left hook left its stamp on the contest.
Dubois now has nine victories by knockout and it was another impressive display from the highly-touted 21-year-old, who is being seen as a potential word title challenger in the future. Dubois could meet fellow unbeaten British prospect Nathan Gorman after what promoter Frank Warren branded a “statement” victory.
“I’d fight him tomorrow, I’m ready for the fight,” said Gorman, here working ringside for BT Sport, speaking to The Telegraph. Gorman defeated Cojanu on points over 12 rounds last December.
Just before the main event, Wales’ Liam Williams delivered a major statement in a two-round destruction of Essex middleweight Joe Mullender in his first defense of the British middleweight title.
This, only the second boxing event in 20 years to be staged at the Royal Albert Hall, had been scheduled for Nicola Adams, the double Olympic gold-medalist, to fight in her first world-title bout but an injury prevented the Leeds lass from doing so.
It left Yarde to make his mark which, indeed, he did. On a night he will treasure forever, fighting in the hall where the ghosts of Muhammad Ali, Sir Henry Cooper, Primo Carnera, Lennox Lewis, Frank Bruno and Jimmy Wilde still lurk. For British and world boxing, it has been a hall of fighting fame. Yarde joined them night.
It was also announced here that BT Sport Box Office will air Amir Khan’s bid for the WBO world welterweight belt against unbeaten champion Terence Crawford on April 20 from Madison Square Garden, New York.