CHARLIE EDWARDS eased to the first defence of his WBC flyweight title by earning a unanimous decision victory over Spain’s Angel Moreno at the Copper Box Arena in London.
Just three months after unexpectedly winning it from Cristofer Rosales, the 26-year-old further enhanced his reputation to remain in contention for the higher-profile fights that will define his reign as champion.
He consistently outclassed his limited challenger, hurting him throughout and securing an eighth-round knockdown to make the three ringside judges’ scores of 120-107 almost inevitable.
The 35-year-old Moreno was once one of Edwards’ sparring partners, but for all of the insight that experience may have given him, Edwards had since relocated to Sheffield, recruited Grant Smith as his trainer and significantly improved, as he consistently demonstrated.
Taking control from almost the opening bell, he landed several strong right hands and a hurtful uppercut in the first round to highlight the chasm in quality between them,
The one-dimensional-but-game Moreno began to look clumsy as early as the third, swinging and missing wildly and continuing to take flush right hands, both at close range and on the counter.
Moreno’s greatest success came in the sixth when Edwards’ brief loss of concentration meant he landed the occasional left hand, but he quickly responded and soon knocked his challenger down.
Another sharp right briefly put the Spaniard over in the eighth, and while he swiftly returned to his feet and recovered, the champion became so comfortable he showboated by simultaneously throwing a left and right.
With victory already secure heading into the final round Edwards refused to reduce his work-rate, again hurting Moreno, but while the stoppage eluded him the judges quickly and unsurprisingly confirmed he had won all 12.
Later on Saturday evening, the hugely-promising Andrew Selby fights Julio Cesar Martinez Aguilar in Mexico for the right to become Edwards’ mandatory challenger.
If, as expected, the Welshman succeeds, he will prove the calibre of rival demanded to give the flyweight division greater significance, though a further option for Edwards is to move to super flyweight to challenge his compatriot and WBA champion Kal Yafai.
The exciting Joshua Buatsi earlier marked his 10th professional fight by winning the vacant British light-heavyweight title against Liam Conroy, who he stopped in the third round after a second knockdown.
His Rio 2016 team-mate Lawrence Okolie defended his British cruiserweight title, and again won the Commonwealth title when stopping Wadi Camacho in four.