CHARLIE EDWARDS’ worst nightmare almost unfolded, until he received an unlikely reprieve. He boxed well over the first two rounds of his second WBC title defence at the O2 Arena in London, controlling the rushes of Mexico’s strong Julio Cesar Martinez.
But in the third Mexican began to swarm round him, hooks hitting the body, hacking lefts catching the head. Charlie felt the weight of his shots, covered up behind his gloves only for Martinez to hammer him down to the canvas.
There, on his knees, Martinez helped himself to extra left hook that slammed in Charlie’s side. Edwards rolled away from it, pained and he could not beat the referee’s count.
Martinez celebrated his world title win. The WBC belt at that moment was his. This indeed meant everything to him. “It’s the dream for everybody,” he told Boxing News before the fight, “of course it’s the dream.”
But WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman intervened, to rule it a foul blow and have the fight declared a no contest. Robert Smith of the British Boxing Board of Control later confirmed to Boxing News that Edwards-Martinez is officially a no-contest and a rematch will be ordered.
A pleasantly surprised Edwards had his world title restored to him. “I took a knee for a purpose,” he said. “I took a knee, then he finished me off with a body shot. So cheaters never prosper.”
In a heavyweight contest Russia’s Alexander Povetkin looked dominant as his clash with Hughie Fury progressed. The Russian powered his hard right cross into Fury, driving him back. He timed his left hook well and, while Fury displayed resilience and defensive movement, Povetkin made sure of a unanimous decision win. All three judges scored 117-111.
Joe Cordina retained his British lightweight title after a rough, physical fight with fellow Welshman Gavin Gwynne. Both had points deducted, low blow for Cordina, Gwynne for hitting the back of the head. The challenger was a constant threat, much taller but going on the offensive to pour down punches. Cordina was evasive but the ones that landed were heavy. The champion delivered bursts of quality work, lashing in left hooks and crisp rights to secure a unanimous decision, even though this was a close fight.
Joshua Buatsi left himself open for the occasional over-arm right that Ryan Ford lobbed at him. But he worked his way into the bout and in the seventh round broke through. A left hook to the head hurt Ford, Buatsi tore into him. The Briton ripped a left into the body, a right drove him into the canvas where he was left to be counted out.
Belfast’s James Tennyson found a brutal finish to knock out Atif Shafiq at just 2-51 of the second round. He caught the Rotherham fighter on the ropes, hurting him with his right cross. It left Shafiq stunned, but trapped on the ropes. Before the referee could intervene a brutal left hook blasted him down into the canvas, knocked cold.
Savannah Marshall overwhelmed Brazil’s Daniele Bastieri. The former Olympian was levels above her opponent, lining up the odd body shot as well as heavy hits to the head. Eventually in the fifth round a right cross, blasted into Bastieri’s chin that prompted her to turn away and drop to a knee. Although the bell rang to end the round referee Bob Williams wisely waved it off.
Martin Ward was added to the bill to tick over in a scheduled eight rounder. He looked sharp in the process, hurtful right crosses catching Spain’s Josue Bendana. The Brentwood man dropped his opponent in the third round and subjected the Spaniard to sustained punishment, obliging referee Bob Williams to end it at 2-46 of the fifth round.
Hull super-featherweight Conor Coghill outboxed Telford’s Dean Jones to win a four rounder 40-36 to open the show.