SOME one-round blowouts are stunning, some are entirely predictable. Nothing in the 15-fight unbeaten record that Finland’s Oskari Metz had compiled showed he was ready to face a boxer as fierce as David Avanesyan and so it proved at Wembley Arena on Saturday night (March 19). There are levels to this game – as people will tell you.
Not every fight is going to be a classic. Metz was on a very short approved list of challengers for Avanesyan’s European welterweight title and Avanesyan, who is ranked No.9 by BN, needed a fight. That it lasted only two minutes was no great surprise.
These are tricky days for the career of Avanesyan, who was born in Russia, a country he has been happy to represent seemingly up until a month ago when that nation’s army invaded Ukraine and Russian and Belarussian licensed boxers were banned by the British Boxing Board of Control.
His was one of the names scrubbed out of the latest WBA rankings – an organisation that used to call him ‘world champion’ – and replaced with the hashtag #nowar.
Avanesyan is the child of refugees himself, his family having fled to Russian from Armenia during that country’s war with Azerbaijan. At 33, he does not have time to waste.
Oddly he walked to the ring behind the flag of the European Union, which counts none of Armenia, where he is now billed from, Russia, Serbia, where he is licensed, or the UK, where he trains, as members. That flag had hardly been refurled when the fight was over.
Metz decided to mix it with Avanesyan, which seemed to guarantee matters would not last. In the first 40 seconds, Avanesyan was already landing some meaty shots to the body that had Metz going backwards. At the midpoint of the round, he landed a left hook that buckled Metz’s legs. Two more lefts and a right sent him to the floor.
He was up at the count of seven on unsteady legs, but referee Giuseppe Quartarone allowed him back into the storm. Two lefts and a right landed as Metz tried to hold, but he stumbled forward as Quartarone administered a standing count before waving it off at 2-00.
Hamzah Sheeraz took just 98 seconds longer than Avanesyan to win his first fight at middleweight and it was hard not to be impressed as he dismantled Jez Smith.
The unbeaten 22-year-old went into this fight under a bit of a shadow having been fortunate to avoid a disqualification in his previous fight with Bradley Skeete, who he stopped soon after punching on the floor.
The step up does not seem to have blunted his natural talents. He is still tall for the weight and has huge reach, which he exploits with a ramrod jab. He has fast hands too and power. It all added up to too much for Smith.
After being kept at distance for much of the first round, Smith lunged in and was met by a powerful left hook that sent him to the floor and he got a longer break as the referee searched for Smith’s gumshield.
Smith saw out the round but there was more trouble coming. A left hook staggered Smith before a right and another left sent him heavily to the floor, where referee John Latham counted him out as he tried to scramble back to his feet. The second round had only lasted 38 seconds.
The show at what is now called OVO Wembley Arena was never likely to be a classic, although it did see several members of what is a talent-filled Queensberry Promotions stable impress.
Lightweight Sam Noakes continues to improve and he knocked out Italian champion Vincenzo Finiello in the fourth round.
Noakes is a useful come forward fighter who cuts down the ring well and made short work of Finiello once he had slowed the Italian down, finishing the job with a right uppercut.
Dennis McCann has had plenty of plaudits, but at 21 he is far from the finished article. Charles Tondo, of Tanzania, certainly came for a fight and after McCann failed to get rid of him early on, Tondo got into the fight and gave him a good night’s work before McCann claimed a unanimous decision in their bantamweight eight-round – all three judges (Quartarone, Latham and Massimo Barrovecchio) scoring it 79-73. McCann is rangy, he has nice punch variety, but he does seem to switch off a bit, as he did after dominating the first four rounds, letting Tondo into the fight as he found plenty of holes in McCann’s defences.
The Kent boxer switched back on in the last two rounds, though, to finish well and possibly could have forced the stoppage if there had been another two rounds. The referee was Lee Every.
Unbeaten lightweight Mark Chamberlain recorded the best win of his career to date as he dominated Jeff Ofori who was pulled out by his corner at the end of the fifth round. Tall and accurate, with a good workrate, he never allowed Ofori, who had looked unlucky to drop a narrow decision to Archie Sharp in 2020, to get a foothold in the fight before landing a series of long lefts repeatedly in the fifth, which Ofori seemed unable to avoid. Referee Every accepted the retirement at the end of the round.
Royston Barney Smith, 18, who is trained by Ben Davison, made a successful professional debut with a one-sided four-round decision over Spain’s Adan Martinez at lightweight, claiming a 40-36 decision on referee Every’s card.
Masood Abdulah looks a featherweight who can go places as he moved to 4-0 with a final-round stoppage over the very game Sandeep Singh Bhatti, from India, in a six-rounder.
Abdulah, from Islington, put his punches together well throughout against an opponent who took his licks and never stopped trying, even complaining at referee Mark Lyson’s stoppage at 1-20 of the final round, which seemed well timed.
Super-lightweight Henry Turner stretched his unbeaten record to seven fights at he stopped Croatia’s Ivan Njegac in three one-sided rounds, referee Every stepping in at 2-18 of the third round.
Another unbeaten super-lightweight, Sonny Liston Ali, made it three wins in a row, knocking down Lee Glover twice on the way to 60-52 points win from referee Lyson.
EastEnder Khalid Ali earned his second straight win as a professional with a 40-36 points win from referee Every over Spain-based Nicaraguan Josue Bendana at welterweight.
The Verdict Not an easy fighter to match but this was both too predictable and too easy for Avanesyan.