Nathan Cleverly, the 23-year-old Welshman who holds a maths degree, graduated to world level last night to underscore the emergence of a generation of talented young British fighters. He beat fellow unbeaten light-heavyweight Karo Murat, the fight ending on the advice of the ringside doctor at the start of the 10th round of a pulsating scrap.
Murat, who was brought up in Iraq, had given Cleverly an exacting test but suffered a badly damaged nose amid the unrelenting attrition and then the referee Mark Nelson, who had been concerned about blood oozing from Murat's ear, called in the doctor. After 20 fights Cleverly is set to challenge for the WBO title held by Jürgen Brähmer.
A sweet night for Cleverly then, but a bitter one for his compatriot Enzo Maccarinelli in his European Cruiserweight title defence. The Swansea fighter was knocked out in the seventh round by unbeaten Ukrainian Alexander Frenkel. An appalling misjudgement by the Finnish referee Erkki Meronen, who waved him back into the fight, left him unconscious for several minutes. Defenceless, he was caught by two further savage blows to the head and had to be given oxygen in the ring.
Golden boy James "Chunky" DeGale showed the form that made him Olympic champion with a blistering one-round demolition of Carl Dilks in a final eliminator for the British super-middleweight title.
Nineteen months ago, when he made his professional debut in this city, he was booed out of the ring. But the 24-year-old Londoner had never looked so good as he unleashed an array of quickfire punches. Dilks, a former soldier from Liverpool who served in Iraq, never got into the fight, which ended after just 2min 54 sec, referee Howard Foster intervening as Dilks' right eyebrow split, though some thought the intervention a tad premature.
"I want two more fights this year and to be British champion by the end of it," said DeGale. He looks quite ready to challenge the champion, Paul Smith, another Liverpudlian. This eighth win was a successful defence of his WBA international belt.
Kell Brook, Sheffield's Naseem Hamed fight-alike, successfully defended his WBO Intercontinental welterweight title by stopping Chorley's Michael Jennings, who suffered a badly gashed eyebrow early in the fifth round. Brook, who is clearly on the cusp of big things, is now the number one challenger to Manny Pacquiao.
Heavyweight Derek Chisora added the Commonwealth title to his British crown when the Londoner left Norwich's Sam Sexton sagging on the ropes in the ninth round.
In Barbados, Nicola Adams's bid to become England's first-ever women's world champion ended when she lost the flyweight final to the reigning champion Ren Cancan of China. The Leeds fighter held a narrow 2-1 lead after round one but Ren pulled away in the last two to claim a 10-5 win.
Hartlepool's 19-year-old Savannah Marshall, who was recently featured in our Going for Gold series, was also forced to settle for silver after an agonisingly close 5-4 defeat by American Andrecia Wasson in the welterweight final.
Ireland's Katie Taylor took her third world title, beating China's Cheng Dong 18-5 after the lightweight opened up an eight-point lead in two rounds.Reuse content