Croydon’s Joshua Buatsi came through the toughest test of his career yet as he stopped tough Croatian Marko Calic in seven brutal rounds to retain his WBA International Light-Heavyweight Title in the main event at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes, live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US.
The 27-year-old preserved his perfect professional record with a display of grit and firepower as he overcame the Calic’s aggression in the opening rounds, then explosively forced the stoppage to bring up his 13th straight win.
“His jaw was broken,” said Buatsi afterwards. “In the third round I felt my swelling. I thought ‘damn!’ You do what you’ve got to do. He went southpaw so I looped the right hand. He hid it, but he was hurt. This guy said he was coming to burst the Buatsi bubble. I was here to defend it.
“People didn’t know about him, the spectators and the public, but in our camp and within our team, we knew he was a good fighter. I was out for 400 days. We bit down on the gum shield and we got the win. This is a gentleman’s sport, big credit to Marko Calic. I wish him nothing but the best. I wish him good health. Maximum respect to him.
“He came in and he gave me a good run for my money. I hope he gets home safely to Croatia. It was a hard fight but I learned. He didn’t just come to make up the numbers. He was a good fighter, heading into our fight unbeaten. I couldn’t see his right hands, I adapted. I dealt with it. If the World Title fight in 2021 opportunity is presented, and I’ve had the right fights, then absolutely.”
10 x 2 mins vacant WBC Super-Lightweight World Title
CHANTELLE CAMERON WUD10 (100-90 x 3) v ADRIANA ARAUJO
Chantelle Cameron became the latest British World Champion by earning a shutout unanimous decision win over Brazil’s Adrian Araujo to claim the vacant WBC Super-Lightweight World Title in the evening’s co-main event.
Northampton’s Cameron, trained by Jamie Moore and Nigel Travis, completely dominated her 38-year-old opponent form start to finish to extend her unbeaten run to thirteen fights. ‘Il Capo’ controlled Araujo with ease and cruised to victory with three shutout scores of 100-90.
Araujo had failed to make weight, meaning that only Cameron could claim the vacant belt, and she did exactly that in impressive style, outclassing the London 2012 bronze medallist to earn the famous green and gold belt that had been vacated by her Matchroom stablemate Jessica McCaskill.
“I’m absolutely buzzing,” said Cameron. “Jamie and Nigel were telling me off at times because I was taking a few risks. She was a lot heavier and I could feel the weight difference. It’s just instincts, I like to have a scrap! Winning this World Title is perfect timing for me. If it were eight fights ago or even five fights ago she would have beat me because I would have just stood there toe-to-toe. Since I’ve been working with Jamie and Nigel, I’ve learned to box more. They keep telling me to pace myself and hold myself back more. It worked.
“I can’t put it into words how it feels. I was nervous but my team kept me calm and it meant it was a good performance. I wanted this belt, so I had to keep my head on. She wasn’t professional enough to make the weight, but I knew no matter what I was becoming champion. Thanks to everyone for watching, I can’t wait to come back to Northampton with the belt. This is just the start.”
Trainer Jamie Moore added: “I’m over the moon for Chantelle. She’s worked so hard. The weight difference on the night was massive. I think she could have got her out of there if it was a level playing field. Tactically she followed the game plan brilliantly. This is the start for her now. She’ll be involved in some exciting fights.”
8 x 3 mins Heavyweight contest
ALEN BABIC WTKO3 (0:34) v NIALL KENNEDY
Alen Babic blasted out Niall Kennedy in the third round as ‘The Savage’ continued his destructive progress as a Heavyweight contender. The Croatian was extended into the third round for the first time, but swiftly finished off Kennedy with an explosive assault to bring up his fifth straight knockout win.
Charging out from his corner, Babic unloaded a barrage of early hooks, and Kennedy had to withstand clubbing shots in the opening round. Kennedy wilted to the canvas in the second, with the referee ruling out a knockdown, but Babic continued to hammer away with brutal punches from both hands.
A short, savage hook sent Kennedy toppling to the floor in the third and Babic ruthlessly followed up with more sustained shots to force the referee’s intervention.
“He was badly shaken,” said Babic after his latest KO. “Even two minutes after the fight he was still badly shaken. He was down two times. It was a hard situation. I was savage, but I wasn’t 100% savage. I’m a little bit annoyed at myself. I’m angry at myself for that. I wanted to bring something new because I knew I could control Niall.
“I was much lighter than him but you saw how I controlled the ring. I wanted to show more stuff but he was too hittable. He was easy to hit so I just went with my guts, I blasted him out to force the stoppage. I beat Niall at maybe 60% of me. I wasn’t shook up once. It was a very easy fight.
“Critics? I love you. Critics made me. They made me better. I will make you into my army. I will keep winning, I’ll have 10 fights and 10 KOs. Tom Little is next for sure. He should fight me. He is a cool guy; he is a warrior. It’s going to be a very fan friendly fight. The fans want to see it so lets get in the ring with Tom Little. I do all of this for my fans. I get so much love from my fans. Every single one of them is a part of my success.”