Tonight’s show was set up by Matchroom Promotions as “The Homecoming” for Olympic gold medalist Luke Campbell, who was making his professional debut, but an adoring crowd didn’t see much of him as overmatched opponent Andrew Harris was rescued after 88 seconds of action.
A count was initially given for what was clearly a slip but Campbell, sensing that his opponent was suffering stage fright, pounced and decked his man with a combination. Harris was up once more but got pinned in the corner and battered before the referee called a halt to proceedings.
The 25-year-old Campbell is a special talent and Eddie Hearn intends to keep him busy through his learning curve in the professional ranks. He is a charismatic young southpaw with bags of natural talent and his future looks very bright indeed.
Still, a victory such as this will only teach him what it’s like to perform in front of a big crowd. He learned nothing from a professional point of view in the ring.
“It was my professional debut and it was outdoors in front of my home crowd and I scored a first round knockout,” said Campbell.
“What more can I ask for?”
Lee Selby vs. Viorel Simion
Lee Selby, from South Wales, won a hard-fought twelve-round decision over the previously unbeaten Viorel Simion from Romania at featherweight. Scores were 118-110, 116-112 and 115-113 with both men weighing in officially at 125.75 pounds.
Selby (15-1, 6 knockouts) came out of the blocks fast and was a lot more disciplined and imaginative with his work in the opening rounds. He landed with crisp jabs and made a real target of the body from the get-go with the right uppercut to the midsection his most effective shot.
Simeon was aggressive but could not match Selby’s speed or co-ordination in the early going. The Welshman, who holds British and Commonwealth titles, is very elusive and continuously turned his man to crack home effective counter shots.
Things turned in Round 6 when Simeon got through with some well-aimed hooks to head and body. Selby was inaccurate by way of response and focused too much on showboating as the Romanian rose to the occasion.
Although the bout was of a high standard it did little for the crowd who greeted the matchup with silence for the most part.
Selby continued to land the more accurate shots through nine but there were anxious moments for his fans in the closing rounds as Simeon closed brilliantly. He applied constant pressure, bloodied the mouth of the Welsh star and had him running for cover more than once.
For Selby, twenty-six years old, bigger and better nights lie ahead.
Anthony Ogogo vs. Gary Boulden
Former Olympic bronze medalist Anthony Ogogo won his third-straight contest at middleweight with a fifth-round stoppage of journeyman Gary Boulden.
Ogogo (3-0, 2 KOs) was on the front foot from the start and claimed ring center behind a stiff left jab. He displayed nifty footwork and one memorable right lead convinced Boulden to stay out of the way in the opening session.
The 24-year-old, who is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, continued the hunt in Round 2 and used the check hook to good effect as his overmatched opponent’s leads fell short. That said, there wasn’t much else from Ogogo and Boulden began to get more ambitious with his own output.
In Round 3 Ogogo had clearly found his timing and whipping left hooks and right leads began finding the target. For the first time, the Suffolk man worked the body to set up a precise right uppercut and straight right hand which momentarily stunned his man.
The former Olympian was getting closer and predictably sent Boulden down in the fourth. A thumping right hand to the head had the full weight of Ogogo behind it and a messy follow-up led to a knockdown from which Boulden was lucky to recover.
The attack resumed in Round 5 and referee Howard Foster waved the contest off when Ogogo cranked up the pressure with a fast cluster of shots to the head. The stoppage was premature but the result was academic.
Ogogo, who represented Team Great Britain last year, is impressive and will be kept busy at home and in the U.S.
Time was 0:33.
Photos: Scott Heavey-Gettyimages