Saunders decisions Isusfi; Joyce stops Ustinov – Live fight results
By Mike Smith: Billy Joe Saunders (28-0, 13 KOs) put in a rocky performance in beating #1 ranked WBO contender Shefat Isufi (27-4-2, 20 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision on Saturday night to capture the recently vacated World Boxing Organization super middleweight title at the Lamex Stadium in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, England.
This was not a particularly thrilling fight to watch, but the 29-year-old Saunders labored to an unimpressive decision by the scores 120-108, 117-111, and 118-110. Boxing News 24 scored it for Saunders by a 117-111 score.
Isufi, 29, rocked Saunders in the sixth round after nailing him with a couple of good shots. Aside from that, Isufi fought well enough to win the ninth and perhaps the eleventh. Saunders was taking shots when he would get brave, but mostly he was just trying to be slick and making it ugly. Saunders can make it dull when defensively, which he was doing a lot tonight. The thing, Saunders was fighting a guy that arguably shouldn’t have been ranked #1 or even anywhere in the top 15. Isufi looked like someone that had stumbled into the ring from the crowd to have a go. Isufi’s raw power is what made the fight competitive. But had this been a talented super middleweight contender like David Benavidez, Saunders would have had a long night.
If this performance from Saunders is indicative of what he’s going to be looking like in future fights in the super middleweight division, then he should have his promoter try like heck to put him in cash out fight against Saul Canelo Alvarez or Callum Smith, the two WBA 168 pound champions. In other words, Saunders doesn’t look like he’s going to be able to hold onto the WBO title for long unless he’s matched the same way he was when he held the WBO 160-pound title in being put in with weak opposition once year.
Joe Joyce stops Alexander Ustinov
2016 Olympic super heavyweight silver medalist Joe Joyce (9-0, 9 KOs) picked up his ninth consecutive knockout win in stopping Alexander Ustinov (34-4, 25 KOs) in the third round of a scheduled 10 round fight in the co-feature bout.
Joyce, 33, knocked Ustinov down with a hard left hook to the head in round three. The fight was then stopped. The official time of the stoppage was at 1:55 of round three. Both heavyweights looked painfully slow, but powerful nonetheless.
Fighting for the first time under the helm of new trainer Adam Booth, Joyce nailed the 42-year-old Ustinov with sledgehammer blows repeatedly in each round. Joyce, 6’6″, looked about the same as he did with his previous trainer Abel Sanchez. Joyce had switched over to Booth with the hopes of him improving his game, but he appeared to be the same guy that had fought with Sanchez as his trainer. There’s only so much a trainer can do. He’s not going to be able to give Joyce hand speed, which is what he needs move of all.
Joyce will be fighting next on July 13 against an opponent still to be determined at the O2 Arena in London, England. It’s supposed to be a step up level opponent, but we’ll see. Joyce can’t afford to be moved too slowly by his management, because he’s about to turn 34. If they move him too slowly, he’ll age out before he even gets a title shot.