Dubois Defeats Lartey, Richards and Edwards Ease to Victory
By: Oliver McManus
Daniel Dubois looked to impress in front of, new stablemate, Joe Joyce ahead of a potential British title fight with the Juggernaut. Though each passing day does see that “agreed contest” seemingly further apart. Dubois had to deal with his latest challenger, anyway, as he took on Richard Lartey for the WBO “Global” heavyweight title. The English and WBO European champion was up against an imposing Ghanaian sporting a ginger beard – not much was known about Lartey and any available footage was grainy and untelling.
Indeed Lartey was supposed to face Joe Joyce in the Summer of last year, for the Commonwealth title, but failed to turn up for the fight. He emerged looking to swing, landing a right hand with his long levers as he sought to immediately derail Dubois’ momentum. Dubois looked unfazed in the face of an erratic opponent, despite getting dragged into a clinch, and was popping away with a measured jab.
Lartey, not pronounced like the coffee, was warned about his constant bear-hugging before taking time-out due to an accidental low-blow. Dubois was finding his target by now, halfway through the second, but wasn’t allowing himself much variety – staying focussed on the jab. The 27 year old Ghanaian fancied his chances at catching Dubois with an overhand right and after being caught with a flush left to the chin he simply swung for glory. Warren’s bluechip heavyweight stumbled across the ring but didn’t look seriously troubled.
Photo Credit: BT Sport Twitter Account
This was the first fight of Dubois, eleven contest, career in which he was actually taking meaningful punches and he seemed to pass the chin-check comfortably – though, of course, Lartey’s power is of unknown proportions. In the fourth round Lartey was slow in pulling up his defence and was battered with a stunning right hand, thrown over the top, that slammed into the cheek of the Ghanaian. Catching him with his feet stock square, Dubois felled his man like a tree.
A fourth round knockout against a livewire opponent saw Dubois advance his record to eleven without defeat in thunderous fashion.
The most evenly matched contest, certainly on paper, saw Lerrone Richards and Tommy Langford battling it out for the vacant Commonwealth and WBO International titles. The fight marked a return to the ring for Richards after a considerable thirteen months away from the ring; Langford was in just his second fight at the weight, having moved up at the turn of the year following a disappointing 2018.
Langford hit the scales marginally heavier at 167lbs and despite being a former British champion at middleweight he was a considerable betting underdog with odds of 13/5 available as the bell rang. Richards, sporting furry bumble bee shorts, carried the greater aesthetics with foreboding shoulders but the opening rounds were cautious, to say the least. Richards edged forwards against an opponent who was looking to engage but, perhaps weary of his previous losses, refused to commit.
No meaningful punch was landed in the first round and the same could be said for the second, though there was more action. Richards extended his jab but didn’t really look for variety whilst Langford was frequent in changing levels, flexing at the knees, and looking to land a lurching hook to the body of his opponent. The younger gentleman was wise to this threat and was able to take a step back and move out of range.
The fight had echoes of Ohara Davies vs Jack Catterall, with the lure of the limelight leaving both competitors overly cautious and not wanting to over-commit. In honesty this was Langford’s last opportunity to a level whereby he can really push on – a loss and you feel as though he has found his ceiling. At the third-way mark the Langford corner urged their charge for “a big, really clear round”, in order to gain a foothold in the contest. The workload was comparable but it always seemed as though Richards was on a upwards trajectory whereas Langford was remaining stagnant in first gear.
Sniper the Boss was living up to his nickname with a preference for precision punching as opposed to a machine-gun splatter of shots. He was holding his ground now, no longer stepping back out of range when Langford looked to come in low but countering the Birmingham man.
Langford, who in his two losses to Jason Welborn made a similarly slow start, was loosening up with his feet within the middle rounds and began to land shots with more frequency. Certainly he wasn’t getting dominated by Richards but it was his opponent who was picking up the rounds in, relatively, comfortable fashion. The former British title holder was looking to force openings with the worried words of his corner ringing in his ear. There was a distinct feeling of frustration and an acceptance he was behind, as he began to chip forward with more urgency.
This renewed urgency prompted a more composed Richards to find greater success, timing his shots to perfection to counter the come-forward nature of Langford. A superb technical display from the New Malden fighter, a former Tesco worker, who showed the ability to adapt to style of Langford and control the contest at will. A spiteful combination in the tenth round showcased just how in-tune he is with timing and precision, landing his shots on the duck’s beak – a thrilling South American football expression.
A mature display from Lerrone Richards who showed just what boxing has been missing over the last thirteen months; it started off cautiously but he relaxed into the contest and found a rhythm easily enough. 118-110, 116-113, 118-111 all in favour of the 26 year old who becomes the new Commonwealth and WBO International champion – well deserved, no bones about it, and a fighter with plenty more to offer.
Sunny Edwards was the co-main event for this Wembley card and the 23 year old defended his WBO European title in comfortable fashion against Pedro Matos, from Portugal. His opponent was eight years older and has campaigned at bantamweight for much of his career and found himself a punch-bag pretty much from the off. Edwards, switching stances, was chopping punches with vigour. A left hand to the side of the head would set up a brutal left hook, landing around the ear-drum, and the face of Matos was reddened by the halfway stage of the first round.
It’s fair to say Matos was overmatched but, at the end of the day, it is very hard to find consistent tests for developing European flyweights simply because there is a limited pool to choose from. Edwards, in fairness, has stated his desire to test himself at a domestic level against the likes of Tommy Frank or Jay Harris so it’s hunger is not a criticism you can direct towards him.
One half of the Croydon Klitschkos – his brother Charlie, the WBC champion – it’s fair to say he offers more entertainment than either of those, former,heavyweight kingpins. Not only in his shot selection but his fleet footwork, making use of the full ring dimensions and switching between orthodox and southpaw with a lucid fluidity. Matos was swinging with gusto, gleeful in letting his gloves go, but Edwards returned with interest. Chopping shots straight down the gully, busting up the nose and snapping the head back on frequent occasion. A huge shot on the bell of the seventh saw Matos grab the rope for balance, he emerged for the next round a shaken man and started to soak up the punishment. The ref jumped in, rightfully so, calling a halt to the contest in the eighth round.
The rest of the undercard saw Zak Chelli claim the first title of his career with a scrappy, yet comprehensive, performance against Jimmy Smith. Chelli won the Southern Area super middleweight belt by 100-89; Denzel Bentley battered Pavol Garoj but didn’t look to force the stoppage against a durable opponent, 60-54; Jack Catterall and Caoimhin Agyarko both registered third round stoppages, against Oscar Armador and Martin Kabrhel, respectively; Chris Bourke made it three stoppages from three fights, stopping Stefan Slavchev in two; Umar Sadiq forced Chris Dutton to retire on his stool following two rounds whilst Archie Sharp and Hamzah Sheeraz also picked up second round finishes; Shakiel Thompson’s Queensbury debut lasted just one round and; Mohammed Bilal Ali and Alfie Price secured convincing points victories over four rounds.
Dubois vs. Lartey Fight Preview
By: Oliver McManus
Wembley hasn’t completely been left in the mire following Anthony Joshua’s temporary relocation to America, with Wembley Arena (the stadium’s little brother) the venue for Frank Warren’s latest promotion.
It’s a case of big bruising heavyweight action topping the bill as Daniel Dubois looks to collect his eleventh professional victory, against Richard Lartey. Last in action seven weeks with a destructive second round knockout over Razvan Cojanu, the Peacock prodigy is not looking to hang around and has multiple routes available to him.
He could, in theory, replicate Anthony Yarde in building his way up the world rankings, thanks to his WBO European title, whilst a win against Richard Lartey puts him in good standing with the Commonwealth Boxing Council. Of course there is the small matter of being mandated for the British title against Joe Joyce – a fight, he says, he wants.
Against Richard Lartey he will be a heavy betting favourite but the contest is a good opportunity to work on the areas that served him so well last time out. Targeting the body is the best asset for Dubois and he got right into that rhythm from the off against Cojanu, creating early success for the 21 year old. We’ve still yet to see how he reacts to a live opponent and having to take a shot in retaliation but, offensively, Dubois looks like he can trouble anyone.
His Ghanaian opponent will touch down in England for only his second fight outside of his home country since turning professional in 2013 – in which he’s amassed a record of 14-1. Initially signed up to face Joe Joyce in June last year, Lartey failed to turn up, he finally has an opportunity to topple a high-flying British prospect.
From what little footage that is available Lartey, who also competes as Richard Harrison, has typically fought from within the clinch as he looks to slash big right hooks across the face of his opponents. The WBO Africa champion looks physically imposing and stands tall throughout his contests. Quick to wrap his hands tight around his face, he seems flinchy in defence and leaves his body exposed at times.
He’s in with a puncher’s chance but that’s about it.
Lerrone Richards will return to the ring after a 13 month absence to face Tommy Langford for the vacant Commonwealth and WBO International super middleweight titles. Richards, a former WBO European champion, was last in action against Chris Dutton last March and endured a frustrating 2018 as he was limited to just that sole outing.
The 26 year old is undeniably gifted and this fight with Langford is a real opportunity to make up for lost time. Certainly the sternest challenge of his eleven-fight career, the southpaw is a nine time national amateur champion and will exude confidence going into the contest. A slick boxer who fights with bundles of energy, you suspect it will be Richards who pushes the tempo of the contest but he’s got a whole bag of tricks up his sleeve should he need to dig deep.
Langford, of course, is not simply turning up to get paid. This is, afterall, his route back into the big time. Having once been promoted by Warren and lined up for a title challenge to Billy Joe Saunders, it all went wrong in thunderous fashion against Avtandil Khurtsidze – for an interim world title. The likeable character quickly came back to win the British title with a victory over Jack Arnfield before two, fight-of-the-year contender, losses to Jason Welborn prompted a move up in weight division.
He finds himself, after a routine six round win over Baptiste Castegnaro, with a shot at immediate title redemption. The 29 year old has been vocal in his belief that Richards is far out of his depth, having “never fought anyone”, but for it is Langford who finds himself with a point to prove. In both contests against Welborn he showed an inability to adapt to the style and pressure coming his way – sticking blindly to his form that had, previously, earned him vast success. He needs to allow himself not to get dictated to by Richards and emerge looking to stamp an air of authority over the fight.
The talented Sunny Edwards returns with a scheduled defense of his WBO European title. The super flyweight is slated to face Pedro Matos (7-1) though that’s yet to actually be officially announced. Edwards has been upfront about his desire to test himself against domestic challengers, as opposed to those from the continent, with Tommy Frank the target of his rhetoric over the last month or so. Frank, Commonwealth champion, seems to have decided he’d rather head in a different direction and who can blame him, Edwards has looked peerless since turning professional.
Ranked eighth by the WBO, he is clearly held in high regard and recently penned a contract extension with, promoter, Frank Warren. Matos has campaigned at bantamweight for the duration of his career with the Portuguese fighter having turned professional in January 2016. His sole loss comes to Juan Hinostroza – who he also holds a win over – via seventh round TKO but his level of opponent has been dire, to say the least. Expect Edwards to get the job done convincingly.
Zak Chelli will vie for the first title of his career as he takes on Jimmy Smith for the vacant Southern Area super middleweight title. The introverted 21 year old has been preparing for his University exams alongside his training for this contest and will look to build on his steady momentum. A convincing victory over Umar Sadiq, which featured in a build-up in which they became fierce rivals, saw Chelli praised for his work-rate; a first-round knockout of Ladislav Nemeth, in March, served as a reminder of his ferocity.
A full undercard features Jack Catterall against an as yet to be named opponent; Denzel Bentley, Hamzah Sheeraz and Caoimhin Agyarko look to extend their unbeaten record over the course of six rounds and; Alfie Price, Chris Bourke and Mohammad Bilal Ali will look to seize their moment on the big stage in four round contests.
All of the action gets underway on BT Sport 1 from 8pm this Saturday, April 27th from Wembley Arena.
Joe Joyce vs. Richard Lartey Preview
By: Ste Rowen
If March 2018 was the month of the heavyweight’s current elite, then June is surely it’s month for prospects…and Tyson Fury.
Last weekend saw the return of the lineal heavyweight champion from an almost 3-year hiatus; as well as 2016 Olympic bronze medallist, Filip Hrgovic moving to 5-0 (4KOs) with a 4th round stoppage over the previously unbeaten Mexican, Filiberto Tovar.
Photo Credit: Joy Joyce Twitter Account
Next week we’ll see 2016 gold medallist, Tony Yoka 4-0 (3KOs), take on former opponent of Luis Ortiz and Dillian Whyte, Dave ‘The White Rhino’ Allen in Paris; as well as Daniel Dubois taking on his biggest test in Tom Little at the O2 arena in London for the English heavyweight belt.
But this weekend, at heavyweight at least, belongs to current Commonwealth champion and 4-0 (4KOs), Joe ‘The Juggernaut’ Joyce who takes on 12-1 (9KOs), Richard Lartey of Ghana at London’s York Hall.
It’s been a sharp rise for the 2016 Rio silver medallist. Joyce started his pro career in a risky bout with Ian Lewison, who just 12 months previous to their fight, fought Dillian Whyte for the British belt, in which Lewison was eventually grinded down into a 10th round stoppage, of a fairly one-sided fight.
Even so, the risk was high for the ‘Juggernaut’, but the reward was eventually worth it. Overcoming a few awkward, early rounds until eventually finding his stride in his pro-debut and dominating his fellow Brit, forcing Lewison’s corner to throw in the towel in the 8th round.
From there, the talk from Joyce’s corner was big, including his promoter, David Haye eyeing bouts with the best of Britain, as well as attempting to goad Dereck Chisora into a fight with his protégé. More recently, Joyce called out Jerrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller on Twitter.
Joe was back out for his second and third pro bouts in February and March this year, spending just less than 4 minutes of combined time in the ring to knockout Rudolf Jozic, and America’s Donnie Palmer. Then it was onto his biggest fight yet, up against the Commonwealth champion at the time Lenroy Thomas, on the undercard of BellewHaye2.
The Jamaican turned up looking in great shape, he always seems to, but once the first bell tolled, his conditioning leant nothing to stopping the ‘Juggernaut’ hurtling towards him. Dropping his foe three times in total before the referee waved off the bout towards the end of the 2nd round, Joe Joyce was now the Commonwealth champion in just 4 fights. Quicker than Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury, Lennox Lewis and Trevor Berbick. Not a bad record to have, especially if Joyce manages to claim the British as well – currently held by Hughie Fury – within the next year.
It’s not just talent that’s seeing Joe put onto the fast track. At 32, even for a heavyweight, time isn’t exactly on his side if he wants his peak to coincide with facing the very best of his division.
His opponent on Friday will be fighting someone with a winning record for just the 4th time in his pro career.
Lartey knocked out 1-0, Nuzu Azuma in his 4th fight; was stopped by 11-0, Ergun Mersin in the 5th round of his one and only fight so far outside of Ghana; and in September last year he earned a 12-round decision over 13-7-1, Ibrahim Marshall in what would be his 6th fight of 2017.
It’s difficult to ascertain whether the Ghanaian is a worthy opponent for Joyce, his record, despite only 1 defeat, suggests not, and there’s next to no footage online of Lartey, but if nothing else, at least he’s active.
But on Friday night, if all goes to plan for Joyce, his opponent will play just a small supporting act in his performance. It gives the ‘Juggernaut’ an opportunity to defend the rainbow belt for the first time, and it keeps him active, and in the general boxing public’s minds for the future.