Callum Smith impresses against Acosta; Easy win for Etches

At the Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield, talented super middleweight Callum 'Mundo' Smith (9-0) found himself contesting the vacant WBC International belt in just his ninth fight. Smith was grateful for the rounds against experienced Argentinian Ruben Eduardo Acosta (27-9-5), but eventually stopped him in the sixth with successive body shots.

Smith (11st 13lbs 10oz) was precise, and despite some spirited counters from the ropes, Acosta (11st 13lbs 11oz) looked off balance as Smith followed him around the ring in the opener. Taped applied to the soles of Acosta's boots during the break didn't help - he was throwing speculative right hands in the second, but Smith patiently sought out an opening and kept the Argentinian under pressure, forcing him back to the ropes repeatedly.

But Acosta proved durable, and resisted Smith's advances in the fourth without sustaining too much punishment, taking the Liverpool prospect into new territory. The Argentinian waved Smith on from the ropes in the fifth, absorbing a solid right hand on the chin as Smith cranked it up a notch. In the sixth, Smith found the sweet spot with a left hand to to body, thrown as part of a heavy combination. Acosta sank to his knees in the corner, rising as Ian John Lewis counted nine.  Smith went in for the finish, landing two left hooks to the body which sent Acosta down again -  this time he wasn't able to rise and was counted out at 1.26 seconds.

Smith told Sky's Ed Robinson after the fight: "He was a good opponent and I think I learned a lot more in that fight than I did in my pervious eight.

'You've gotta be switched on at all times.  No disrespect to journeymen, but when you box them, 90 per cent of the time you are doing as you please, whereas when you step up you've got to be switched on all the time and one shot can change a fight.

"I got tagged a few times there, you never know, a different time could have been bigger shots, so there's still stuff to learn under Joe (Gallagher, trainer)."

Sheffield prospect Adam Etches (13-0) was due to be defending his IBF Youth middleweight title against Alexandre Mendes (10-1), but the Brazilian failed a check weigh in, and so the fight was miraculously made at super middle for the vacant Youth title.

At the weigh in proper, Mendes must have shifted a fair bit to then come in at 11st 8lbs 5oz, with Etches up at 11st 11lbs 3oz. According to Sky commentator Nick Halling, they were both 12st 4lbs at the check weigh in on the day of the fight.

Mendes appeared powerful and swung hooks to Etches' body early on, but he was quickly tamed by a right hand and returned little from then. The Brazilian's defence was awful, and Etches did what he liked, connecting with uppercuts and jabs. Two punches caught Mendes flush on the chin, which caused Marcus McDonnell to step between them and it looked like it was a rightful stoppage. Etches walked away, assuming this was the case, but McDonnell then waved it back on.

Mendes did manage a slow, weak response, but was spent. His corner threw in the towel at the end of the round, which was the right thing to do. Etches was catching him with dangerous shots. A nonsense fight, but Etches will hopefully be involved in some good 'uns when he starts to take on some domestic opposition at middleweight.

A short right hand from Sheffield's Scott Jenkins (10-0) put late replacement, Spaniard Antonio Rodriguez (5-8-4) on his backside in the third, but he was up and bit down to see out the round in survival mode.  

Rodriguez's counter attacks were wild in the fourth, but he caught Jenkins with several as the local fighter sought out the opportunity to finish, which came in the fifth when another right hand sent Rodriguez down again. He was up quickly, only to be waved off by Referee Howard John Foster at 1.15, somewhat prematurely according to Rodriguez, who demonstrated he was compos mentis by somersaulting several times for the crowd's pleasure.

Jenkins said after the fight: "It was a bit premature, but I was breaking him down, and the referee was saving him from getting knocked down again and getting proper hurt."


Simon Barclay speaks to BoxRec News from Klitschko's Champ Camp

Heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko is preparing to face Australian Alex Leapai on 26th April and as usual he has chosen the familiar surroundings of the Austrian Alps. Just hours after winning his professional debut at the Copper Box in London, 24-year old Corby cruiserweight Simon Barclay was on a plane to join up with him in what the Ukrainian calls 'Champ Camp'.

Fight Reports

Brentwood’s ‘Smokin’ Joe Mullender (6-1) got back on track with a close points win over Peckham’s Diego Burton (4-4-1) over ten rounds at the York Hall on Saturday. It was a belter of a fight on a slightly smaller than usual Goodwin bill, partly due to 'Flash' Ashley Sexton not making weight again (more on this later) and 'Big Dog' AJ Carter’s opponent, who reportedly turned up with Evo-Stick holding his mooey in place.