AJ And Hrgovic Nab Stoppages As Chisora Outpoints Washington
Former unified heavyweight champion Anthony “AJ” Joshua (26-3, 23KO) scored a meme-style knockout against late replacement Robert “The Nordic “Nightmare” Helenius (32-5, 21KO).
In his second fight under 2022 Trainer of the Year Derrick James, AJ started slow behind the jab and launched the occasional right hand to the body against Helenius.
Yet, The Nordic Nightmare found success with his jab as well, and managed to draw blood from the nose of the former unified champion. With the fight going into the second half, fans waited patiently for an explosion that seemed as if it was not going to happen.
It was beginning to turn into a third uneventful heavyweight fight of the night. Then just like that, Joshua found the range and obliterated Helenius with an overhand right. The crowd erupted as the referee quickly waved off the fight in the seventh round.
This is the type of knockout victory that builds serious momentum heading into a mega-fight with former WBC champion Deontay Wilder. In this author’s opinion, Joshua may need to take another fight before Wilder as he looked robotic and can’t wait that long against a puncher like Wilder.
DEREK CHISORA WINS SNOOZEFEST AGAINST GERALD WASHINGTON
In a heavyweight showdown between two past their prime fighters Derek “War” Chisora (34-13, 23KO) picked up the win in a lackluster event against Gerald “El Gallo Negro” Washington (20-6-1, 13KO)
If the idea of this fight being the co-main was to get fans ready for the main event, then it failed to deliver. The loudest the crowd got was during the fighter introductions.
The reason for such an uneventful contest was Washington held and fought off the backfoot the entire fight as Chisora applied the pressure. El Gallo Negro started using the height and reach while landing the jab and occasion right hand. Yet, War was unfazed and retaliated with hard body shots and wild hooks that momentarily halted his opponent’s offense.
Washington had success in the late rounds when he let those hands go. However, his game plan to box instead of attacking the elder statesman proved to be a poor decision as the judges’ scorecards favored Chisora 98-93, 97-94, and 96-94.
It was a hard fight to watch, and hopefully it was a last hooray for both men.
FILIP HRGOVIC STOPS DEMPSEY MCKEAN LATE
IBF mandatory heavyweight challenger Filip “El Animal” Hrgovic (16-0, 13KO) scored the stoppage in the last round against Dempsey McKean (22-1, 14KO).
After narrowly escaping with a victory against Zhilei Zhang in August 2022, El Animal fought defensive-minded in the early goings. He did a good job of keeping his lead foot on the outside, allowing him to land good right hands down the middle.
McKean made it a messy contest by holding and leaning on his opponent to land sneaky shots on the inside. In the middle rounds, he came forward, landing the straight left hand against a fatigued Hrgovic.
In the final round, the Croatian landed a right hook that disconnected the legs of his opponent. The referee quickly stopped the fight after watching McKean stumble across the ring.
Despite getting the stoppage, this was another unimpressive performance by Hrgovic. He made no adjustments, fought in spurts, wasn’t consistent with the jab, got tired early, and displayed poor balance.
Hrgovic is not ready to fight for the world title at all. Furthermore, he can’t take long layoffs and needs to get back into the gym immediately.