Azinga Fuzile stops Martin Ward in IBF Title Eliminator
In his latest outing, super featherweight Martin “Wardy” Ward (24-2-2, 11 KO’s) saw his five-fight win-streak broken in disappointing fashion. This was accomplished when Azinga “Golden Boy” Fuzile (15-1, 9 KO’s) won their IBF title eliminator by way of eighth round stoppage. Heading into the bout, Ward was ranked #4 (IBF) while Fuzile was #5 (IBF). This victory was much needed as the Golden Boy was only one fight removed from his eighth round stoppage loss to Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov on September 29, 2019.
As for Ward, this was certainly a crushing loss. He had already done quite well for himself on the European circuit. Wardy has claimed the British, Commonwealth and European Super Featherweight titles. He was able to collect all those belts before suffering his sole career loss to James Tennyson on May 5, 2018. Since that loss, Wardy was building up a very beneficial momentum, albeit against less than stellar competition. Now he will have to go back to the drawing board.
SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE
Following a rather dreary opening round, the action began picking up a bit in the second. Ward continued to be the aggressor, pressing forward against his southpaw adversary working behind his jab. Fuzile enjoyed some success counter-punching, especially with his left hook. Then, in the third, Fuzile knocked Ward down with a check left hook as he stormed in. Ward was more off balance than anything, but he got up easily and finished the period with no more difficulty.
After enjoying a beneficial fifth round, Ward was caught with another thumping counter-left hook in the sixth. While he did not go down this time, Wardy was clearly buzzed by the shot. Things quickly went from bad to worse. Earlier in the period, Ward suffered a knee injury when the two fighters got their legs tangled. With his movement hampered, Fuzile took full advantage and clobbered Ward with a right hook. The punch sent him crashing into the ropes. Despite beating the count, Ward was obviously hurt and his corner threw in the towel, ending the fight in the eighth.
By: Bakari Simpson