Hughie Fury (26-3, 15 KO’s) returned to form and elevated himself back into the heavyweight title mix with a victory over German gatekeeper Christian Hammer (26-8, 16 KO’s) in Newcastle this evening.
The heavy-handed Hammer aimed to intimidate Fury with forward pressure and overhand bombs, but the Manchester man weathered the storm and fired back with well-placed shots of his own. Hammer’s attempts to force Fury onto the ropes were unsuccessful, with Fury moving with a lightness belying his size and foot-working his way to control of the ring.
Increasingly frustrated, Hammer fouled Fury by hitting him in the back of the head repeatedly during a clinch in the fifth round. The referee deducted him a point for the foul, which prompted Hammer to go for broke and attempt to score a finish.
That effort backfired: Hammer overreached himself and tore his right bicep in the process. He was forced to retire from the fight in the interval between the fifth and sixth rounds, drawing an end to the contest and handing Fury the win by TKO.
BRIEDIS DEFENDS WORLD TITLES WITH TKO WIN OVER MANN
Mairis Briedis (28-1, 20 KOS) defended his IBF and Ring Magazine World Cruiserweight Titles last night at the Arena Riga in Latvia with a spectacular third-round TKO win over German challenger Artur Mann (17-2, 9 KOS).
The Latvian boxing star was fighting for the first time since capturing the coveted Muhammad Ali Trophy in the final of the World Boxing Super Series tournament against former WBA and IBF World Champion Yuniel Dorticos.
The 36-year-old from Riga was cheered into the ring by his passionate home support who were in attendance to see the three-time world ruler win his fifth major world title fight and claim his twentieth career knockout.
Mann looked to meet Briedis in the centre of the ring but was outboxed by the champion who sent the former WBO International title holder to the canvas once in the second round and twice in the third before the referee called a halt to the action.
“Thank you to all the fans who came to support me. You are fantastic,” said Briedis after the bout. “My opponent was not easy. We prepared very well for this fight and invested a lot of time and work. I am happy to defend my titles and I look forward to collecting more belts soon.”
“That was a great performance by Mairis,” said promoter Kalle Sauerland. “Tonight, he showed once again why he is the man to beat at 200lbs. There are a lot of big fights out there for him. A unification with Lawrence Okolie, a mandatory defence against Jai Opetaia or a move up to Heavyweight. Mairis has already proven he is the number one in the division and now it’s about securing legacy defining fights. 2022 is going to be a massive year for him.”
British boxer Harlem Eubank made his promotional debut for Wasserman Boxing on the undercard in Riga. The 27-year-old Super Lightweight from Brighton, who is the cousin of Wasserman stablemate Chris Eubank Jr, moves to 12-0 following a stoppage victory over Nika Nakashidze.