UK Spotlight: Dominant Wins for Edwards, Buatsi and Quigley
By David Greisman
This week, we check in with some boxing highlights from the United Kingdom, where one titleholder and two up-and-coming prospects were among those in the spotlight at the Copper Box Arena in London.
All three picked up victories — titleholder Charlie Edwards defended his flyweight title with a unanimous decision over Angel Moreno, while up-and-coming 175-pounder Joshua Buatsi stopped Liam Conroy in three rounds and middleweight Jason Quigley made even quicker work of Mathias Eklund.
It’s easy for us boxing fans in the United States to think that what takes place in America is the focal point of the sport. But the internet has expanded our ability to consume even more action from seemingly every corner of the globe. And you don’t even need to rely on illicit websites anymore in order to catch live fights taking place overseas. This show was broadcast in the United States via the DAZN streaming service, allowing us to get a good look at other talent that we might have otherwise known little about.
Keep reading for more about what we learned:
Charlie Edwards Defends Flyweight Title By Shutting Out Angel Moreno
For 12 rounds, Charlie Edwards played the part of a matador working in overdrive against a bull. Even if a bull only has one game plan, it’s the matador who has to stay focused in order to survive.
Angel Moreno indeed only had one game plan. He came forward and pressured Edwards from the beginning. But when Edwards showed that he could box and move, all Moreno could do was keep coming forward and lunge with wide and wild shots, believing that he need only land in order to change the fight.
Edwards made sure that Moreno rarely landed. And what Moreno did land didn’t change a thing. Edwards still triumphed, retaining his flyweight world title with a shutout unanimous decision.
Edwards’ ability to avoid Moreno also gave him room to land, pot-shotting, creating distance at times, winning in close range at others, and scoring points throughout. As Moreno began to slow and come forward without throwing, Edwards found more opportunities to land with more emphasis. Moreno did have his rare moments, landing with a right and a left in the fourth round. Edwards took them, then taunted when he made Moreno miss. Moreno targeted the body in rounds five, seven and eight, hoping to lessen Edwards’ movement. Edwards continued to box, counting on a wealth of endurance, which was helped by his ability to remain calm under pressure.
Edwards was awarded a knockdown in the eighth round. He’d landed a right hand, and then Moreno awkwardly lunged forward to throw a punch, only to slip to the canvas. Not that the extra point made any difference on the scorecards. Edwards’ superiority for nearly every moment of the bout was recognized by all three judges.
Each scored it 120-107, 12 rounds to none, with an extra point taken from Moreno for the eighth-round knockdown.
Edwards was younger and less experienced when he’d first fought for a world title in 2016, an 8-0 prospect falling short via technical knockout against the veteran flyweight titleholder Johnriel Casimero. Edwards left the 112-pound weight class behind for the past couple of years, dropping back down last December to fight Cristofer Rosales for a belt.
Edwards did much better in that second chance, outpointing Rosales and winning the title. Now that he’s beat Moreno, Edwards (now 15-1 with 6 knockouts) is hoping to “build a legacy,” as he said in a post-fight interview. He mentioned Andrew Selby — who wound up losing a bout in Mexico later on Saturday — plus 112-pound titleholder Moruti Mthalane and 115-pound belt holder Kal Yafai.
Moreno is now 19-3-2 with 6 KOs. This was his first loss in three years.
Joshua Buatsi Drops Liam Conroy Twice For Third-Round TKO
Joshua Buatsi has high hopes and high expectations.
The light heavyweight prospect won bronze in the 2016 Olympics, is signed with top British promoter Eddie Hearn, is managed by heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, and wants to follow in the footsteps of the great fighters from his native Ghana and his adopted home in the United Kingdom.
He’s still just 18 months into his pro career. But Buatsi has notched his 10th pro victory with a decisive three-round technical knockout of Liam Conroy.
Conroy came in with a few losses on his résumé. He wasn’t the rising prospect with a flawless pro record and a lot of buzz behind him. But he’d been on a good run ever since leaving the middleweight and super middleweight divisions behind. Since moving up, Conroy had put together an eight-fight winning streak.
He wasn’t going to be able to make it nine.
Buatsi clearly had Conroy outgunned. The difference in power was evident from early on, when Conroy landed a one-two combination, only to take a harder right hand in return. Conroy wisely targeted the body to try to take some steam off Buatsi’s punches. It didn’t do enough to help.
Again in the second, Conroy scored with a right hand but ate a retaliatory right hand from Buatsi. Buatsi also mixed in plenty of punches downstairs. And while the first round had ended with some shoving between the two, Buatsi sent a message by ending the second round in control, landing several shots before the bell.
About halfway into the third round, Buatsi hurt Conroy with a good right hand. Conroy ducked a couple of follow-ups, only to get delivered to the canvas by a left hook and another right. Conroy rose at the count of eight. Buatsi soon scored a second knockdown, landing a left and then a right to the head, sending Conroy falling forward. Again, Conroy beat the count. The referee, however, waved off the fight. It seemed an early stoppage. You won’t hear much grumbling from the audience, though, given that the fight otherwise seemed like it’d been decided.
Buatsi is now 10-0 with 8 KOs. It’s possible that he could return on June 1 on the undercard of Anthony Joshua’s heavyweight title fight in New York City against Jarrell Miller.
Buatsi knows there’s a lot expected of him, but he also recognizes that those expectations are to be fulfilled over time, rather than immediately.
“Still a long way to go,” he said.
Conroy is now 16-4-1 with 8 KOs.
Jason Quigley Beats Eklund in Four Minutes, Wants Canelo, GGG and Jacobs
Middleweight prospect Jason Quigley missed out on a big opportunity last year. But he thinks big opportunities will still await him.
In the meantime, he needs to stay busy and hopefully work his way toward a title shot. And so he fought for the first time in 2019 — not that he got many rounds in. Quigley scored an early technical knockout of Mathias Eklund, ending the fight just one minute into the second round.
Quigley hails from Ireland, though he’d fought his entire pro career in the United States after signing with Golden Boy Promotions in 2014. But Golden Boy’s affiliation with the DAZN streaming service, which also heavily features boxers with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Sport, opened the door for Quigley to appear on Saturday’s show in London.
And it’ll potentially open more doors for him.
Quigley expected to face Ryota Murata for a secondary world title last year. Instead, that fight went to Rob Brant, who upset Murata for the belt.
However, Quigley believes that Golden Boy, Matchroom and DAZN’s combined talent pool means he could end up facing the likes of Gennady Golovkin, Canelo Alvarez, Daniel Jacobs and Demetrius Andrade. He left out David Lemieux, a Golden Boy fighter who also merits mention even if he isn’t one of the best at 160.
“I’m rubbing my hands together right now,” Quigley told iFL TV in a post-fight interview. “Another two or three more fights, and hopefully we can get that title shot.”
Quigley is now 16-0 with 12 KOs. Eklund is now 10-2-2 with 4 KOs.