Matty ‘The Assassin’ Askin, retained his British Cruiserweight title with a devastating second round knock out over Stephen Simmons at the York Hall in London on Saturday night. With a brutal left hook to the body, Askin dropped the Scot to stage a successful first defence of the Lonsdale belt he won against Craig Kennedy in Cardiff last year. The powerful Blackpool fighter’s record now stands at 23 wins, three defeats and one draw, while 33-year-old Simmons is left to ponder his future in the ring.
Askin was in control from the get go, using a solid jab as his base to dictate the terms. Simmons was pressing forward, trying to close the gap, but he was finding it difficult to penetrate the defense of the British Champion and on several occasions he looked vulnerable to a big uppercut through the middle of his guard.
The pattern of the night did not change in the second round and Simmons fell victim to two more big right uppercuts. He looked devoid of ideas, perhaps deterred by Askin’s power, and then in close Askin drove a left straight into the solar plexus of the Scot, crumpling the Edinburgh man and rendering him unable to continue.
"He was a very hard man tonight,” said victorious Askin after his win. "But me on my game beats anyone. Behind the scenes I was going through the uppercut and left hook to the body.” Askin spent a gruelling 14-weeks in camp ahead of his defence, living in a caravan. But now the 29-year-old is looking to step up another level.
"It has been hard but you have to make these sacrifices,” he said. "There has been a lot of talk about me stepping up after this fight, so I had to put in a performance and I feel that I did myself justice tonight."
Two-time Muay Thai kickboxing champion Ruqsana Begum, meanwhile, got her professional boxing career up and running in a closely-fought draw with Ivanka Ivanova. The 34-year-old, from Ilford, Essex, was born into a strict Muslim family. But in 2016, she launched her own range of sports hijab to inspire more women from her faith to take part in sport. The 5ft 3in boxer endured a frustrating start on her debut, however. She was made to wait to start her four-round contest after Ivanova failed to arrive to the ring wearing a cup protector - which is a requirement in British boxing for female fighters. “It was a strange situation,” admitted Haye, speaking of the undercard of the event - streamed live via Facebook on Sport Bible. And it did not end as hoped as Begum, 32, was scored evenly on the scorecards, 38-38, with the bout called a draw.
Elsewhere on the undercard, Wadi Camacho saw off a brave Danny Couzens to retain his Southern Area cruiserweight title via TKO. In a dominating display, the 32-year-old Canning Town southpaw fighter floored Couzens in the ninth round before a second knockdown, courtesy of a brutal left uppercut, saw the referee step in to stop the contest.
Other results from London:
Daniel Mendes beats Grigor Karastoyanov via points decision after climbing off the canvas.
Ricky Heavens beats Jordan Grannum via points decision.
Darrel Church secures stoppage win over Rikke Askew - round 1
Mark Little beat Tomislav Rudan via points decision.
Linus Udofia gets a second round stoppage against Geraint Goodridge.
Youssef Khoumari stops Kristian Laight via points decision.
Adi Burden wins on points against Callum Ide
Dan Keenan wins via points decision against Iliad Markov
Tunji Ogunniya stops Konstantin Alexandrov as the Bulgarian doesn’t leave his corner for the start of the second round