By Karl Freitag
In a clash for the vacant WBO interim light heavyweight championship, unbeaten Nathan Cleverly (21-0, 10 KOs) won a lackluster twelve round unanimous decison over late sub Nadjib Mohammedi (23-2, 12 KOs) on Saturday night at the Liverpool Echo Arena in Liverpool, England. Cleverly pressed the action early. Mohammadi picked up the pace in rounds six and seven. Cleverly was deducted a point in round seven for holding and got the “You’re blowing it son,” lecture from trainer Dean Powell in his corner after the round. Close rounds after that. Scores were 115-112, 116-111, 115-113.
European middleweight champion Matthew Macklin (28-2, 19 KOs) took a hard fought unanimous decision over former world title challenger Ruben Varon (35-6, 16 KOs). It was a tough fight for the WBC #5/WBA #6/WBO #6 rated Macklin, who faded badly late. Scores were 116-111, 116-113, 117-111. Varon was deducted a point for a low blow in round five.
Unbeaten WBO #1 rated welterweight Kell Brook (23-0, 16 KOs) scored a second round blowout over Philip Kotey (21-6-2, 15 KOs). Brook dropped Kotey at the end of round one and the one-sided bout was stopped by the referee in the following round after 38 seconds.
In his biggest test to date, unbeaten Olympic gold medalist James DeGale (9-0, 7 KOs) dethroned reigning British super middleweight champion Paul Smith (29-2, 15 KOs) with a ninth round TKO. DeGale dominated the fight from round one against the game Smith and the referee finally waved off the one-sided affair at the 2:08 mark.
Unbeaten Commonwealth light heavyweight champion Tony Bellew (15-0, 10 KOs) survived knockdowns in rounds one and two to stop Ovill McKenzie (18-10, 7 KOs) at 2:46 of round eight.
Heavyweight Larry Olubamiwo (10-1, 9 KOs) handed Paul Butlin (12-14) his ninth straight loss via eighth round TKO in a bout for the vacant International Masters belt.