Anthony Sims didn't quite hit the super middleweight limit at Friday's pre-fight weigh-in but didn't miss a beat once he was in the ring.
The unbeaten rising contender resumed his knockout ways, flooring Pittsburgh's Morgan Fitch three times en route to a 6th round stoppage Saturday evening at Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois.
Sims—an Indiana native who now lives and trains in Compton, California—shook off the disappointment of coming in 0.5 pounds heavy on Friday, focusing on the task at hand and the best way to rid the ring of his foe. Six months after being forced to go the distance for the first time since his pro debut, Sims puts Fitch on the canvas twice within the opening two minutes of their preliminary bout.
By the end of round two, Fitch (19-4-1)—a former "Contender" participant and past sparring partner for former four-division champ Roy Jones Jr.—was already complaining of blurred vision. In light of Patrick Day being carried out on a stretcher and rushed to the hospital in the aftermath of the previous bout, there came increasing concern to stop the fight. Instead, Sims Jr. eased off the gas, allowing his Midwestern opponent to enjoy mild success heading towards the midway point.
Sims Jr. turned it up in round six, which provided the end of the night. Fitch hit the deck for a third time, a right hand forcing him to the canvas and a knee as he took an eight count before resuming action. The 36-year old was in retreat mode and not throwing back as an ensuing attack by Sims forced an immediate stoppage.
Cognizant of where he's at in his career, Sims (20-0, 18KOs) offered a logical next step.
"Rocky Fielding, I want you next," Sims told DAZN's Ryan Ruocco of his desire to face the former secondary super middleweight titlist. "Rocky Fielding, if you watching, I want you next—in the UK."
The bout streamed live on DAZN, in supporting capacity to the heavyweight debut of unbeaten 2018 Fighter of the Year and former World cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk, who faces Chazz Witherspoon in the evening's main event.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox