Bradley Strand opened Friday's Queensberry show at London’s York Hall with a solid decision victory over Joshua John.
Strand boxes out of the thriving Everton Red Triangle gym in Liverpool and was supported by his stablemate Nick Ball who recently won a final eliminator to box for the WBC featherweight title.
Boxing as a super bantamweight for the first time, Welshman, John, looked to take the centre of the ring, boxing neatly and looking to get his jab working but fell short as Strand held his ground and used his long reach to get his own jab working. The Liverpudlian was also able find a home for a couple of right hands.
Strand began to push John back in the second. John was still firing out that jab but was struggling to build anything off it and Strand’s extra weight of shot and speed seemed to be beginning to tell. John was staying at a safe distance and able to make Strand fall short but was just unable to find the counterpunches to make him pay.
By round four, the pattern of the fight seemed to be set. Strand’s jab was the biggest weapon in the fight. He landed it regularly and tried to create an opening. John was staying safe and just staying out of range of strand’s right hand but an unwillingness to take any risks meant that the rounds were drifting away from him. Strand kept his shape, kept working away and waited for John to slow down or make a mistake.
John came out for the sixth with a bit more ambition but just couldn’t get any sustained success. Strand saw off the brief surge and ended the round with a nice left hook. Surprisingly, Strand began to show some signs of frustration at the start of the seventh, loading up giving John the odd opportunity to counter him but he quickly re-established his jab and was back in control as the round ended.
John began the eighth with another surge. They were good rounds for Strand who was on top but unable to dominate and when he strayed away from his plan, John was good enough to make him miss and come back with a good jab. Realizing that he needed to produce something, John upped the tempo in the final couple of rounds but Strand seemed to have come to terms with the fact that he was likely to be going the distance and only exchanged when it suited him, otherwise he stayed behind his jab. As the final round would down, Strand did cut loose a little, knocking John’s mouthpiece out with a right hand and following it up with an accurate burst.
The result was a formality and Strand was awarded a unanimous decision and the WBO European super bantamweight title. The scores were 99-91, 97-93 & 97-93.
OFF TV RESULTS
Welterweight - Joel Kodua W PTS 4 Dario Borosa
Welterweight - Sonny Ali W PTS 6 Fernando Mosquera
Cruiserweight - Oronzo Birardi W TKO 1 Israel Duffus