Unbeaten cruiserweight Ellis Zorro produced the best win of his career as he ground out a grueling eight-round decision over former English light-heavyweight champion Dec Spelman on the Bentley-Morrison bill at York Hall, London.
Zorro, 29, was a late starter who only took up boxing at university and barely had much of an amateur career. This was a real gut check for him, as he endured a desperate time in the sixth and seventh rounds to claim victory.
Credit must also go to Spelman, stepping up a division, as he got up from a brutal body-punch knockdown in the fourth to run Zorro very close.
In the early rounds, Zorro did well on the back foot and picked shots to the body, while Spelman tried to put pressure on him, but things started to heat up when it approached halfway.
Early in the fourth round, Zorro landed a big left to the body that dropped Spelman who was in obvious pain. He was hurt by another body shot soon after, but to Spelman’s credit he started taking the fight to Zorro in the second half of the round.
Spelman continued to grow into the fight in the fifth as he pressured Zorro, but Zorro fired back in the sixth round, as some heavy rights looked to take their toll before Spelman fired back and seemed to have Zorro in trouble after a left landed and he followed up on the ropes.
Suddenly Zorro looked on heavy legs and the seventh shaped up as an excellent round. First Spelman rocked Zorro back on the ropes with a left hook and then went for the finish, with Zorro trying to evade the punches on the ropes. Zorro managed to survive the initial onslaught, although he was bleeding heavily from the nose, but then Zorros held his feet and landed a series of hard punches, including a big uppercut that stopped Spelman in his tracks.
Then a left hook from Spellman rocked Zorro again, although he didn’t have the energy to follow up as both finished the round tired. Zorro was the busier in the last round, as he used his jab to keep Spelman at bay. Referee Chas Coakley scored it 77-74 Zorro is now unbeaten in 15.
Welterweight Khalid Ali was given a six-round workout by Dario Borosa, from Croatia, who did well to last the distance after getting a going over in the first two rounds.
The 21-year-old from London’s East End dominated early, switching well to head and body. It took three rounds for Borosa to throw a worthwhile punch and while he did better later on as the pace slowed, he never threatened to win a round. Referee Sean McAvoy scored it 60-54 to Ali.
Ben Davison-trained prospect Royston Barney-Smith needed just 36 seconds to record the third win of his professional career, as he stopped Paul Holt with a pair of lightning southpaw lefts.
Super-featherweight Barney-Smith, 18, rocked Holt with the very first punch he threw, a left cross, and while Holt saw off the initial onslaught, another fast southpaw left knocked him flat on his back. Holt was up on unsteady legs and the towel came in from Holt’s corner ensuring referee Sean McAvoy did not really have a decision to make about whether it should go on.
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.