Friday night at York Hall in London, England proved to be as enlightening as it was exciting. The crowd in attendance and those watching at home on Sky Sports, saw two week replacement opponent Ted Bami dominate Italy's Guiseppe Lauri to capture the vacant European Light Welterweight Title on a Matchroom promotion. Famous faces such as former British Welterweight Champion Young Muttley and ex-IBO/Commonwealth Light Middle Champ Richard Williams also enthralled the audience, with both fighters scoring impressive knockouts.
The night started with Scottish light welter Barry Morrison improving his record to 13-1 (7) by defeating Frenchman Mounir Guebbas, 9-7-3 (5), on points, 58-56 in a hotly contested six rounder.
Next, crowd favourite Young Muttley of Birmingham took center stage in the second bout of the evening. Despite being slightly sluggish, Muttley, 21-2 (12), showed excellent technical ability as the former British Welterweight Champion staggering his opponent, Alexander Abramenko, before proceeding to pound the Belarus journeyman to the ground. Abramenko, 13-12-1 (2), did not beat the referee's count and was declared KO'd in the first round.
Next on was former IBO/Commonwealth Light Middle titlist Richard Williams, now campaigning at middleweight. Williams, 21-3-1 (17), immediately took the fight to his opponent, a mean looking Vedran Akrap, and after a fairly even first round, knocked the Croat, 9-5 (4), to the canvas in the second and third frames. Showing good heart, the underdog battled on until the fifth in which he was stopped after again being knocked down.
Williams will next face Howard Eastman for the vacant British Middleweight title on 17 November .
After another two bouts, it was time for the main event of the evening, Ted Bami vs. Guiseppe Lauri for the vacant European Light Welterweight title. Televised live by Sky Sports and sponsored by partypoker.com, it was clear that this fight had all the credentials to be a classic.
Coming in at two weeks notice was Ted "Dangerous" Bami, originally from the Congo but now calling Brixton, South London home, as a replacement for original contestant Jason Cook. Facing Bami and coming all the way from Italy was Guiseppe "The End" Laurie.
Laurie is no stranger to fighting in England, losing to Ricky Hatton in five rounds six years ago, and four years ago to Junior Witter in two rounds. However, the Italian went on to achieve an 11-0 record since 2003. Bami, also unbeaten since 2003, had always claimed he was “avoided’ in the division.
Bami and Lauri weighed in at under the 10 stone (140 lb) limit and both fighters looked in tremendous condition, ready to go the distance.
From the opening bell, Bami jumped on the defensive minded Laurie, and within the first 30 seconds had his man in trouble. However, being the technically astute fighter that he is, the Italian was able to manoeuvre his way off the ropes, but Bami still controlled the action.
Round two saw again domination from Bami, and now Lauri had something resembling an egg on the side of his head, caused by a clash of heads. So far, so good for the home fighter.
Rounds three and four virtually mirrored the second with Bami banging to the body and then pouncing with huge left hooks to the head of Lauri, who to his credit showed a remarkable chin.
Finally in the fifth, the Italian got into the fight and momentarily it seemed that the lack of time to prepare was affecting Bami. Lauri remained the aggressor into round six until Bami managed to split the nose of the Italian with another gigantic uppercut, which seemed to put Lauri back into his shell.
The last rounds of the fight were again dominated by Bami, with the exception of a one point deduction for butting in the eighth. The tenth round saw Bami land 12 unanswered punches as Lauri held on to survive the session.
Going into the championship rounds, Lauri clearly needed a knockout, however with the huge crowd support for the local man, Bami wasn't giving an inch. At the final bell, the crowd and Bami knew whom the new champion was.
With scores of 118-111 and 117-112 (twice) all going to Bami,21-2 (11), it gives the man who fighters normally don't go looking for a chance to finally get into the picture along with Britain's other top light welters, Ricky Hatton and Junior Witter. Ironically as his nickname suggests, this fight may well now mark "The End" for the 30 year old Guiseppe Lauri, now 41-5 (24).
Boxing Photos by David Oakley Photography.co.uk