Caroline Dubois scores stunning first-round stoppage victory | Dan Azeez grinds down Rocky Fielding to win Commonwealth title

Caroline Dubois blitzed Sofia Rodriguez inside the first round while Dan Azeez broke down Rocky Fielding to add the vacant Commonwealth title to his British championship.

For Christmas, Caroline Dubois said she wanted to do something no one had done before. The rising star did just that when she ruthlessly dispatched Sofia Rodriguez in just 60 seconds.

In all Rodriguez’s previous 12 bouts, she had always heard the final bell. But against Dubois she didn’t even make it to the second minute.

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Caroline Dubois reacts to her first round stoppage against Sofia Alexjandra Rodriguez

A tremendous reception greeted Dubois when she stepped into the ring at the Bournemouth International Centre on Saturday.

The southpaw, a Tokyo Olympian, rapidly took the measure of Rodriguez, rocking her with exquisite lead right hooks.

Immediately she saw Rodriguez shaking beneath the power. Her left hook arched across. Rodriguez couldn’t backpedal quickly enough but she couldn’t escape.

Guiding her towards the ropes, Dubois doubled her right hook to the body then launched the same punch to the head. Without hesitation she went for the finish and the referee waved it off at 1-00 of the first round.

Rocky Fielding has fought elite fighters, Canelo Alvarez, Callum Smith, John Ryder and others. Dan Azeez joined Alvarez and Smith as the only people to have beaten the Liverpudlian when he secured a stoppage victory in eight rounds.

Azeez uses uppercuts well (Photos: Lawrence Lustig/BOXXER)
Azeez uses uppercuts well (Photos: Lawrence Lustig/BOXXER)

Azeez has risen to prominence since winning the British light-heavyweight title but the championship was not on the line in this fight after Fielding came in one pound over the limit at Friday’s weigh-in.

The victory though did see Azeez pick up the vacant Commonwealth belt.

The Londoner set the tone from the opening round. He maintained forward momentum, repeating jabs but also going to the body at select moments. He forced his way in close, outworking Fielding.

A clash of heads in the second round cut Fielding by the left eye and the referee warned Azeez for reckless use of the head in the third.

But in general, it was the pressure that Azeez applied which proved the difference. Fielding fired back when he could, but wasn’t establishing the same kind of rhythm for his work.

Azeez got his gloves back to block Fielding’s punches, and swung through particularly eye-catching uppercuts.

Fielding fends Azeez off
Fielding fends Azeez off

Fielding needed to stem the British champion’s advance, and snagged him with a one-two off the ropes at the end of the fifth round.

The Liverpudlian came back with sporadic bursts of punches but couldn’t force Azeez off. Azeez staggered him for a moment at the end of the sixth round and prompted Fielding to throw a furious salvo back.

Azeez found more success at the end of the seventh round, a right straight to the body dropped Fielding to a knee.

That saw him start the eighth round with ferocious intent, blasting hooks round Fielding’s guard and catching the head.

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Highlights of Dan Azeez’s victory over Rocky Fielding as he gains the Commonwealth belt to add another to his growing collection

Azeez pressed him into the ropes, battered in shots and Fielding’s corner threw in the towel to pull him out.

Big Scottish heavyweight Nick Campbell set out aggressively for Newcastle rival Steve Robinson. He jabbed hard and landed the first hurtful right.

In the second round he caught Robinson with heavier punches still, wobbling him with a left hook and starting to drive him back across the ring.

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Steven Robinson turns it all around in the fourth round as he knocks down Nick Campbell to win by TKO

Campbell heaved blows in but Robinson still could catch him with the occasional reply. Nevertheless the Scotsman was taking over the contest, dominating the flow of the fight as Robinson cuffed shots at him.

Campbell had won all five of his previous bouts by stoppage and looked on course for a sixth.

But suddenly in the fourth round the Englishman turned it all around. He bombed Campbell off his feet, dropping his opponent heavily. Robinson knew he had to seize his moment.

Another monstrous left hook sent Campbell back to the canvas. He chased after him and let his hands fly, hammering at Campbell and forcing a stoppage with just three seconds left in the round.

“That was for every single person out there who doesn’t believe in themselves, who wakes up every day and doesn’t want to get out of bed,” Robinson said.

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An emotional Steven Robinson reacts to his 4th round stoppage against Nick Campbell after he had to crawl back after initially falling behind in the early rounds of the fight

“Just do it, because I’m a prime example of coming from nothing and being where I am.”

The clash of unbeatens between Cori Gibbs and Jimmy First also produced a major surprise.

Against First, Gibbs had the edge in speed, in skill and certainly in age. Jimmy “the Fist” is 41 years old and used to be known as Britain’s “oldest prospect”. But he was trying to take his career up to another level against Gibbs, the winner of the BOXXER Series tournament.

First pressed forward determined. But Gibbs was too sharp, timing his left hook to land well and snapping down whip-sharp rights.

Steve Robinson drops Nick Campbell (Photos: Lawrence Lustig/BOXXER)
Steve Robinson drops Nick Campbell (Photos: Lawrence Lustig/BOXXER)

He switched stances, moving southpaw easily and throwing in his back hand, bewildering First further.

Yet the bout became bizarre, with Gibbs’ mouthpiece continually tumbling out. He was warned by the referee and ultimately didn’t just have one point docked for the infraction. Three times in total referee Sean McAvoy took a point off Gibbs for his gumshield falling out repeatedly.

First could take heart from that and, game throughout, he kept on attacking.

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Highlights of Cori Gibbs lightweight contest against Jimmy First which sees First take the win in surprising circumstances

But Gibbs recovered his poise, reasserting control in the seventh round and landing a fine right to the point of the chin in the eighth and last round. First tried to drive in a defiant right but Gibbs finished the stronger.

However a further shock was in store. First unexpectedly won the decision, taking it 76-73 for referee McAvoy.

Jimmy “the Fist” remains unbeaten and Gibbs takes a first loss. “I just had to fight my heart out,” First said. “The heart of a lion – that Yorkshire spirit.”

An extraordinary result for a 41-year-old that no one expected to win.

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41-year-old Jimmy First reacts to his points decision win against Cory Gibbs

Harvey Lambert made his professional debut, dropping Sebastian Wojtan before finishing the fight with a scything lead right hook.

Popular local man Lee Cutler outscored Joel Julio 60-54 in their six-rounder.

Mace Ruegg took a four-round 40-36 points win over Jahfieus Faure, while Michael McKinson returned from his loss to Vergil Ortiz when a 59-55 decision win over Roberto Arriaza after six rounds.

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