A superb short, chopping right hook allowed Harlem Eubank to score the most impressive win of his career so far, as he twice dropped and then stopped a spirited Timo Schwarzkopf in 11 rounds.
Flanked by his uncle and former world champion Chris Eubank Sr, Harlem Eubank was given a solid homecoming ovation by a sold out crowd at the Brighton Centre and his supporters hit a fever pitch after 42 seconds of the 11th when the fight ending shot detonated, decking Schwarzkopf and then leaving him reeling around the ring, trying to tell referee John Latham he was okay to continue when he clearly was not.
“It was great,” said the winner. “Conor [Benn], get your license. I’m coming up to 147lbs. Timo doesn’t get stopped. I can move, dance, sting them, ducked and dived and got the finish. It was an absolutely beautiful reception from my hometown city.”
Benn has not been licensed by the British Boxing Board of Control since he relinquished his license and had adverse findings on two VADA tests. He has subsequently been licensed in Florida, where he boxed on September 23.
Eubank improved to 19-0 with eight stoppages, and Schwarzkopf was halted for the first time in a career that has spawned 22 wins and now six defeats.
Eubank, 29-years-old, started sharply, landing several quick left hooks and getting to work on the visitor’s body, but he was clipped by a long right in return in the opening round.
With 30 seconds left in the session, Eubank pushed Kosovo-born German Schwarzkopf to the floor.
Schwarzkopf was steadily aggressive in the second. Eubank used footwork and movement, with Schwarzkopf make the running as the crowd broke into familiar ‘Eu-bank, Eu-bank’ chants.
Eubank seemed to be on a mission and a minute into the third round he landed a crisp right uppercut and the Kosovo-born German’s legs steadied and he was put over by a follow-up right hand.
Schwarzkopf made it back to his feet and a firefight ensued, with Eubank in control of the exchanges but becoming a little ragged in his excitement.
He was still able to pick Schwarzkopf off with a left hook and, seconds later, a right hand.
Schwarzkopf was struggling to cope with Eubank’s variety, although the Brighton man was warned for punching low in the fourth, but he helped himself to another sweet right uppercut and there was a laboured look to Schwarzkopf’s increasingly-weary approach. But he was still in there pitching, and he caught Eubank with a couple of shots towards the end of the round and in the fifth referee John Latham deducted a point from Eubank for straying low once more when he deemed a left hook was south of the border.
Schwarzkopf was marked up by the left eye, but happy to walk through Eubank’s punches in exchange for being able to apply pressure. He was game and gritty. The classier work was coming from Eubank, but Eubank – trained by Charlie Beatt – would have been disappointed at being caught by some of the shots Schwarzkopf was able to land.
Eubank was warned again for throwing a left hook low in Round Seven, with Latham insisting that two points would come off if he had to speak to him about it again.
Both fighters had their moments through eight and nine and the pace slowed in the 10th with the zip and accuracy leaving Eubank’s offence and Schwarzkopf unable to reverse the deficit.
Just when it looked like a distance fight was on the cards, Eubank was tracked to a corner but with his back to the ropes Eubank uncorked the terrific fight-ending right hook.
Schwarzkopf bounced quickly up to his feet, but Latham could tell his legs were not back underneath him and the official called it off.
It was a statement win from Eubank, who became the first man to stop Schwarzkopf, who had gone the distance with the likes of Jack Catterall, Chris Van Heerden and Anthony Yigit, having beaten Miguel Vazquez in his last fight.
Earlier in the night, there had been wins for 18-0 super-middleweight contender Lerrone Richards, fighting under trainer Grant Smith, with an eight-round points victory over Mickey Ellison. Richards has stopped four in the pros.
Tommy Welch, son of former heavyweight contender Scott, is now 12-0 with seven stoppages after flooring Argentine Jonathan Exequiel Vergara four times, stopping the visitor in Round Four.