Mayer, Bentley and Noakes all shine on Joyce-Zhang undercard

Mikaela Mayer took on late replacement Lucy Wildheart in the evening’s chief support on the undercard for Joe Joyce vs Zhilei Zhang in London. Mayer would fight for the first time at 135lbs having campaigned at super featherweight, previously winning a world title. Wildheart came in for Christina Linardatou, who failed a medical ahead of the weigh-in yesterday. The British based Swede's last high-level bout came against Estelle Mossely all the way back in 2019, Mayer came off her first career defeat to Alycia Baumgardner in October.

The gulf in class was clearly evident in this one, a one sided affair with Mayer in control throughout. Wildheart displayed toughness, bravery and resilience until the final bell, but just never had an answer to the American’s superior boxing ability where she controlled every round. It was always going to be tough ask for Wildheart, who’s face was bloodied as the referee called a close to the 10 round bout.

The scorecards read: 98-92, 100-90 and 98-91 all in favour of Mayer to give her the unanimous-decision win. The judges wide cards perfectly depicted the fight, you would have been hard pushed to score against Mayer throughout. Mayer’s record improves to 18-1 (5 KOs). The former world champion heads straight for Katie Taylor’s lightweight world title, securing a mandatory position with her win this evening, as she goes in search of becoming a two-weight belt holder. Wildheart picked up her second career defeat, moving her record to 10-2 (4 KOs).

The well travelled Kostiantyn Dvbyshchenko came in to test British prospect Moses Itauma at heavyweight over 6 rounds. Itauma started well, dominating the Ukrainian from a southpaw stance. Itauma’s combinations became more precise as the fight went on, having the Ukrainian hurt with a good shot to the body at the start of round 2. From the 3rd it was not much more than a sparring session for Itauma, Dvbyshchenko offering little-to-no danger throughout. Itauma boxed his way to a comfortable unanimous decision, taking the 18-year-old’s record to 3-0 (2 KOs).

Sam Noakes and Karthik Sathish Kumar both put their undefeated records on the line in the lightweight division. On paper it looked like a good fight, 10-0 vs 10-0. Noakes started the quicker man on the front foot, sending Kumar to the canvas with a clean right hand whilst he had his man pinned in the corner at the end of the round. The end was nigh for the Indian, Noakes got straight back to work, stopping him in the 2nd round after the referee stepped in. Noakes previously dropped Kumar in the round in a bit of a mismatch, maintaing a perfect record of now, 11-0 (11 KOs).

The opening televised fight started with Denzel Bentley vs Kieran Smith in the middleweight division. The British title was on the line in a fight that ended swiftly. Bentley landed a right to the head of Smith in the opening round, the referee waiving the count immediately. Bentley gets back to winning ways after losing a decision against Zhanibek Alimkhanuly for the world title last November, his record improves to 18-2-1 (15 KOs). Smith moves to 18-2, picking up a second knockout defeat in the British title fight.