Smith’s popular protege Clarke wins pro debut with third-round stoppage

Middleweight Stephen Clarke, backed by 1,000 fans who had bought tickets from him, made a successful professional debut against Vasif Mamedov at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool. 

Clarke, who is trained by former pro and popular Liverpudlian Stephen Smith, made the best possible start to life as a professional with a third-round stoppage.

“Ste” began the opener confidently behind the jab, which was pushing Mamedov backwards with velocity and weight behind it. Clarke, once he found his range, was efficient with his jab and right hand placement, used with good variety to find ways around the high guard and to the body.

Clarke increased the pace in the second round. He took the action to Mamedov and was happy to oblige in allowing Clarke to tee off unanswered punches and happy to spoil the work of the debutant by smothering the Liverpudlian on the inside.

Clarke continued to press the action in the third, varying his jab efficiently from head to body. 

An exchange in the middle of the round forced Memedov to walk away and turn his back. Clarke capitalised and pounced, with a chopping right hook and punches to the body.

Memedov, with his back turned, was saved by referee Mark Lyson, who believed Mamedov was in no position to continue. The official time of stoppage was 1-53.