Abass Baraou bounced back in a big way from his lone defeat.
The Berlin-bred junior middleweight picked up the earliest win of his pro career, forcing a first-round stoppage of Jay Spencer. A series of body shots and straight right hands upstairs produced the bout’s lone knockdown, with Spencer ruled unable to continue at 2:13 of round one.
Baraou has not fought since a disputed twelve-round, split decision defeat to veteran contender Jack Culcay last August. The 26-year-old junior middleweight shook off the loss as he came in well-equipped for battle with Spencer, a Ghanaian boxer now based out of Dusseldorf.
What shaped up to be a competitive affair quickly took a wrong turn for Spencer, who was clipped with a body shot and right hand. An ensuing liver shot by Baraou and clean right hand to the chin prompted Spencer to turn away and eventually take a knee in the corner. An eight-count was issued, most of which came with Spencer (11-3, 7KOS) on his feet though clearly unfit to continue at which point the contest was halted.
Baraou improves to 10-1 (7KOs) with the win, having never before scored a first-round knockout prior to Friday.
John Hedges remains perfect as a pro, though still in search of his first knockout.
The 19-year-old southpaw from Takeley, Essex, England easily outboxed Croatia’s Frane Radnic over six rounds. All three judges scored the contest 60-54 in favor of Hedges, who fought outside of England for the first time in his young career.
Radnic (11-26, 10KOs) was not expected to provide any more than forcing Hedges to go rounds. The 37-year-old from Podstrana, Croatia has reached the survival mode of his career, having now lost 26 straight after jumping out to an 11-0 career start. Hedges had his chances to close the show, dialing up the pressure in round four only to settle behind his right jab in boxing his way to his third pro victory. Hedges was fighting his first six-rounder, having gone the four-round distance in his first two pro bouts.
Headlining the five-fight DAZN show, Croatia’s 2016 Olympic Bronze medalist and current heavyweight contender Filip Hrgovic (12-0, 10KOs) faces Montenegro’s Marko Radonjic (22-0, 22KOs) in a scheduled ten-round heavyweight bout.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox