Sunny Edwards set up the prospect of a flyweight world title unification fight for later this year with a unanimous points win over Andres Campos, but it was not an emphatic triumph.
Edwards (20-0, 4 KOs) earned three scores of 117-111 in a fourth defense of his IBF world flyweight title which was closer than expected as Campos was allowed to close the points gap at the AO Arena Wembley in London, England on Saturday.
Edwards controlled Campos with his quick and classy combinations in most of the rounds, but the Chilean boxer enjoyed some success in rounds when Edwards’ workrate dipped and he seemed to switch off.
“I knew it was going to be tough,” Edwards told DAZN. “He came to change his life and I probably had my eye on what’s next. Going backwards no one can touch me. I gave Campos a couple of rounds, but he was tough.”
Croydon, south London-based Edwards, 27, is No 2 in the latest ESPN divisional rankings behind Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez (18-0, 11 KOs), the exciting Texan who is recovering from a broken jaw suffered in his last fight two months ago.
The plan is for Edwards to meet WBO champion Rodriguez at the end of the year and Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn is confident of announcing the fight by the end of this month.
Hearn told DAZN: “It was a good performance, but I had him losing a few rounds. Jess Rod vs. Sunny Edwards is a fantastic fight and I think we will get it done in the next two weeks. You will see him go through the gears against fighters who come to win.
“I guarantee you he [Sunny] will be in a unification fight next.”
Julio Cesar Martinez (20-2, 15 KOs), from Mexico, and Artem Dalakian (22-0, 15 KOs), from Ukraine, are the other champions at 112 pounds, WBC and WBA respectively.
“I want the other belts, I want to secure my legacy,” Edwards said.
Campos (15-1, 4 KOs), 26, who travelled to England unbeaten but unfancied to win his first world title fight, made a confident and industrious start.
Edwards improved in the second round and landed a sweet two-punch combination, a left hook following by a straight right hand, and at the start of the third Campos momentarily staggered backwards.
Edwards does not knock opponents out as regularly as the other champions at flyweight but rather dismantles them with his quick punches and slick movement, as he did against Campos.
Campos was picked off by Edwards’ skillful counter punching in the fifth round and the champion ended the round with a volley of shots to head and body.
But Edwards took another round off in the sixth, which allowed Campos to land a big right hand and other punches. Edwards, who trains in Sheffield, reasserted his authority but failed to seriously threaten Campos in the second half of the fight.
Edwards, whose elder brother Charlie made one defence as WBC flyweight world champion in 2019 and now operates at bantamweight, stood toe-to-toe with Campos for a long exchange in the last round in a fierce end to the fight.
Scotney wins first world title
Ellie Scotney won her first world title in only her seventh professional fight with a unanimous points win over Cherneka Johnson for the IBF junior featherweight belt.
Scotney (7-0, 0 KOs), 25, from Catford in south London, was too busy and landed the cleaner punches for most of the fight to earn scores of 98-92, 98-92 and 97-9-3.
Johnson (15-2, 6 KOs), 28, from Melbourne in Australia, found herself under intense pressure in the sixth round. Johnson was left with blood pouring from a cut by her right eye, caused by a clash of heads, in a difficult sixth round for the champion.
Scotney’s boxing skills and repeated right hands ensured the Englishwoman surged ahead in the latter rounds to end Johnson’s reign in a second title defense.
“There’s a new kid on the block now,” Scotney said. “This was my debut on the world stage and it’s only going to get better.”
Hughes cruises to easy defense
Nina Hughes, a 41-year-old mother of two who became world champion in only her fifth professional fight, made a comfortable first defense of her WBA bantamweight title against Katie Healy.
Hughes (6-0, 2 KOs), 40, from Essex, earned landslide scores of 100-90, 100-90 and 99-91 Healy (6-0, 0 KOs), 25, from Wolverhampton, who stepped in as a late substitute opponent for the injured Shannon Courtney.
IBF bantamweight champion Ebanie Bridges, from Australia, was ringside and is a possible future opponent for Hughes after this unanimous win over fellow Englishwoman Healy.
“It’s the fight I want next and seems the easiest to make,” said Hughes, who was walked to the ring by her son.