Fabio Wardley made short work of Richard Lartey, as he flattened him with a roundhouse right hand in the second round of their scheduled heavyweight ten-rounder at Wembley.
Lartey was knocked out by Daniel Dubois in the fourth round of a slugfest at the same venue in April last year and returned to London last month to lose a points decision to Nathan Gorman, but after getting his range in the opening round, Wardley took him out with a single shot in the second.
The shot came out of the blue. Lartey had put Wardley under some pressure in the first round and boxed behind the jab for the first minute of the second, but then stepped forward with a left hook and a right that caught Lartey on the temple and dropped him like a stone. It was soon clear that Lartey was hurt and referee Victor Loughlin waved it off as the count reached five at 1:22 of the round. Lartey was back on his feet after receiving oxygen from ringside paramedics.
It extended Wardley’s unbeaten record to ten. He already holds the English title, but he will hope to step up to British level if the winner of next weekend’s Daniel Dubois-Joe Joyce triple title fight gives up the belt.
“That finish, in particular, answered a few questions,” Wardley said. “I hope Lartey is OK and healthy, it is not nice to see any fighter in that kind of shape afterwards, but that knockout answer if I had single punch power and I can really hang with those big boys. I can. I know a lot of my stoppages in the past have been combinations, but I proved there that once I sit down and put a big shot in I can get you out of there all the same.
“I’m moving at a good pace, Ten fights in, decent opposition. Richard Lartey was a good test on paper in terms of his record and I passed that pretty easily. But I don’t want to get too carried away with myself. I still need to build, there are still things I need to learn. I haven’t got into the second half of a fight, I haven’t got into a right war. There are still a few boxes to tick off before we really step up.”