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Marcus Morrison and Serhiy Demchenko score big knockout victories in Rome | Sporting News

Marcus Morrison claimed vacant WBC International Silver middleweight title against Emanuele Blandamura via a ninth-round TKO at the Stadio Nicola Pietrangeli in Rome, Italy on Thursday evening in the main event streamed on DAZN.

Morrison (21-3, 15 KOs) started off fast, using his jab well and controlling the center of the ring. Blandamura (29-4, 5 KOs) a former two-time EBU European and WBC International silver middleweight champion was unable to find success with the jab but did score when he lunged in with hooks to the body. Morrison applied pressure well in the first round and sent the 39-year-old Italian to the floor, but it was ruled as a push.

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Both men complained to the ref about blows to the back of the head throughout the fight, but there was no action taken by the referee. Morrison continued to control the tempo of the bout with his movement and jab in the second round but with a wild swing from Morrison, Blandamura was able to counter and send Morrison to the ropes. The tempo continued in the third as both men traded blows, with the 26-year-old Brit landed a left hook to the chin that hurt Blandamura. After four rounds Blandamura was surprisingly up on two of the judges’ scorecards which seemed to spur Morrison on, and he caught Blandamura with a hard right hook in the fifth. Blandamura started to get a grip on the fight in the seventh round, landing the cleaner of the two as Morrison looked to be running on fumes.

As the fight entered the ninth round, Morrison was in need of a knockout and went searching for one but got caught with a barrage of punches. With 29 seconds left in the round Morrison threw everything he had in a big right hand that dropped Blandamura to the canvas. Although he would rise, the referee saw that the Italian was in terrible shape and called off the bout. Blandamura immediately sank to the canvas again and was in need of medical attention. After being checked over by the on-hand medics, Blandamura embraced Morrison in the center of the ring.

Serhiy Demchenko stops Hakim Zoulikha in the seventh round to claim the vacant EBU European light heavyweight title.

In a rematch to their March 2017 fight where Serhiy Demchenko was victorious over Hakim Zoulikha via a 5th round technical decision, Demchenko (22-14-1, 15 KOs) put an exclamation point on the rivalry when he stopped Zoulikha in the 7th round to reclaim the EBU European light heavyweight title.

Both men traded blows from the opening bell and it was clear that Zoulikha (26-11, 11 KOs) still wasn’t happy about how the last fight ended. A clash of heads cut Demchenko on the forehead in the third round. Zoulikha continued to fire hook after hook to the body while Demchenko took his time to land with his heavy hands. A cut above Demchenko’s right eye nearly put a halt to the bout but, fortunately, the 39-year-old was able to continue and fight fans wouldn’t have to be treated to another technical decision. Demchenko would later catch the French fighter with a beautifully timed counter right hand that sent Zoulikha to the canvas. With Demchenko unable to finish the job, Zoulikha managed to escape the round. As the fight entered the seventh Demchenko upped his work rate and landed a right hand over the top which stunned Zoulikha before unloading power shots to the head. With Zoulikha not answering back the referee stepped in to end the fight.

Also on the card

Tommy McCarthy def. Francesco Cataldo; CruiserweightsValentino Manfredonia def. Sokol Arsic; Light heavyweightsEmiliano Marsili def. Brayan Mairena; LightweightsAlen Babic def. Lazar Stojanovic; HeavyweightsSebastian Mendizabal def. Sebastijan Saciri; Super lightweightsMirko Natalizi def. Antonio Gomez; Super welterweightsVincenzo Bevilacqua def. Novak Radulovic; Super welterweights

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