Fury and Chisora lay down markers for summer showdown
Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora both laid their markers for a summer showdown after respective victories over Joey Abell and Kevin Johnson.
Fury described latest opponent Joey Abell as his "worst nightmare" in the build-up to their heavyweight contest at London's Copper Box Arena on Saturday, but the Brit gave one of his most exciting ring performances to date with a fourth-round stoppage victory.
Unbeaten Fury survived several nightmarish left-handers in the opening round as Abell caught the Brit cold; having not fought since April last year, rust was clearly evident, although his jab soon settled.
Another hefty left from the American had Fury backing into the ropes early into the second round, although Abell was soon warned for use of his head.
It spurred Fury on who, after cheekily taking aim as a break was called, floored Abell with a right hander. Abell recovered, but only just. Another frightening left from Fury had Abell down for a second time, but the bell came to his opponent's aid.
Abell countered and was still landing some big blows, but whatever he had Fury just shook off. Two more knockdowns in the fourth round, and Fury had completed his marker to Chisora.
Meanwhile, Chisora completed a unanimous decision victory over Kevin Johnson to successfully defend his WBO and WBA international heavyweight belts.
Chisora landed enough punches to edge the opening round, before springing into action early in the second. A large right had the crowd gasping as Chisora continued to close in on Johnson.
Chisora's tactic was clear; try and break Johnson down in proximity. Plenty of scoring shots landed but the American stood firm, if a little shaken up. By the end of round three, Chisora looked to be laying down his credentials for a world title shot, let alone an eliminator with Fury.
A quick jab from Johnson opened the fourth, but Chisora responded with a brilliant left-right followed by a lunging right. Despite the Brit being firmly on top, Johnson refused to yield, but Chisora very nearly had his man late in the fourth with a barrage of tight, thumping combos.
At the start of the fifth came the shot of the fight - arguably of the night - as Chisora landed a right hand over the top which had Johnson on the canvas. Further fireworks followed as Johnson somehow managed to absorb the punishment. The bell passed, as did the sixth and seventh rounds - Chisora again doing enough to stay on top but struggling to break down Johnson's defence.
Chisora worked tirelessly to take the eighth but Johnson found respite in the ninth, catching the champion with a stinging right to clinch the round. Chisora moved further ahead with the tenth and landed two heavy efforts in an otherwise tight 11th.
Both went great guns in the final round - with Johnson clearly needing a stoppage - but both refused to surrender. Like everyone else before him, Chisora failed to stop Johnson - but he succeeded in setting up a potentially show-stopping summer.
Earlier on Saturday, Tyson's younger cousin Hughie Fury extended his own unbeaten record to 13-0 with a resounding second round stoppage of heavyweight Matthew Greer. Fury found the groove with his jab early but Greer responded in the second with a warning to Fury's chin. The American's flurry ended as quickly as it started though as Fury struck with a powerful left to the body; the Stratford crowd roundly cheered the first knockdown of the night.
Seconds later, Greer was on his knees again after another Fury powerhouse body shot. Fury scored with a third knockdown and Greer's towel was thrown in; the 19-year-old is fast showing signs of matching his elder namesake.
Frank Buglioni gave a sharp performance in the first defence of his WBO European super-middleweight title, stopping Gaetano Nespro in the fifth round. Known as 'Wise Guy', Buglioni dominated the opener much to the delight of the noisy East London crowd. Nespro was downed in the fourth with a chopping right from the champion, who then caught him again with a devastating left hook. Somehow, Nespro survived the count but moments late Buglioni finished the job in style.
Barry 'Super' Skeete is the new holder of the WBA Intercontinental welterweight belt after a unanimous decision victory over Christopher Sibere. While not at his scintillating best, Skeete was professional enough throughout the 12-round bout and did enough to impress the judges and the ringside George Groves.
Steve Collins Jr, son for former world super-middleweight champion Stephen Collins, ended his four-round cruiserweight contest in a 38-38 points draw with Tommy Gifford. Collins Jr appeared to suffer a shoulder injury midway through the bout, allowing Gifford to respond to early punishment.
Light-welterweight Thomas Stalker, who captained Team GB at the London 2012 Olympic Games, continued his unbeaten start as a professional with a 60-53 points win over Dan Carr. Stalker looked impressive throughout the opening three rounds of the contest, connecting with several hard body shots which fully deserved a sixth victory from six.
Another promising fighter to improve his unbeaten start to life as a professional was Georgie Kean, who impressed throughout his four-round 40-36 welterweight win over Dee Mitchell.
Lewis Pettitt outclassed Slovakian opponent Elemir Rafael with a 60-53 points victory in their super-bantamweight bout while Michael Grant edged a close light-welterweight fight against previously undefeated Billy Morgan with a 58-57 points win.