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Bowen stops McCorry in 9th to retain British title

Sam Bowen took control in the second half of the fight and stopped Jordan McCorry in the ninth round Saturday in the first defense of his British junior lightweight title.

The fight took place at the Morningside Arena in Leicester, England, and was streamed live on ESPN+ in the U.S.

Bowen (15-0, 11 KOs), who won his title with an eighth-round stoppage win over Maxi Hughes nearly a year ago, overwhelmed McCorry (17-5-1, 4 KOs) early in the ninth with a series of power shots to the head and went on to earn his third consecutive knockout victory.

"He was a little bit awkward," said Bowen, who is ranked No. 9 by the WBO. "I just had to stick to the boxing. He tried to draw me in, but I just ignored it.

"I wasn't blowing or tired. I could have gone 12 rounds. I was winning the rounds."

McCorry, a 28-year-old from Glasgow, Scotland, who was a late substitute opponent, made things difficult for the first three rounds and was stubbornly aggressive throughout. Bowen, 26, from Leicestershire, was twice warned about shots to the back of the head in the opening round, which McCorry finished strong.

McCorry kept a high punch rate in the second round, and it was not until the final minute of the round that Bowen managed to get some shots off himself, landing some hard right hands.

McCorry launched an attack early in the third round, catching Bowen with a sweeping right to the jaw as the champion struggled to stamp his authority on the fight.

Then, in the fourth round, Bowen found his stride, and McCorry did well to absorb a few shuddering left hands in one of the best rounds of the fight for the champion.

Bowen settled behind his jab in the fifth round before targeting the body with good effect in the sixth. McCorry's hands dropped after he absorbed several body shots, and he was docked a point for ducking too low. But McCorry came storming back later in an entertaining sixth round.

It was a big round for Bowen, who went into the second half of the fight with a points lead. That margin increased when McCorry was docked another point in the seventh round as Bowen became more successful with his punches.

McCorry's knees buckled early in the ninth, and he was stopped moments later when Bowen unloaded a series of power shots to the head.

Gorman adds Johnson to résumé

Also Saturday, British heavyweight prospect Nathan Gorman overcame what is becoming the obligatory Kevin Johnson test and won every round in a 10-round contest.

All three judges scored the bout 100-90 for Gorman.

Johnson (34-13-1, 18 KOs), 39, from Georgia, was once a serious contender himself. He went the distance against Vitali Klitschko in a shot at the WBC world title in 2009 and did the same against former world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in 2012. He also faced current world heavyweight titleholder Anthony Joshua four years ago, but was knocked out in two rounds.

But recently, Johnson has become an in-demand journeyman, turning up in rings in England, the U.S., Germany, Croatia and Bulgaria in the past two years.

Johnson has kept busy -- this was his fifth defeat in seven fights since March 2018 -- but showed little ambition against Gorman (16-0, 11 KOs), who was allowed to pick his punches in comfort.

Gorman, 22, a cousin of Fury (who was ringside), has fast hands and caught Johnson with a flurry of punches in the fourth round. It was one-way traffic, but Johnson was able to avoid heavy punishment and heard the final bell.

Gorman, who is trained by former two-time world champion Ricky Hatton in Manchester, is being linked to a fight against fellow unbeaten Brit Daniel Dubois (10-0, 9 KOs). However, on Friday, Dubois received news he had been ordered to fight Joe Joyce (8-0, 8 KOs) for the British heavyweight title. Dubois has won all but one of his fights by knockout, with the lone exception being a decision victory over Johnson last year.

• After being dropped twice in Rounds 1 and 2 and wobbled at various moments later in the fight, Sam Maxwell (11-0, 9 KOs) unloaded a perfect right to the jaw stop France's Sabri Sediri (10-1-1, 5 KOs) in a dramatic turnaround in the 10th round of a super lightweight contest.

"I think he switched off a bit, and I took my chance," said Maxwell, from Liverpool, England. "I knew it was close. I knew I needed a big last round."