Undefeated Rising Star Errol Spence Jr. Scores Sensational Sixth-Round Knockout Over Leonard Bundu
Errol Spence Jr. of Desoto, TX faced Italy's Leonard Bundu in a 12-round IBF welterweight title eliminator for a shot to fight against current champion Kell Brook. Bundu entered the fight with a record of 33-1-2, with his lone loss coming to Keith "One Time" Thurman in 2014. Spence entered the bout as the #2 rated contender in the division by the IBF but it was no easy task finding an opponent for the feared prospect. Bundu, rated #6 by the organization prior to the bout, was thrust into this position as the fighters ranked ahead of him declined the fight against Spence Jr. Konstantin Ponomarev, Jeff Horn, Lamont Peterson and Sammy Vasquez were all rated ahead of Bundu.
It was the veteran Bundu applying pressure in round 1 as he had Spence moving on his back foot. Bundu also switched between southpaw and orthodox stances in the round but it did not result in him having much success on offense as both fighters used the opening round as a feel-out round. In round 2, Spence was content to work off his jab, shooting it to both to the head and body of the savvy veteran. He also began to land right hooks to the body of Bundu. Bundu was still the one applying forward pressure for the most part but Spence kept him at range with his jab. Round 4 saw Spence increasing his work rate and throwing more power shots after establishing his jab in the first three rounds. He landed a left uppercut as the two were in close quarters that seemed to make Bundu rethink his strategy of constant forward pressure. Bundu found some success in the latter portion of round 5 as he unleashed a couple of flurries on Spence. Bundu switched back and forth between stances and it seemed to fluster Spence Jr. The final moments of round 5 must have agitated Spence Jr. as he upped his pace and pressure in round 6. Bundu now found his back against the ropes on several occasions as Spence unleashed hooks to the body. Spence was able to land his most-telling blows of the fight in this round, a round that would bring a climactic finish to the bout. The beginning of the end came when Spence caught Bundu with a left uppercut that sent him to the ground although it was not counted as a knockdown by referee Johnny Callas. Spence Jr. made sure to make the next knockdown count as he unleashed a short left uppercut followed by a right hook that put Bundu out for the count.
In his post-fight interview, Spence was asked about the potential title bout with Kell Brook of the United Kingdom, who is slated to face knockout artist Gennady Golovkin in September. He responded, "C'mon. He can drop out of the GGG fight and fight me right now. If he's not going to fight me, then he needs to vacate and I'll fight somebody else. But I definitely want a title shot by early next year". In the victory Spence was able to accomplish what no other opponent including current WBA super champion Keith Thurman has been able to do, knock Bundu out. Spence improves his record to 21-0, 18 KOs and is now the #1 contender for the IBF welterweight title. The unknown at the moment is whether or not he will be facing Kell Brook. Many expect Brook to vacate his title after moving up two divisions for his upcoming bout against GGG.