Charlie Edwards (15-1, 6 KO) landed an endless stream of right hands, left hands—and in the eighth round, both at the same time—throughout his 12-round shutout victory over Angel Moreno (19-3-2, 6 KO) on Saturday at the Copper Box Arena in London.
“I think it was about levels,” Edwards said in the ring following the first title defense of his WBC flyweight championship. “[Moreno] is a tough fighter. I knew he was going to be there until the end. But it was a punch perfect, clinical boxing performance.”
Three scores of 120-107, accounting for one knockdown, made up the decision win for Edwards. It was the Englishman’s first appearance since a stunning performance over world champion Cristofer Rosales at the end of last year.
Edwards, 26, did his best to outdo himself, putting forth every punch in his arsenal. Moreno, a former training partner, was left repeatedly off balance—but not just from the defending champion’s offense. The Spaniard allowed the weight of his own punches to fling him around the ring—nearly flying out of his boots from winging, hopeless left hooks.
The challenger’s modus operandi was clear from the opening bell. The 35-year-old Moreno drove forward with his head down and hands low. So low to the ground, Edwards needed to curl uppercuts from his toes to find Moreno’s chin.
In front of his backyard fans, London’s own Edwards piled up more points over the next two rounds. Moreno must have anticipated having faster hands than the defending champion because he continually waded into close quarters and looked to beat Edwards to the punch only to be stopped in his tracks from a piston jab or smashed in the face and ears with right and left hand blows.
The champion’s hands really came together in Round 4. Moreno could only smile, pretending to be unbothered by crisp one-twos and right crosses from Edwards.
In the fifth, Moreno continued looking for a one-punch eraser, loading up on predictable combinations—interchanging wild hooks from each hand. Edwards remained collected and smoothly navigated the canvas away from his bull rushing opponent, prodding and stippling his opponent with jabs and straights.
By the seventh period, Edwards found any crevice in his crouching foe’s approach to slice open with punches: left hooks followed by slashing right uppercuts. Moreno’s pressure never wavered but he hardly landed a punch. Toward the end of the stanza, the Spaniard finally got Edwards to the ropes but body digs never made it past the champ’s tucked elbows. With hardly any space between the two, Edwards still managed to inflict a handful of two-inch uppercuts.
An official knockdown was called in Round 8. A straight right hand buzzed across the chin of Moreno and while he didn’t immediately go down, the shot threw him off balance, spilling over onto the seat of his pants. But the highlight of these three minutes was Edwards showing off that patented Pacquiao double pompyang punch, a clear testament to how wide the disparity in talent was between him and his challenger.
Heading into the ninth round, a stoppage seemed like the only appropriate conclusion. Edwards walked backwards along the ropes and pitched a right hand that stung Moreno, leaving him with a slack jaw. The champion later straightened out a left hand across his challenger’s line of vision and slapped a right hand across his ribs.
Over the next two rounds, Moreno still had a grin on his face, even enjoying the punishment.
Edwards did what he could to close the show in the eleventh period. Audible grunts accompanied the Londoner’s punches. And in the twelfth he finally gave into Moreno’s whims, barreling into him, taking the action to the ropes to scrap it out in front of an appreciative crowd.
The fighters embraced after the bell. Then Edwards expressed that a unification bout was the only thing on his mind, calling out Andrew Shelby and Kal Yafai by name.
“I want to build a legacy,” Edwards said post-fight on DAZN. “Whoever’s next, I’m ready. I want to unify. I’m obsessed with this game.”
— Sky Sports Boxing (@SkySportsBoxing) March 23, 2019
Promotional guru Eddie Hearn took the mic next.
“I’d like to see another belt around his waist,” Hearn said. “There’s some great champions. Like he said, he wants to create a legacy. To do that you have to unify and try to become undisputed champion.”
Returning from an early title fight loss in 2016 to win seven consecutive fights, Edwards’ mettle between the ropes have brought him much fanfare. His sharp fighting skills only compliment the Englishman’s reputation.
There must be something liberating about being undone so early. Reaching a nadir just nine fights into his career, like Edwards was against John Riel Casimero three years ago, now makes him as eager as anybody to jump into unification matches.
With no loss column to protect, no pride to check, a world of potential is Edwards’ to explore and take advantage of.