Boxing

Joshua vs Pulev: Florian Marku forced to settle for a draw with Jamie Stewart

Florian Marku vented his frustration after he was forced to settle for a draw, despite flooring Jamie Stewart in the second round at The SSE Arena in Wembley.

The London-based Albanian has been calling for a welterweight clash with Conor Benn, but endured the first blemish on his eight-fight record after referee Marcus McDonnell scored it a 76-76 draw.

Making an aggressive start, Marku had unloaded big hooks from the opening bell, and a crunching body shot sent Stewart to his knees in the second round.

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But Stewart tucked in his elbows, repelling further spiteful shots to the ribs, and responded with stinging jabs.

Marku remained on the front foot as he sent Stewart’s gumshield flying in the closing minutes, although he had not done enough to earn victory from the ring official after the eight-rounder.

In a passionate post-fight interview, Marku told Sky Sports: “Are you joking? Do these judges know boxing?

“One time he hit me clean. I hit him so many times. They are ruining my career. How can this be a draw?”

In the opening fight, Qais Ashfaq put his career back on track with a fourth-round stoppage of Ashley Lane.

The 27-year-old super-bantamweight suffered his first professional loss to Marc Leach in October, but Ashfaq displayed far more aggression as he floored Lane in the first and third rounds before the fight was halted.

Watch Joshua vs Pulev on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Box Office, from 6pm. Book it via your Sky remote or book it online here. Even if you aren’t a Sky TV subscriber you can book and watch it here.

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