McGinnis Leads The Charge As Scots Win The Battle Of Airdrie In Knockout Style.

McGinnis Leads The Charge As Scots Win The Battle Of Airdrie In Knockout Style.

Report by Gianluca Di Caro  and Photographs courtesy of Brian Hayes

Airdrie is reputed to be the site of the battle of Aerderyth in 577 A.D. when Aidan, king of Scots, is said to have been defeated in a great battle with King Roderick of Strathclyde. Well on Saturday night there was another great battle that took place just a short distance from the ancient battlefield, this time in the ring as Scotland took on Latvia in a special International event on the Gerard Welsh’s On The Ropes promotions latest offering at the Stanrigg Memorial Hall.

Opening contest of the evening see Barrie McRorie take on Igors Dubovs in a four rounder. Right from the off McRorie started working the body of his awkward opponent, Dubovs though is as tough as he is unorthodox, style wise, and seemed happy to absorb those that penetrated his guard, before countering with a hook or straight right.

As the round progressed McRorie was finding more and more gaps opening up in Dubovs’ defence and clinically punished the Latvian with combinations to body and head.

As the fight entered the final minute McRorie dummied a shot to the head, Dubovs raised his guard and the savvy Scot let rip with a cracking shot to the body to send Dubovs to the deck. As referee Liam Bonner made the count the Latvian tried desperately to rise in time but just couldn’t leaving the referee no option but to wave the fight off on the two minute six second mark.

Next up was Gary Wilson versus Dmitrijs Ovsjannikovs in a six rounder. As with the previous fight the local fighter Wilson went in hard and fast specifically targeting the body, and like his compatriot Ovsjannikovs utilised his tight defence to minimise the effectiveness of the shots.

About a minute in Wilson started utilising his jab to force the Latvian to raise his guard, which had the desired effect of leaving a slight opening to the body, which Wilson just wasn’t going to ignore, letting rip with a massive shot that was just so sweet and pin point perfect.

The durable Latvian dropped to the canvas and clearly in distress, desperately gasping for breath eventually Ovsjannikovs tried to rise to his feet, but he left it too long and only started to rise on the count of eight, which left referee no option but to wave this contest off in the first round too, this time though on just one minute and twenty two seconds.

Two fights down in quick succession, so let’s get onto the third, another six rounder, this time between Paddy Reilly and Aleksejs Nikitenko

Reilly was out in a flash as the bell opened the proceedings, the Scotsman striding across the ring in just a few steps before letting rip with a big right hand. Nikitenko reeled backward but then, as Reilly lined up another big shot, the Latvian stepped to the side and threw a big shot of his own that just failed to meet its target and so began an entertaining interlude as the Latvian began dancing around the ring in an effort to avoid further big shots landing.

Reilly though began to cut off the ring, corralling the Latvian backwards towards his own corner before proceeding to pepper the Latvian’s body with big shots. About half way through the round Reilly landed a cracker to Nikitenko’s lower rib and the Latvian dropped to the canvas like the proverbial sack of potatoes.

Almost as one the crowd were on their feet cheering their man, as they thought it was all over, but unlike in ‘66 it wasn’t as Nikitenko is made of tougher stuff and managed to get to his feet just in time to beat the count.

On the restart Reilly went at it full pelt, Nikitenko tightened his defence and absorbed the punishment, even managing to land the odd counter shot occasionally, then just as the final bell of the round literally tolled the Scot landed another massive shot to send the tough Latvian down a second time.

Nikitenko made it to back to his corner but was in clear distress, then seconds later he dropped to his knees and seemed close to throwing up, this concerned his corner so much that they caught Referee Liam Bonner’s attention and retired their man in the corner.

Fourth bout of the night, see Ben McGivern face Latvia’s Eduards Gerasimovs in a six rounder. McGivern swept across the ring like a force ten gale and just let rip with huge rights and lefts, Gerasimovs tightened his defence in an attempt to withstand the vicious assault, but when that just wasn’t holding back the banzai Scot, changed tactics and bravely went toe to toe, which instead of having the desired effect just played into McGivern’s hands – literally – and the Scot just began punishing the Latvian with power shots to body and head.

About midway through the round the continual assault had the desired effect and down went Gerasimovs. Somehow Gerasimovs managed to beat the count, but as soon as the fight was restarted he must have regretted it as McGivern just went back on the attack.

As the Round entered the final minute McGivern stepped it up a gear and basically backed Gerasimovs onto the ropes and began targeting the body of the Latvian again, and once more landed a seriously big body shot to send the Gerasimovs down for a second time.

Once again the tough Latvian managed to beat the count, and once again McGivern went on the attack until the bell signalled the end of the first.

McGivern started off the second the way he ended the first, full on attack, Gerasimovs was holding his own for the first twenty seconds or so, even though he was backed on to the ropes, but then left the smallest of openings and McGivern was in like a flash switching from left-rights to the head to slipping in a solid body shot that sent Gerasimovs down for a third time, this time though he wasn’t able to rise in time, leaving Referee Liam Bonner no option but to wave the fight off on the twenty nine second mark of the second round.

The fifth and final contest of the night pitted Kick Boxing World Champion Jamie “Ginnie” McGinnis in his second pro boxing bout against Vladislavs Davidaitis in a four rounder.

McGinnis came out hard and fast but just as he got in range it was Davidaitis that let rip first with a big Right before initially bossing the proceedings. McGinnis adjusted his game plan and did a little testing recce before lighting the blue touch paper to set off the fireworks in spectacular style, both lads were plain sensational throughout the first, so much so I couldn’t split them, score wise.

More of the same in the second, McGinnis and Davidaitis vying for centre ring, each landing some beautiful shots, but as the Round progressed McGinnis began to target Davidaitis body so much so that around the midway mark he sent the Latvian to the canvas with a pinpoint perfect shot to the lower rib.

Davidaitis made the count but was a little more defensive minded, which actually played into McGinnis’ hands, literally, and the canny Scot backed the Latvian onto the ropes and let rip with double handed combinations, Davidaitis could only counter on occasions, but that was enough to see him make it to the bell and the opportunity to get some advice from his coach.

Right from the start of the third McGinnis went on the attack and again backed Davidaitis onto the ropes and began another double-handed assault, Davidaitis once again resorted to absorbing the punishment and countering when an opportunity arose.

Davidaitis managed to spin away and then use his jab to keep the ever forward coming Scot at bay, then just on the minute mark McGinnis threw a sensational right to the chin that sent Davidaitis crashing to the canvas, his head going under the ropes and over the ring edge, to all ringside without doubt it looked like a definite knockout, and probably a bad one so nobody was surprised when referee Liam Bonner waved the fight off on the one minute and one second mark of the third, but just as he did the seriously tough Latvian stirred, raised his head and started to rise whilst complaining that he was OK and the fight shouldn’t have been stopped.

Have to say at this point, I thought it was a big knockout, not just because of the way Davidaitis landed but also the way he went down, personally I am so pleased to see a referee taking such due care about the safety of the fighter, as on way too many occasions recently there have been some nasty injuries come about because a referee has let a fight go on longer than it should.

All in all, even though no fight went the distance, it was a still an excellent, highly entertaining night of boxing, one I am sure the fans enjoyed as much as I did.

Flying Scotsmen McGivern, Wilson, McRorie and Reilly Score Big Wins In Paisley.

Photo: Moments before McGivern drops Richardson with powerful combination.

Flying Scotsmen McGivern, Wilson, McRorie and Reilly Score Big Wins In Paisley.
Report: Gianluca Di Caro – Photo Courtesy of On The Ropes TV

On Saturday evening, at the On-X Centre in Paisley, the latest offering from Gerard Boyle-Welsh and his On The Ropes team took place. For those that have yet to attend an On The Ropes promoted event, this may be small hall boxing, but believe me the production quality of their events easily equals, if not betters, many of the larger Arena shows from far better known promoters.

It’s not often you see full blown light show, DJs, big screens, stunning promotional girls, full in house broadcast team not just filming the fights but also post fight interviews at small hall shows.

OK, enough about the production let’s get to the point of the report – The fights themselves.

First fight of the night see Coatbridge’s Ben McGivern against debuting Malcolm Richardson from Blackpool.

Right from the off this bout had the hallmark of a classic small hall fight written all over it. Both lads got straight down to business, attacking from all angles in some style. However around the first minute or so of the round local lad McGivern landed a massive shot to the body. Have to admit, the shot was so venomous I was mightily surprised, no that should be impressed, that Richardson made the count.

On the restart McGivern didn’t need the partisan fans in attendance or his esteemed corner man on the night, three time World Champion Lee McAllister, encouraging him to get back in hard and fast, he just did, landing further big shots to back his not yet fully recovered opponent on to the ropes, before letting rip with yet another massive right to the body with much the same effect as the first, Richardson valiantly tried to rise as the count reached its conclusion, but just failed to do so – Referee Liam Bonner waved the bout off and declared McGivern the victor on the one minute and twenty eight second of round one.

Next up was Perth’s Gary Wilson against debuting James Calveley from Liverpool.

To an outside observer this may have looked a bit of a mismatch, as Wilson towered over Calveley by a good six inches or so, but fight wise it was anything but.

First round see the protagonists locked in a gladiatorial battle that wouldn’t have been out of place at the Colosseum in Rome all those years ago – seriously was a cracking round that swung one way and then the other as they battled it out in centre ring.

Initially it was more of the same in the second that was until Wilson landed a peach of a shot to send the plucky Scouser down.

Calveley made the count easily but Wilson had no intention of letting his opponent off that easily and kept the pressure up with some nice combinations culminating in another huge right to send Calveley down again.

Calveley just about made it to his feet as the count reached eight, but on rising was very, very unsteady on his feet, so much so that referee Liam Bonner had no option but to stop the contest on the one minute fifty one second mark of the second round.

The third contest of the evening see Bellshill’s Barrie McRorie take on tough and very awkward Latvian Vladislavs Davidaitis.

The round started quite sedately with both men sussing the other out for the first minute or so, then it was all action to the final bell, as the two warriors let rip from every conceivable angle.

Round two was more of the same although to be fair both protagonists had settled into a slightly more realistic pace and were landing far better shots than in the first.

Round three see Davidaitis getting more and more success, don’t get me wrong McRorie was landing some real tasty shots of his own, but have to say that was the Latvians round.

The fourth and final round was a cracker, as in the previous rounds the two lads went at it hammer and tongs throughout, however the pace had taken its toll on Davidaitis and the final minute he was fighting his heart out just to survive the continual onslaught from the fired up Scotsman.

After four scintillating rounds Referee Liam Bonners scorecard showed McRorie victorious by a 39-37 points score line.

So onto the final bout of the night, which featured Bellshill’s Paddy Reilly against Vadims Konstantinovs.

Konstantinovs’ fight style is similar to fellow Latvian Vladislavs Davidaitis, as such Reilly had his hands full, albeit right from the opening bell, as unlike in the previous fight both protagonists had only one thought in the mind – attack, attack, attack.

It was a full on war, both lads were intent on throwing as many big punches as possible, at the expense of their defences I should add, which ultimately led to Konstantinovs being caught by a cracking shot, that sent him to the canvas around the end of the first minute.

The Latvian made a right mess of judging when to rise, whilst on one knee he kept looking between the referee and his corner as he awaited the signal, which he got back a fraction too late, rising only as referee Liam Bonner actually counted and signalled the eighth time, not just before.

Not only was Konstantinovs distraught when the referee signalled fight over but so was Reilly who was fired up and wanted the fight to carry on, well he’s a fighter and he wanted to fight so can understand that. Actual time of stoppage was one minute and forty-nine seconds of the first round.

What a great night, OK three of the four fights were over well inside the distance, but that can’t take away from the performances of the fighters or as I mentioned at the start, the quality of the promotion itself, I for one can’t wait for the next.