Gallagher Beats Bazo To Secure PBC Crown in Liverpool

Gallagher Beats Bazo To Secure PBC Crown in Liverpool

Report: Gianluca Di Caro – Photographs courtesy of Kirsty Radcliffe

 

There was a true feast of boxing action on offer Saturday night, both live and on TV, Billy Joe Saunders defending his WBO Crown in London, Saul Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin battling it out from supremacy of the Middleweight ranks is Las Vegas, yet still the Merseyside boxing fans turned out in force to support one of their own, Dayle Gallagher, as he fought for his first Championship, at the Jubilee Sports Bank in Liverpool.

Unusually instead of being the final contest of the evening, Liverpool’s unbeaten Dayle Gallagher clash with the Czech Republic’s Daniel Bazo for the Professional Boxing Council (PBC) International Silver Welterweight title, was the opening pro bout.

Gallagher is fast becoming one of the top prospects in the welterweight division, on Saturday night he proved just why he is becoming one of the most talked about young fighter from the City, as throughout the battle with Bazo he showed a maturity that belied his young age, keeping a cool head and sticking to his game plan against the seriously tough and awkward Czech fighter.

Round one see both lads taking a mature and professional approach to the proceedings, tentatively testing the other out, don’t get me wrong when I say testing I don’t mean tippy-tappy stuff, but them both taking their time and picking their shots.

Round two was a totally different affair, which see both lads aggressively attacking, yet in a controlled manner, it was a all action and a great round for the fans of pugilistic arts.

More of the same in the third, and to a degree the fourth, however Gallagher’s shots were carrying more power than in the earlier rounds, Bazo definitely is no walk over and the Czech lad countered in impressive manner throughout.

As we entered the second half of the contest Bazo stepped up the pace, yet Gallagher kept his head and stuck to his game plan rigidly and patiently kept his cool, picking his shots for maximum effect.

In the sixth Bazo again tried to force Gallagher to up the pace, but the savvy Scouse lad kept his cool and countered the hard charging Czech impressively.

More of the same in the seventh BUT the eighth was fought at a scintillating pace – changing the feel of the bout from a battle to an all out war- phenomenal round!!!!

After eight very, very close fought rounds referee Christopher Kelly scorecard rightly read 79-77 in favour of Liverpool’s own Dayle Gallagher – after which PBC’s head honcho Russell Jaques presented the beautiful PBC belt.

Second pro bout see local lad Johnny McConville against Stockport’s Will Cairns in a four round Middleweight contest

Wow, what can I say these two warriors went to war right from the off, I couldn’t have kept count of the big shots thrown by both protagonists in the first if I wanted to, there were just so many, and even more impressively the amount that landed, from both protagonists.

Initially it was hard to split the pair on who had thrown more or the most powerful but a winner for that particular round became apparent in the final minute as McConville landed a pin point perfect body-shot to send Cairns down. The Stockport lad is clearly made of sterner stuff, as not only made the count but went on the attack for the final seconds of the round.

As in the first, Round two was all action with both lads dishing out vicious power shots to body and head throughout – what a round, you just couldn’t take your eyes of the action for a single second.

It hardly seems conceivable but both lads kicked up the pace even more in the third, the action was frenetic, that was until around the halfway mark when again McConville landed another sensationally powerful body shot – plaudits to Cairns as not only did he make the count but, as before, instead of covering up for the inevitable hard and fast attack by McConville turned the tables and went on a full force frontal attack the final minute or so. Have to say that round was pure pugilistic heaven to watch as both lads determinedly fought to retain centre ground as if their lives depended on it

As the seconds ticked down towards the bell, McConville summoned up another of his pin point accurate body shots to send his foe to the canvas for the third and final time – referee Chris Kelly waved the contest off on the 2:58 second mark of the third stanza

The third and final pro bout of the night see another local young lad, Martin Freeman making his pro debut against the tough and durable Marty Kayes from Belfast.

Before I get to the fight itself I just have to say that in my view Freemen a new star shone brightly for the first time last night and I feel that this youngster is destined to go right to the top in the sport, this kid is class, serious class.

Ok, the fight itself was pure joy to watch, Kayes is one savvy operator and as tough as they come. Believe me the Irishman really put Freemen to the test and the more importantly the youngster passed with flying colours.

Freeman controlled the proceedings with ease, his ring-craft was superb and his shots were incredibly accurate, have to say if that was anyone other than someone like the super tough and durable Mr Kayes sharing the ring on Saturday night the result could quite easily have been a stoppage win on his debut, but in the last 13 years only one man has managed to stop the Irishman, and that was former Team GB star Iain Weaver!

After four sublime rounds of action referee Chris Kelly rightly scored the contest 40-36 to Martin Freeman.

Congratulations to not just all the boxers, but also to Fight Club promoter Kyle Gallagher, each of his shows I’ve been to has been superb, not just the location or production of the events, but also for his care to ensure that each fight is equally matched, not over matched to give the home fighter an advantage as seems to be the norm these day, can’t wait for his next offering.

Hill Secures Celtic Crown as McIlroy Returns In Knockout Fashion in Ayr.

Hill Secures Celtic Crown as McIlroy Returns In Knockout Fashion in Ayr.

Report by Gianluca Di Caro
Photos courtesy Kevin Thorne

It may have been unseasonably wet and windy on Saturday evening, but the inclement weather didn’t deter the local fans turning out in force for three division World Champion Lee McAllister’s latest promotional offering at Ayr Town Hall on Saturday night.

Prior to the first fight of the night, MC Douglas McAdam gave a passionate, yet solemn, eulogy for Scottish Boxing Legend Toby Dixon, father of former World Champion Scott Dixon, who had sadly passed away the previous Sunday aged 87 years, followed by a ten-bell salute.

Following the ten-bell salute was the opening contest, between Prestwick’s Leon Roberts and Liverpool’s Paul Peers was an absolute barnstormer of epic proportions.

Right from the opening bell, both young warriors charged into centre ring and locked horns in a true Gladiatorial Battle Royale that thrilled the ensemble audience for the entirety of the contest.

After four all action rounds, the fans showed their appreciation, for such a truly excellent, closely fought contest, to both fighters with a standing ovation, and that’s before Referee Edward Law’s scorecards were even read out, no surprise then that when it was and showed local lad Robert’s receiving the victor’s laurels the decibel levels went through the roof.

Next up was another cracking fight between Aberdeen’s Nathan Beattie and Belfast’s Marty Kayes. Whilst not quite an all out war like the preceding bout, it was a fantastic technical contest that thrilled the fans in a different way.

The two lads clearly know each other very well, no surprise since they had sparred previously, as well as fought each other on Beattie’s debut. This personal knowledge of the others style, could easily have had a negative effect, making for a boring fight, but not in this case.

Both protagonists showcased their superb pugilistic skills and exceptional ring craft throughout the contest, as with the previous fight, many of the rounds were very close, so it wasn’t a foregone conclusion just who would have their hand raised at the end of six hard fought rounds, however the Scottish fans were not to be disappointed as it was Beattie that got the nod from scoring Referee Edward Law.

Have to say the next bout, between Irvine’s Sandy Robb and Belfast’s Ryan Kilpatrick looked like it was going to be another thrilling all out war for the first minute or so, as the dynamic duo planted themselves in centre ring trading power punch after power punch.

However, Robb’s superior experience came into play, the canny Scot dipped under the Irishman’s leading arm, before letting rip with a massive pinpoint perfect body shot to send Kilpatrick down to the canvas and take the win by first round TKO right on the one minute and thirty second mark.

Next up see the return of Irvine’s very own George McIlroy against Stockport’s Will Cairns, for the Professional Boxing Council (PBC) International Silver Middleweight Championship.

The partisan crowd gave Cairns a very warm welcome, as they had for every single fighter throughout the evening, however once again the decibel levels went through the roof when their man McIlroy began his ring-walk.

Round one was a hard fought affair, both protagonists were clearly fired up and determined to become the first ever Professional Boxing Council (PBC) Champion, so much so that control of the round changed hands so often in the early stages, however that was soon to change, when McIlroy landed a powerful body shot to send Cairns to the canvas in the second half of the round.

Much to the delight of the crowd, McIlroy’s confidence grew in the early stages of round two, the canny Scot controlling the proceedings seemingly with ease, don’t get me wrong Cairns had his fair share of success in the second, just that he was being a wee bit more cautious than he had in the first.

More of the same in the third, with McIlroy seemingly controlling the majority of the action, however saying that, the shot of the round was definitely Cairns, who cleverly engineered a sensational move that see him open up the excellent guard of the Scotsman for the merest fraction of a second, but more than enough for Cairns to land a massive right to the granite chin of McIlroy.

McIlroy stepped up the pace early in the fourth, corralling Cairns in to a corner on a number of occasions, the Englishman managed to fight his way out in true style a couple of times before the Scot got through his guard and sent him to the canvas for a second time.

Following the restart McIlroy was all over Cairns like a rash, the Englishman maybe rashly decided that attack would be the best form of defense, whilst landing a few good shots this action left him open and McIlroy didn’t need a second invitation, he just walked Cairns back towards his own corner before letting rip with a massive onslaught ending with another big right to the body to send Cairns down once more.

Cairns made it to his feet but was clearly unsteady, sensibly referee Edward Law decided not to take any risk and waved the fight off on the one minute and twenty-five second mark of the fourth round.

Headline bout of the night was a second PBC Championship contest, this time between World Boxing Foundation (WBF) United Kingdom Champion Symington’s Sammy Hill and Dundalk, Ireland’s Michael Kelly for the PBC Celtic Welterweight Silver Crown.

Without doubt this proved to be the perfect fight to close out a fantastic night of pugilistic action, it was one helluva closely fought battle that could have gone either way.

In fact by three quarters of the way through I was convinced the result was going to be a draw. The all action bout see control switch not just round by round, but seemingly minute by minute.

In the penultimate round Hill stepped up the pace, just as it seemed Kelly was beginning to fade a little. This proved to be a pivotal point in the contest, as Hill went on to secure the win and his second Championship belt in as many contests by a mere two points.

Following the event promoter Lee McAllister, not only praised the boxers but also announced that he would be back in Championship action later this year, on a self-promoted event at the Beach Ballroom in Aberdeen on the 20th October.

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Life Saving Brain Scanners Debut at Exclusive Boxing Event in Malta.

Life Saving Brain Scanners Debut at Exclusive Boxing Event in Malta.

Damon Booth in action against Ireland’s Marty Kayes

Last Friday evening the cream of Maltese Glitterati descended on the Le Meridien Hotel in St Julian’s, Malta, for a rather exclusive Professional Boxing event, sanctioned by the British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) in conjunction with the Malta Boxing Commission (MBC).

With tickets priced at almost ten times the normal for a boxing event in the Mediterranean haven, joining the rich and famous from the Islands were in excess of sixty international high rollers, each and every one of them attending to support Damon Booth as he made his professional boxing debut, against Ireland’s Marty Kayes, as well as to watch the highly decorated multi-World Champion Scott Dixon in action against England’s Will Cairns

However, those in attendance for the swanky event were totally unaware that in the background was an historic event also taking place, as for the first time on the Islands and only the second time ever at a professional boxing event anywhere in the World, the ground breaking hand held Infra-Scanners, that can detect bleeds to the brain of the combatants, were in action both pre and post fights.

The Infra-Scanners, that were successfully introduced by the BIBA just two weeks prior, at an event in Paisley Scotland, following a number of high profile life changing head injuries incidents at professional boxing events in the UK last year, most notably the death of Scottish Boxer Mike Towell, even though these tragic incidents were on events sanctioned by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) and not by themselves.

The Infra-Scanner is a hand held brain scanner that is designed to detect bleeding on the surface of the brain inside the skull, so epidural and subdural bleeds, which are the common bleeds associated with an impact to the head, ones that can commonly cause life changing injuries or in the worse case scenario, death, in a short space of time.

Within Boxing, the Infra-Scanner is not intended to replace an MRI scan, which is required annually for Professional Boxers, but allows Doctors at Ringside to undertake a two or three minute scan, to determine if as a result of the boxing match that a boxer may have sustained an epidural and subdural bleed to the head.

Should the scan produce a positive result this will enable the Ringside Doctors to ensure that the Boxer is admitted immediately to the nearest specialist unit, where the appropriate care can be undertaken.

Dr Mark Xuereb undertakes scan on Damon Booth post fight

Malta Boxing Commission (MBC) Chief Medical Officer and British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) Medical Advisory Committee Member Dr Mark Xuereb spoke briefly after the successful introduction of the Infra-Scanners at the special event.

“My comments as a Boxing Doctor for both the MBC & BIBA and having been in this profession for in excess of ten years, I can say I’ve seen a lot of boxers and sometimes as a clinician the team has a dilemma do you refer to hospital or don’t you, which is a crucially important decision because you are potentially toying with death.

Without wanting to dramatize, this is a fantastic tool, the Infra-Scanner is a crucial tool to aid in that decision process. It’s easy, it’s simple, any paramedic or doctor can be trained to use it and it helps with the triage system, which is crucially important decision, because we decide what is current urgent versus future important.

We have guidelines for head injuries charting, whether to refer or not refer, as always this will not replace clinical assessment, however shall we say it fortifies and confirms your clinical hunch.

So easy to use, perfect, would I use in the future, absolutely, the research results are undeniable, and it’s making waves all over the world, so I would really like to thank whoever invented it because it is really going to help us as health & safety in any sport is first and foremost, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, five stars and hopefully as it develops it will get smaller and lighter, although saying that must say it is already lightweight and reasonable in size, so brilliant all round.”

Billy Corito becomes the first Maltese Boxer to be scanned using the advanced technology hand held Infra-Scanner

Maltese Heavyweight Billy Corito, who had attended the event became the first Maltese boxer to be scanned, even though he wasn’t boxing on the event had this to say about the technological breakthrough.

“I was overwhelmed to be asked by Dr Xuereb to be the first Maltese boxer to have a Brain scan using the infra-scanner.

Could not believe this little remote looking device can save a boxers life! It was so quick and easy to detect if I have an injury or blood on my brain or anyone else’s.

It was over in just a couple of minutes, so just imagine if all boxing federations have one of these on every boxing event how quick lives would be saved.

As the saying goes, boxing saves lives, well now its Infra-scanners who are saving lives”

Dr Mark Xuereb scans Scott Dixon following his bout with Will Cairns

Scott Dixon, who was the actual first competitor to be scanned post fight at the event also spoke about the infra-scanners and the positive effect he believes having them ringside will have on the sport.

I think it’s an absolute revelation that BIBA have now bought in the head scanners to Malta, before and after every contest, this is the way forward, the only way forward.

There have been a few fatalities in the ring and most notably when I had my first fight on Friday the 13th October 1995 my best friend James Murray died in the boxing ring.

It took me a long time to get over that and I always hoped and wished that the rules would become more stringent. Back then it was British Boxing Board of Control, but hey now the British & Irish Boxing Authority are ruling the waves now with their pro-active approach to boxer safety.

BIBA make it their number one priority to look after the fighters and that’s the way it should be, their regulations are amazing, so I’m delighted to be a BIBA license holder and to be the first boxer to undertake a scan after my fight here in Malta, forget the rest BIBA’s the best.

I came to Malta eleven years ago and when I came here boxing was virtually nonexistent, they never knew a left hook from a fishhook, but now they’ve progressed and moved forward, so much so that having the scanners here are leading the charge in boxer safety.

Scott then went on to praise the BIBA on their professionalism with regard to another of their procedures, this time regarding dope tests, particularly due to an unsavory brush with the local doping authority, who not only failed to follow correct procedures at one of his previous fights that was sanctioned by the Malta Boxing Association (MBA), but then decided to charge him with failing to undertake a doping request, which is currently under appeal.

“I’m also delighted that tonight BIBA even regulated the doping screening, I volunteered to take the tests as they were going to pick them at random which is standard procedure, but I volunteered as I have nothing to hide.

The true procedure is that you are notified before that you will be subject to dope testing, obviously like I said, I volunteered, I done one test before the contest.

After my fight I was escorted, to the dressing room, by BIBA officials, to make sure there was no dodgy business, I went straight to the dressing room and was observed and did another doping test.

Obviously both were clear, as always, because I’m a professional athlete, I’ve been a professional 23 years now.

Now I’ve done thirty dope tests during my career in total, the correct procedure is you be notified and like I said BIBA followed the correct procedure and in an appropriate manner.

I’m so pleased to be part of this set-up, I mean listen there are so many cowboys in this sport, let’s be honest you have the MBA here in Malta for an example, so if you want to join a circus you go with them, if you want to be part of a truly professional set up you go with MBC or BIBA, as they look after the fighters safety first and foremost and that’s the only way forward and that’s why we’ve gone with the top of the chain.”

www.boxbiba.com

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Life Saving Infra-Scanners Introduced This Weekend at UK Boxing Events

Life Saving Infra-Scanners Introduced This Weekend at UK Boxing Events

Jonah Roche and Professor Michael Graham with Infra-Scanner

In February the British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) announced that they were set to introduce hand held Infra-Scanners, that can detect Brain bleeds, ringside at events sanctioned by themselves in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, following a number of high profile head injuries incidents and the death of Scottish Boxer Mike Towell.

The Infra-Scanner is a hand held brain scanner that is designed to detect bleeding on the surface of the brain inside the skull, so epidural and subdural bleeds, which are the common bleeds associated with an impact to the head, ones that can commonly cause life changing injuries or in the worse case scenario, death, in a short space of time.

Within Boxing, the Infra-Scanner is not intended to replace an MRI scan, which is required annually for Professional Boxers, but allows Doctors at Ringside to undertake a two or three minute scan, to determine if as a result of the boxing match that a boxer may have sustained an epidural and subdural bleed to the head.

Should the scan produce a positive result this will enable the Ringside Doctors to ensure that the Boxer is admitted immediately to the nearest specialist unit, where the appropriate care can be undertaken.

Yesterday, InfraScan Inc. representative Jonah Roche, from SkillShop.Eu, travelled to the United Kingdom to deliver the first of the Infra-Scanners as well as undertake a training session for a number of the British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) Ringside Doctors and affiliated Chief Paramedics, ahead of launching the use of the Infra-Scanners at an event in Paisley, Scotland this coming Saturday.

The British & Irish Boxing Authority had made the decision to introduce the potential life saving scanners following four major head injury incidents at events in the United Kingdom last year, even though these catastrophic injuries were sustained on events overseen by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) and not on events sanctioned by them.

In January 2016, Tommy Martin suffered a bleed to the brain following the Commonwealth and WBC International Championship bout against John Wayne Hibbert.

In March 2016, Nick Blackwell was put in an induced coma due to a bleed in the skull following his British Title fight with Chris Eubank Jr, and once again in November following a sparring session.

In September 2016, Mike Towell suffered a bleed to the brain during the British Welterweight Championship Eliminator contest against Dale Evans and passed away shortly after due to the injury.

In November 2016, German based Kazakh Eduard Gutknecht collapsed in the dressing room following the WBA International Championship bout against George Groves and was rushed to hospital, where he underwent surgery to relieve swelling on his brain and, whilst still in a coma, was transported to Germany in December.

In February this year BIBA Vice President Gianluca Di Caro wrote to BBBofC General Secretary Robert Smith, offering the use of the scanners for any boxer licensed by themselves, should they be suffering headaches or nausea following sparring or a contest, however this offer was refused and shortly after Mr Smith made the following statement to Boxing News Magazine.

“We’ve looked into it and we’re still looking into it,” Robert Smith tells Boxing News.

“We want to make sure they are accurate, and ensure the people using them are qualified to do so. We have asked many doctors, and received many opinions.

Ultimately, it seems it is too early to tell if this technology will be suitable for boxing. We will continue to look into the possibility of implementing them because safety has been paramount to us for many years, and will continue to be so.

“Nobody has said to me that this is definitely the way to go, because at this time, it’s just too early to say. In the future, after further research, they might be. It will be discussed in detail at our medical seminar in the summer.”

Chief Paramedic Martyn Morgan undertaking scan on Jonah Roche as Professor Michael Graham looks on.scanners

Following the introduction training course, Renowned Sports Forensic Scientist and BIBA Deputy Chief Medical Officer (D-CMO), Professor Michael Graham MBChB; JCPTGP; PhD; FRSM; MPhysoc; BASEM; MICR; MCSFS; PCCMH; APIL Expert; FSB, stated;

“The growing recognition of sports-related brain trauma creates an ideal application for the Infra-Scanner.

In contact sports like Boxing, Football, Karate, Mixed Martial Arts and Rugby, and others, the Infra-Scanner can provide field-based diagnosis and assist in the decision whether to evacuate an injured athlete to a hospital for immediate investigation and medical or surgical management.

The Infra-Scanner has been subject to a substantial number of Controlled Research Studies, around the World, and has already proven 80-100% selectivity and 90-100% specificity.

In addition there are over two hundred Infra-Scanners in use by the American Military, as this equipment was developed specifically for them for use in the field, as well is currently undergoing further trials at St Mary’s Hospital and The London Air Ambulance.

The Infra-Scanner is proven to accurately detect intracranial haematomas using the unique light-absorbing properties of haemoglobin, which is located within blood, and the non-invasive, non-ionizing nature of Near Infrared (NIR) technology.

Enormous advantages of the Infra-Scanner for speed of diagnosis are:

Portability, Infra-Scanners weighs just 400 grams.

Patient measurement is completed within 2-3 minutes.

The Infra-Scanner detects haematomas greater than 3.5 ml in volume, as well as detects haematomas up to 2.5 cm deep from the surface of the brain, or 3.5 cm from the skin.

I expect that such technologically advanced equipment will become mandatory at all public and private events, within a very short period of time.

Failure, by sporting organisations, to have the Infra-Scanner and personnel trained in its use will ultimately invalidate sporting licenses and insurances and result in enormous medical negligence claims.

Already it is clear in Boxing alone, that deaths from intracranial haemorrhages could have been prevented, if the Infra-Scanner had been present and used as a diagnostic tool.

As such we at the British & Irish Boxing Authority are extremely proud to introduce this technology at events sanctioned by ourselves, as we believe they will prevent future tragedies in the sport.”

The Infra-Scanners will be introduced Ringside at the British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) sanctioned event promoted by Gerard Boyle-Welsh at the On-X Centre, in Paisley, Scotland this coming Saturday.

www.boxbiba.com

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Fight Report: Fireworks In Liverpool – Turner & McConville In KO Form, Gallagher & Kennerdale Score Impressive Victories.

Fight Report: Fireworks In Liverpool – Turner & McConville In KO Form, Gallagher & Kennerdale Score Impressive Victories.

Ringside Report by Gianluca Di Caro

Photos: Col Armstrong

 

On Friday evening, just 24 hours before local hero Tony Bellew’s showdown with David Haye, Merseyside fight fans turned out in force for a little pugilistic aperitif at Hanger 34 in Liverpool for an event hosted by local promoter Kyle Gallagher.

Boy oh boy were they in for a cracking night of boxing to whet the appetite for the big fight, as in terms of action and drama the fights themselves were quite possibly not that far off being on par with those from the 02 in London the following night.

Heading up the event was local unbeaten prospect Dayle Gallagher, in action against Northern Ireland’s Michael Kelly, however as the Liverpool lad had elected to open up the professional element of the show, for a change I’m starting the report from the first fight rather than last.

Right from the off Gallagher took centre ring and began to pressure his more experienced opponent. Kelly though used his vast experience to good effect to contain the fast starting scouser.

As the round progressed opportunities arose for Gallagher to let rip with some cracking body-shots, Kelly though is well schooled defensively wise, which prevented the young prospect getting too many opportunities before the end of the round.

Round two was a much more open affair, so much so that there was some great toe-to-toe action, much to the delight of the assembled crowd.

Gallagher started to get into a good flow in the third, often backing Kelly up before letting rip with short sharp flurries to body and head. The Irishman held his ground and comfortably boxed his way out of trouble on numerous occasions.

More of the same in the fourth, albeit being fought at higher pace compared to the earlier rounds, Gallagher backing Kelly up before letting rip with combinations to body and head, as before Kelly countered with good effect.

With the fans egging their man on, the pace in the final minute or so was nothing short of frenetic, with both men landing some seriously heavy shots as they slugged it out.

After four highly entertaining rounds, it was Dayle Gallagher’s hand held aloft by Referee Matt Scriven, who scored the bout 40-37.

Following Gallagher-Kelly see local lad Jonny McConville making his professional debut against Northern Ireland’s Phil Townley.

What a fight, McConville really was impressive in his controlled approach, taking the fight to the Irishman and dictating the proceedings for much of the time.

Considering it was his debut pro contest, the youngster had the confidence to showcase his skills to great effect, throughout the fight McConville was able to cut off the ring in style before landing some classy combinations as well as some seriously big shots.

Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t all one way traffic, Townley is always game for a good scrap and was more than happy to trade shots, landing some crackers of his own, but it was the young Liverpool lad that was definitely in control.

Townley got cut from a big punch late in the third, which seemed to ignite the blue touch paper for the young Merseysider, who noticeably stepped up the pace.

In the final round McConville kept up the pressure, backing his opponent up on numerous occasions before letting rip with big shots, followed by some classy combinations.

In the final thirty seconds of so of the round McConville stepped up the pace once more and backed the Irishman onto the ropes before letting rip with a torrent of power shots, Townley struggled to counter so opted to cover up, with no counter punches in sight from the Irishman, referee Matt Scriven had no option but to step in and stop the fight on the two minute and forty five second mark.

Next up was the highly anticipated Heavyweight bout between Sean Turner (1-0-0) and Belfast’s debuting Ryan Kilpatrick.

What a cracking contest, for as long as it lasted that is, both lads went to war right from the opening bell. The crowd were on their feet as the big men went toe-to-toe, each letting rip with a salvo of powerful exocets.

As the clock edged towards the second minute, Turner found the slightest of openings, stepped back a touch and let rip with a massive shot to the body to send the big Irishman to the deck. Amazingly Kilpatrick managed to get back to his feet before the count concluded.

Right from the restart Turner went on the attack, letting rip with further big shots, the final salvo producing a pin point accurate massive shot to the oblique that sent Kilpatrick to the canvas for a second time.

Unfortunately no matter how hard the Irishman tried to get up in time to beat the count again, he just couldn’t do it, leaving referee Matt Scriven no option but to wave off the contest on the one minute and twenty six second mark of the first round.

Side note on this bout, both men really did excel, the quality of the shortened fight was nothing short of sensational. I for one can’t wait to see both fighters in action again and hopefully in the future against each other once more.

The final fight of the night see unbeaten Craig Kennerdale in action against the highly entertaining and experienced Irishman Marty Kayes.

Right from the off Kayes went on the front foot, taking the fight to his younger opponent. The savvy Irishman then proceeded to make life as difficult as possible for Kennerdale.

Kennerdale responded well and as the round unfolded managed to get himself on equal ground, which wasn’t easy as Kayes kept digging into his well stocked locker for shots, and let’s say entertaining ‘professional’ moves, to throw a spanner in the works and disrupt the Merseysider’s game plan.

As the second round progressed Kennerdale began to turn the tables on the Irishman, showing Kayes that he too has a well stocked bag of tricks and clever moves, so much so that for long periods of time he was able to keep the wily Irishman on the back foot.

More of the same in the third, however the forth was a much closer fought affair, with the upper hand being equally shared between the two protagonists throughout the round.

After four highly entertaining, action packed rounds Referee Matt Scriven scored the contest 40-38 in favour of Craig Kennerdale.

Top class event featuring closely matched all action fights, what more could anyone ask for, as such plaudits to promoter Kyle Gallagher for hosting what can only be described as the perfect prelude, for the Merseyside fans that is, ahead of the impending big London fight night.

 

 

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Fight Report: Khan, Decastro and Christopher in Knock Out Form!

Fight Report: Khan, Decastro and Christopher In Knock Out Form!

Ringside report: Gianluca Di Caro

Photos courtesy of: Joe Ibbotson

It may have been extremely windy and absolutely bucketing down with rain in Bradford on Sunday evening, but even the ridiculously inclement weather couldn’t deter around six hundred plucky fans turning out for a special four bout dinner show at the Connaught Rooms, headlined by a ten round non-championship International contest between local hero, two division World Champion Tasif Khan, and top class opponent, Ghanaian Ekow Wilson (16-2-0, 14KOs).

The atmosphere was electric when the MC announced the impending headline bout, each and everyone in attendance were on their feet enthusiastically clapping and cheering as Ekow Wilson made his way to the hallowed ring. However, in comparison the noise level went through the roof when their man Tasif Khan began his ring-walk.

Khan started hard and fast, much to the delight of the partisan crowd, and took the fight to his esteemed opponent. It was clear that Wilson hadn’t made the trip from Africa to just make up the numbers though, as he responded to every Khan attack with equal venom.

The first round was a cracker, both men standing toe-to-toe slugging it out for much it. Round two was fought in a very similar manner for much of the time, however Khan had really started to get into a dominating flow, throwing some sensational body-shots that clearly affected Wilson. Don’t get me wrong, Wilson held his own for long periods and landed some wicked shots of his own.

Round three was definitely the turning point for Khan; he started strong again and landed some fantastic shots to both head and body. By about the midway point Khan stepped up the pace and landed a seriously vicious body-shot that completed winded Wilson, forcing him to take to drop to his knees.

They definitely breed them tough in Ghana, as he made his way back to his feet before the count reached six. However Khan could sense an early victory and went straight back on the attack.

Wilson clearly wanted to protect himself from more body-shots so came in close and once again it reverted to a sensational toe-to-toe slugfest, that was until Khan did a little step back and let rip with another evil body-shot in the final minute, that forced Wilson to once again drop to his knees and catch his breath, again the tough Ghanaian was on his feet well before the count reached six.

Wilson’s team clearly switched to Plan B for the fourth round, the canny lad covering up more to protect his body, in an effort to prevent further Khan Exocets finding their target. It was a fantastic round, fought in a far more technical way than the previous ones.

More of the same in Round five, but unfortunately for Wilson, Khan once again found the smallest of gaps in his defense and landed another potentially rib breaking shot, to force the Ghanaian down to the canvas once more.

Amazingly Wilson not only made it to his feet but in the final seconds of the round made life a little difficult for the local hero.

Round six was another cracking round, once more Wilson had decided to keep Khan tied up on the inside, much to the delight of the fans as the duo went at it hammer and tongs.

The crowd, who had remained on their feet throughout the contest, were treated to one helluva seventh round, both men came out with serious intent and what followed can best be described as a full on War!

It was clear that Wilson had decided to revert back to Plan A and loading up some serious big shots, however that meant that opportunities were there for Khan, and boy oh boy did he take them when they opened up, landing some sensational body-shots once more.

As the seconds ticked down towards the final minute Wilson left a gap in his defense, Khan didn’t need a second invitation and immediately let rip with a superb short sharp shot to the body to send the Ghanaian down once more.

The crowd went absolutely mental, believing the fight was over, as Wilson struggled to get to his feet, but no, Wilson once again beat the count, just. What’s more on the restart had clearly decided attack was the best form of defense and a seriously entertaining toe-to-toe slugfest ensued until the bell.

About half way through the minute break Wilson’s corner summoned referee Matt Scriven, after which the referee turned to the officials’ table and signaled that the fight was over, what followed next was pure pandemonium, Khan, his team, which was headed up by former Two Division World Champion and current WBF Intercontinental Welterweight Champion Lee McAllister, and the fans began celebrating in style.

So enthusiastic were the celebration that it would be a good ten minutes or so before the official result could be announced and the winners hand raised, after which the TV crews from both the UK and Pakistan entered the ring along with Khan’s enthusiastic extended team, four of whom proudly carried Khan’s Championship Belts, and surrounded him as the TV commentators tried to interview him.

Eventually Khan was able to undertake the interview, in which he said.

“Ekow Wilson is a dangerous fighter with a very good record and high percentage knock out ratio; out of his sixteen wins, fourteen came by way of Knockout.

Ekow did a lot of talking in the build up to this fight, claiming he has wanted this fight for a long time, but my team had refused because we were scared, that was utter nonsense.

I didn’t respond as I wanted to let my performance in the ring do the talking for me, I respect all my opponents and all who get into the ring to fight and to a certain extent my team and I did respect his power and trained accordingly.

This fight wasn’t about titles and belts this time, it was about pride and setting the record straight, as well as making Ekow show me the respect I deserve as a fighter, we believe we did just that.

I believe at points I could have made it easier for myself and stuck to my boxing skills, but as we both promised fireworks there was no doubt at some point that’s exactly what the fans were going to get.

Again I’d like to thank everyone in attendance for making it such an electric atmosphere and a very, very special night, I really appreciate the support and my very enthusiastic fans motivate me to perform at my best.

I want to say a massive thank you to my sponsors; Kingsland Business Recovery, Broadway Solicitors, Janan Fashion, SouthPaw Fight Gear and Vista Gym, for their continued support in allowing me to give boxing 100%.

Thanks to the venue Connaught Rooms, a wonderful historic venue in my hometown, after tonight I think this could well be our new home for special events.

Also thanks to “Made in Leeds” TV, Geo News, and all other media channels in attendance, also thanks to the British & Irish Boxing Authority team for sanctioning and officiating another great event.”

Preceding Khan versus Wilson was another ten rounder, this time between unbeaten in eight and current MBC International Super Middleweight Champion Nathan Decastro and late replacement Latvian Dmitrijs Ovsjannikovs, following original opponent John Akulugu not receiving his visa in time.

Pre-Fight Decastro was so fired up, a determined mindset he later carried into the ring, clearly determined on making a massive statement ahead of his upcoming American debut fight in May.

The fight may have only lasted 34 seconds, but in that short time Decastro let rip with a handful of potential knockout shots to the head before letting rip with the literal rib-breaking shot that ended the fight so quickly.

Prior to Decasto versus Ovsjannikovs was a rematch between Scotland’s Nathan Beattie and Wales’ Anthony Christopher. The two originally met in Glasgow just a couple of weeks ago on the 4th February. On that occasion Christopher got the nod by a very close 39-38 points decision.

Beattie was clearly intent on revenge and started hard and fast, taking the fight to the Welshman. The Scotsman dominated most of the round constantly hunting down his man like a stalking Tiger throughout the three minutes.

Having clearly won the first round Beattie stepped it up a little further in the opening moments of the second, appearing intent on gaining a stoppage victory, however it was this approach that proved to be the undoing of the Scot, as in doing so he left himself open and boy oh boy did Christopher take advantage, landing a pin point perfect massive shot to the ribs to end the fight on the two minute and twenty seven second mark of the second round.

Opening up the show was due to be Chris Wood versus a returning Lee Noble in a four rounder, however that bout had to be pulled at the last minute, so instead James Higgy and Paul Smith stepped up to the plate for a four round exhibition bout.

Normally I wouldn’t cover an exhibition bout, but for this I’m going to make an exception, as this was one seriously top class and highly entertaining contest.

Both Men came to fight, this wasn’t a glorified sparring session like most exhibition matches, oh no this was one serious Battle Royale, that see both men going all out for victory from start to finish.

I really enjoyed the bout, as did the attending fans, and can only hope that one day these two will face each other again, if they do I will definitely be there for another slice of pugilistic heaven.

What a great night of fights, OK there may have only been four of them and three finished early, but in all honesty that didn’t matter one iota, I for one came away very, very satisfied, having really enjoyed each and every fight.

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Up Close and Personal With Liverpool’s Rising Prospect Dayle Gallagher

Up Close and Personal With Liverpool’s Rising Prospect Dayle Gallagher

Interview by Gianluca Di Caro.

Photo: Team Gallagher

The subject of this interview is Dayle Gallagher, who is proving to be one of the most exciting young prospects to emerge on the Merseyside boxing scene over the past few years.

On Friday March 3rd Dayle is set to compete in his toughest fight to date, a six rounder at the Hanger 34 Club in Liverpool, against Belfast’s Michael Kelly, a proven Championship campaigner, who in the past year or so has fought France’s Mohamed Larabi for the WBF International title and more recently Scotland’s Lee McAllister for the WBF Inter-Continental belt, as well as competed on huge televised events in Russia and Sweden.

Unbeaten in four outings to date, two by early stoppages, against Alekseis Nikitenko, in May 2015 and Jak Johnson in December 2016, and two by solid points decision, Marty Kayes in April 2016 and Phil Townley in June the same year, Dayle has already caught the eye of some of the biggest names in the sport, including two time World Champion Amir Khan.

In fact courtesy of Mr Khan and his team, Dayle firmly earned his place in the History books of the sport, as the very first winner of a Professional Boxing contest in Pakistan, following his excellent win over Belfast’s Phil Townley back in June last year.

More on that later, as right now I think its time to get on with the interview.

Gianluca

Thank you for talking with me today Dayle, whilst obviously this interview is regarding your professional career, especially the upcoming fight against Michael Kelly on March 3rd, I would like to start the interview off with you telling the readers a little about your non-professional boxing, especially your amateur career, which I have understand started out with a victory over one of the top guys in the division at that time.

Dayle

I started boxing at the age of 14, after training for over a year I had a few inter-club events before having my first amateur bout which was on short notice to represent Liverpool my home city, which was against the Welsh number one at the time in his home city Wrexham.

I always remember my coach saying no one wants to fight this lad so go knock him out, and in the second round after putting him down twice already the referee had no choice to stop it.

I was told by numerous of people I had a bright future in the sport but my focus at the time was to become a professional football player which ended in a real bad injury and after 18 months of physio and rehabilitation on my injury.

I finally got back into boxing for fitness and immediately fell back in love with the sport, after just a few months of training I took a white-collar fight in Newcastle.

After winning that I got loads of good feedback and realised I need to start taking this serious and see how far I can go in the sport, I won Northern area, British and European titles on the unlicensed scene then realised I need to turn to the professional side of the game.

Gianluca

Your pro career got off to a flying start, with a stoppage victory over Latvian Aleksejs Nikitenko, firstly how did it feel boxing in the professional ranks for the first time and secondly can you give your view of the fight please?

Dayle

Even though I had been in the ring plenty of times before, my professional debut had me more nervous then any other fight, but the feeling couldn’t of been better.

The fight didn’t last long about 1 minute I think before the referee had to interfere and call a halt to the fight which led to my first win in the professional ranks and is a day I will never forget.

Gianluca

It was almost a year before you were back in the ring, against Marty Kayes back in April last year, but even with such a long time between fights you were in top form, beating Marty on points. How did you manage to keep motivated during this time and again please give the readers your view of the fight?

Dayle

It was very hard because I was going through a lot of complications with my promoter at the time and couldn’t fight and I thought I might never fight again, but after a long period out, my brother helped me and got me a fight.

I knew a lot about Marty and knew it wouldn’t be easy knowing how experienced he was, but I wanted to show everyone that even with all this time out how good I can be and got the win and felt like I’d never had time out of the ring.

Gianluca

Your next fight, against Phil Townley, came just a few months later and what’s more was overseas on an historic event, the first Pro Boxing event ever to take place in Pakistan. Can you please tell the readers firstly how this came about and also tell the readers not just about the fight but also the whole experience?

Dayle

I didn’t really believe it was true when I first found out about Pakistan. I had just come back from my holiday and next minute am on the phone to Amir Khan’s uncle about a possible fight in Pakistan.

Even though I knew I wasn’t at my fittest or at my preferred weight I couldn’t miss out on the opportunity so I stepped up two weight classes just for the opportunity.

Within a couple of hours of the fight getting offered to me I was in Bolton at the Amir Khan Academy filling out all my paper work and my visa and literally three days later was on a plane going to fight in Pakistan.

On arriving in Pakistan I was treated like royalty, my bags where collected and carried for me. I was greeted by the Pakistan Army and Police and escorted to my hotel.

I could never thank the people enough from Pakistan on how they made my time there so welcome, it’s a great country with great people even when I fought they where screaming my name, so much so that I thought I was back in Liverpool with a home crowd.

It was one of my most amazing experiences of my life and one that I will have for the rest of my life as I made history as the very first professional boxer to fight and win on Pakistan soil.

Gianluca

Your fourth fight, against Jak Johnson back in December and on home turf once more, was both dramatic and I would expect anti-climatic for you. I was there so know all that occurred but could you enlighten the readers about the dramas that unfolded that night from your view please?

Dayle

If you’ve seen the whole fight it looks like I wasn’t too happy at the end but that’s because am a fighter and all I want to do is fight.

I trained so hard and felt in the best shape of my life so when the fight was over In 30 seconds it annoyed me but that’s just something I have to deal with its boxing and fights can be over with one shot.

After watching it back I was happy with my performance and I’m blessed with punching power that can pop someone’s shoulder out of its socket with one shot.

Gianluca

On the 3rd March you’ll be in action once more at the Hanger 34 in Liverpool, where you are due to face Ireland’s Michael Kelly. Do you know much about Michael and his fighting style and also how do you see this fight panning out?

Dayle

I know about the people he’s fought and what he’s achieved I know it will be a tough fight but that’s why my team and me asked for the fight.

I don’t watch my opponents on old fights because they could turn up an box a completely different fight so I like to figure them out when am in there.

I think it will be an entertaining fight for people to watch, but I see it ending with a knockout, if I hit anybody at welterweight with one of my power shots in eight-ounce gloves I will be shocked to see anybody still standing there in front of me.

Gianluca

So out of the fights you’ve had to date, whether pro or not, which has been your favourite and why?

Dayle

My favourite has to be Pakistan making history and challenging myself, it was a big risk stepping up two weight divisions but I like a challenge and this is why I’m in this fight game, and also boxing in front of two time World Champion Amir Khan and getting great feedback from him, you can’t ask for anything better than that.

Gianluca

How would you describe your fighting style?

Dayle

My fighting style I believe is different to the average British style boxer which I think makes me stand out more, I’m a counter fighter with power, I’m a southpaw and I know I can be a nightmare for any boxer out there on the boxing circuit.

Gianluca

Should you be successful on the 3rd March, you will be unbeaten in five, whilst perhaps it’s still a bit early to be thinking of Championship accolades, I’m sure that you must have been thinking about opportunities like that already, as such could you please outline your future plans for the readers.

Dayle

I’m in the sport to win titles, it’s a dream of mine that I know I can achieve and when the opportunity comes I will take it.

I will keep climbing the ladder winning fights and when my team think the time is right, I will get my title shot and I will become Champion.

Gianluca

I’m sure you must have been an avid watcher of pro boxing even as a youngster, as such my next question is which fighters, past or present, have had the most influence on you and your career?

Dayle

Growing up from a young age I used to watch videos of Roy Jones Jr, I love his cockiness and confidence.

I always wanted to be an entertainer and give people the feeling I had when watching him.

My favourite fighters that I like to watch a lot of now is Floyd Mayweather, Adrian Broner, Chris Eubank Jr and Errol Spence Jr, these are the type of fighters I like to take a lot from and try to make into my own style.

Gianluca

Moving away from the fights etc., who are the main people that make up Team Gallagher?

Dayle

Even though I’m the one who gets in there to fight I couldn’t do it without my team, from my brother Kyle who prepares me for every fight, to all my teammates at engine room.

It’s not just my team though; my sponsors also help me to get ready for fight night, Goodness Grill, who prepares my food, which help me with my diets. Spartan Dynamic who train me for my strength and conditioning and get me in great shape and make me feel stronger than ever.

James Harris who helps me with everything behind the scenes like interviews.

My friends my family and my girlfriend these all help me behind the scenes when I’m moody from weight cutting and preparing for fight night.

But the most important people on my team are the people who believe in my dream and buy tickets off me for my fights, because what a lot of people don’t realise without ticket sales fights can’t happen and I will always be thankful to every last person who buys a ticket from me!

Gianluca

Where do you train and what is your training schedule?

Dayle

I train in Engine Room Boxing Club, Sports Direct Fitness and Spartan Dynamic, my normal routine for fight night is 6am I wake up have a banana then straight to Sports Direct Fitness for my running.

I like to get between 4-6 miles in every morning then I will do a bit of bag work and get a sauna, then I will go home and rest then at 10:30am depending on which day Monday, Wednesday, Friday I will be at Engine Room until at least Midday working on my boxing.

Tuesday and Thursday I will be at Spartan Dynamic until Midday working on my strength and conditioning, then I will go and pick up freshly prepared meals from Goodness Grill and then have work from 2:30pm until 9:30pm.

It’s a hard routine to maintain but for my dream it’s all worth it.

Gianluca

What would you say your favourite part of training is?

Dayle

I don’t really have a favourite part of training; my favourite part is probably getting told I’m finished because it’s really hard work.

It’s an addiction training that I couldn’t go without, but if I had to choose one thing it would probably be sparring. It’s the closest thing to fighting and there’s nothing better than landing devastating punches on opponents.

Gianluca

Outside boxing, what is your favourite sport?

Dayle

Outside of boxing my favourite sport is football, I love to watch my team Everton but any game in general I will just watch for entertainment

Gianluca

Besides sport how else do you relax outside boxing?

Dayle

Boxing is constantly on my brain when I have spare time I watch boxing videos or talk about it to people who don’t really care but it’s in my blood and I just can’t help it

Gianluca

These days Social Media is very much an important tool for professional sports people; do you utilize Social Media to engage with your fans?

Dayle

I find social media is very important these days for professional athletes and I always interact with fans, because anybody who takes time to ask me anything about my career deserves a reply, I’m not a big name in the sport yet so to have people asking me questions about my boxing really means a lot to me.

Gianluca

Finally is there anything you want to say to your fans?

Dayle

Thank you to everyone who follows my career and believes in me it won’t be long until I’m at the top, thank you.

Dayle Gallagher versus Michael Kelly headlines the Kyle Gallagher Fight Club Promotions event at Hanger 34 in Liverpool on Friday 3rd March 2017, which will be broadcast on BOOM TV. Tickets are available from boxers competing or call Fight Club Ticket Line 07711 098025.

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Hand Held Infra-Scanners, That Detect Brain Bleeds, Introduced by BIBA For Professional Boxing Events In The United Kingdom.

 

Hand Held Infra-Scanners, That Detect Brain Bleeds, Introduced By BIBA For Professional Boxing Events In The United Kingdom.

 

The British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) are set to introduce hand held Infra-Scanners, that can detect Brain bleeds, at events sanctioned by themselves in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland.

Sky News’ Health & Science Correspondent, Thomas Moore, highlighted the benefits of the use of the Infra-Scanners, that can detect brain bleeds with an accuracy of 90%, often before any symptoms such as headaches or confusion become apparent, following the death of Mike Towell last year at an event sanctioned by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC).

In the article Mr. Moore stated “Compulsory brain imaging using Infra-Scanners could be “massive” for boxers who risk death from professional competition.”

On announcing the introduction of Infra-Scanners, that will be available ringside at events sanctioned by them, BIBA Vice President Gianluca Di Caro said.

“We are extremely proud to be the first to introduce Infra-Scanners at events in the United Kingdom and Ireland, as we whole heartedly believe having them ringside will significantly prevent further tragedies within our sport.”

Before expanding further and explain what had led to the decision to introduce the use of Infra-Scanners at BIBA events;

“Following two major head injury incidents last year, one that resulted in the death of Mike Towell, even though neither were on events sanctioned by ourselves, the BIBA board had decided to actively seek solutions regarding improving the way that injuries such as these can be detected as quickly as possible. The first move we made was to appoint renowned forensic sports scientist Professor Michael Graham PhD to our Ringside Medical Officer & Medical Advisory Board.

Professor Graham led the esteemed team that produced the internationally published papers “Direct Hits to the Head During Amateur Boxing is Associated With a Rise in Serum Biomarkers For Brain Injury” & “Should an Increase in Cerebral Neurochemicals Following Head Kicks in Karate Influence Return to Play?”

Professor Graham and his esteemed team are currently researching the short-term and long-term effects of head injuries in Rugby as well as preparing, in conjunction with ourselves and a prestigious UK University, a long term research project to assess cognitive function following brain trauma.

Around the time of the appointment of Professor Graham, our CMO, Dr. Louise Eccles, proposed that we should investigate obtaining Infra-Scanners, as the use of these would massively assist in detecting problems such as a bleed on the brain quickly, especially as there is only a limited amount of time to assess the location of such an injury.

Following Louise’s advice, I contacted the manufacturers and am extremely proud to say that the initial trial unit will arrive later this month, hopefully in time for the 26th February event in Bradford, that features two ten round International contests.

We have initially ordered two Infra-Scanners which will be operated by Professor Graham and Dr Eccles at our events, and are aiming to order a further eight units over the coming twelve months, so that every BIBA Ringside Doctor will have an Infra-Scanner available by 2018.

Both the appointment of Professor Graham and the introduction of Infra-Scanners, are just two pro-active decisions made by ourselves with regard to Boxer Health & Safety, there are more to come, as Professor Graham and another of our Ringside Medical Officer & Medical Advisory Board, Dr Mark Xuereb have also proposed the introduction of further safety measures, one of which is the introduction of Cognitive Testing, which will come into force very soon.

We believe that Boxer Health & Safety is paramount, as such we will continue researching procedures that can assist us provide the very best medical evaluations possible.”

www.boxbiba.com

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Decastro Stops Tetteh to Secure First Title – Kayes, Becelis, Cairns Impressive in Victory.

Nathan Decastro with BIBA Vice Chairman Jennifer Burton
Nathan Decastro with BIBA Vice Chairman Jennifer Burton

Decastro Stops Tetteh to Secure First Title – Kayes, Becelis, Cairns Impressive in Victory.

On Saturday night, at the Arena UK in Grantham, Lincolnshire, local gym owner Russ Brown made his maiden outing as a professional boxing promoter and boy oh boy did he do it in style.

Whilst most people would start off at a small hall venue with a few local ticket sellers heading up the show, Russ Brown approached it a little differently, a full blown Arena show headed up with Championship bouts headlining, originally was due to be three, but due to last minute visa issues the main event, the World Super Bantamweight Unification contest between South Africa’s reigning World Boxing Federation Champion Gabisile Tshabalala and British #1 and current MBC International Champion Marianne Marston, had to be rescheduled so the irritating bureaucracy issue could be sorted.

With no Tshabalala-Marston World Unification bout, it was local unbeaten star Nathan Decastro, in his first title battle, against the highly experienced Championship campaigner Ishmael Tetteh, from Ghana, for the vacant MBC International Super Middleweight Championship that was elevated to headline the show.

Before I get onto the fights themselves I have to say how pleasant it was to be at an event where the entire audience welcomed each and every fighter to the ring with rapturous applause, that included Tetteh, who they welcomed in the manner a star fighter deserved and not a single jeer or boo to be heard.

However that paled into insignificance compared to the reception local star Decastro received, the sound was deafening and it seemed that each and every person in the arena was cheering on their man at the top of their voice as he made his ring walk.

The vocal support continued throughout the fight itself, with the fans ringside cheering every exchange, and believe me there were plenty as this was an exceptional all out toe-to-toe war that could have been fought in a phone box.

Young Decastro wasn’t overawed, far from it, instead he rose to the occasion and showcased the exceptional skills that belie his tender years.

Don’t get me wrong this wasn’t a one way affair, Tetteh is a tough, classy operator that gives his all for every second of every round and he was in sensational form, matching the local lad punch for punch in the early rounds.

The turning point in the contest came midway through the fourth, Decastro landed a wicked body shot that sent the Ghanaian down to the canvas. Tetteh is as tough as they come and just as World class referee Richie Davies reached the seven count made his way to his feet.

On the restart Tetteh went hard on the attack, however Decastro’s ring-craft soon came into play, spinning Tetteh so it was him with his back against the ropes and the Lincolnshire lad once more in control.

Round five was a virtual repeat of the fourth, both fighters standing toe-to toe, letting rip with huge shots to body and head right from the off. As in the previous round around the midway mark Decastro let rip with a big combination culminating with a vicious body shot to send Tetteh down to the canvas once more, this time though there was no chance that the tough Ghanaian would recover sufficiently to beat Richie Davies’ count.

The overjoyed crowd went ballistic as Decastro was presented the MBC International Championship belt by Vice Chairman, Ms. Jennifer Burton and the celebrations went on for a good forty minutes or so.

On a side note I doubt there are many times in a boxers career that they are inundated with requests of hand shakes or selfies from fans of the opposition, but Ishmael Tetteh was, even in defeat he must have felt like the champion, quite rightly so in my opinion as he gave his all throughout the contest and made this a fight to remember.

The second Championship bout was for a World Boxing Union (WBU) UK Regional title, contested by big hitting local lad Gary Silverman and Belfast’s Marty Kayes.

The height difference between the two protagonists was really noticeable, Silverman is tall, very tall, and towered over the seemingly diminutive Kayes, however the Belfast man clearly had a plan of getting on the inside as much as possible to neutralize the reach advantage of his foe and implemented it to perfection,

The Belfast man’s performance was sublime, when not on the inside Kayes’ busy movement made life exceptionally hard for Silverman.

Throughout the bout Silverman switched tactics in an attempt to give himself the space to let rip with his patented power shots, however each time he did Kayes would find a way to neutralize any advantage the Grantham lad had gained.

After eight rounds of highly entertaining boxing it came as no surprise that Richie Davies’ scorecard read 80-73 in favour of Belfast’s Marty Kayes.

Prior to Silverman-Kayes was a sensationally closely matched Cruiserweight contest between Dainius Becelis and James Higgy.

I’m a huge fan of the Cruiserweight division, mainly due to such stars as two time IBF World Champ Steve ‘USS’ Cunningham and former WBO, WBC & WBA Champion David Haye, who dominated the division back in the late noughties. In fact I love the Cruiserweights so much that a few years ago I wrote and had published the full history of the division.

Anyway that aside, on Saturday night I was overjoyed to watch two future stars of the division in action and what a closely fought contest it was.

I always hoped that one day Steve Cunningham and David Haye would fight each other as it would have been an all action affair, a true showcase for this exciting but underrated division.

Well that never happened but if it had it would have been very similar to the Becelis-Higgy bout without doubt, so you can imagine how chuffed I was to be ringside for it. Yes it was that good.

It really was a cracking, closely fought, all action affair, so much so by the start of fourth round I couldn’t separate them and honestly expected it to end up a draw, however Becelis managed to pull off a very close victory due to his performance in the final round, don’t get me wrong Higgy performed brilliantly in the fourth too, just Becelis stepped it up enough to secure the win.

Definitely Fight of the Night in my view. After four of the most exciting rounds of boxing I have seen in a long, long while Referee Matt Scriven scorecards read 39-38 in favour of Dainius Becelis – side note: the referee’s scorecards read 1st Round 10-9 in favour of Becelis, 2nd round 9-10 in favour of Higgy, 3rd round was drawn and of course round four 10-9 to Becilis.

Prior to the Becelis-Higgy bout was another closely fought contest, this time a four round middleweight bout between local lad Scott Newcombe and Stockport, Cheshire’s Will Cairns.

As with Becelis-Higgy this was another well matched all action affair that could so easily have ended up a draw, just in this case Cairns superb performance in the early rounds was enough to see him secure the bout by a single point. Referee Matt Scriven scoring it 39-38 for Will Cairns.

The second pro bout of the night see Michael Robinson take on Scunthorpe’s Andy Pirie in a Middleweight contest.

It’s proving hard for me to come up with enough superlatives as each fight on the show were superbly well matched.

As with the Newcombe-Cairns or the Becilis-Higgy bouts, this was another that could have gone either way as both warriors gave their all for every second of each and every round and it really was hard to separate them, performance or points wise, clearly not just myself as Referee Matt Scriven scored it a 39-39 draw

The opening bout of the night see Grantham’s Mickey Blackburn in action against Hyde, Cheshire’s Will O’Reilly in a four round Super Welterweight contest.

Once again the matching was spot on, and as with each and every fight on the night was a closely fought and highly exciting affair, so much so that after four enthralling rounds it really was hard to call a winner, again not just myself as Referee Matt Scriven clearly had the same dilemma as he scored it a 39-39 draw.

After the show promoter Russ Brown said.

“Other than the disappointment on not having Marianne (Marston) fight, the show was spot on.

I wanted my lads to be in competitive fights, and they were, yes I know a couple lost or drew their fights but so it goes. To my mind this is professional boxing and if they are going to make it to the top they need to have competitive fights and they did.

I’m really pleased the way the show went and would like to thank the BIBA (British & Irish Boxing Authority) officials who did a great job, especially the referees Richie Davies and Matt Scriven, who were spot on with their scoring.

Looking forward to planning the next show, believe me it will be even better.”

Have to congratulate Russ Brown and his team for not just hosting a superb event but also for the matching, It really is a breath of fresh air that a promoter doesn’t try to ‘build’ his fighters careers by having them face ‘journeymen’ for the first ten fights or so, instead preferring his lads to face proven young fighters right from the off, you just don’t see that very often these days.

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Amir Khan and the BIBA Successfully Launches Pro Boxing In Pakistan – Inaugural Event Featuring British & Irish Boxers Raises 8 Million PKR For Charity.

Amir Khan and BIBA Successfully Launches Pro Boxing In Pakistan – Inaugural Event Featuring British & Irish Boxers Raises 8 Million PKR For Charity.

It may have only been 4:30 in the morning, but the heat was stifling as the Emirates A340-300, that carried the contingent of international boxers and officials from the British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) that were to take part in a charity pro boxing event promoted by two Division World Champion Amir Khan just two days later, made it’s final approach into Karachi Quaid-E-Azam International Airport in Pakistan.

The pugilists and officials on-board flight EK 0604 from Dubai last Tuesday couldn’t have had the slightest inkling of the reception they were going to receive, not just on arrival but also over the following three days, if they did they hid it well.

As the group exited the plane and headed towards passport control along with their fellow passengers, a squad of security officers singled them out, and instead of joining the seemingly never ending conga of exhausted passengers, that were aimlessly shuffling between the rope barriers, they were lead to a security desk far removed from the passport control booths.

Normally this scenario would cause concern to a traveler, however from that moment on it became crystal clear to all those in the party that this was not the normal welcome an international traveler would receive, not by a long shot, this was the reception reserved only for the most important of VIPs.

After clearing passport control in record time and with the security detail flanking them the boxers and officials were greeted by the ever smiling Tahir Khan and his team from Khan Promotions and led to a convoy of awaiting vehicles.

Heading up the convoy was an army truck containing a team of heavily armed Rangers, under the command of the highly decorated Captain Abbas, and to the rear another heavily armed vehicle, this time a Police truck, again with a heavily armed squad aboard.

Once all aboard the team were escorted at high speed through the streets of Karachi to the palatial 5 Star Pearl-Continental hotel, where even though having an army and police escort each vehicle was checked thoroughly by the hotel security team.

Once clearing the security gate the BIBA team were lead into the opulent foyer, which was close to the dimensions of a premiership football pitch, where each received the key cards to their stately rooms.

Whilst some went straight to their beds for some much deserved sleep, BIBA CEO and Executive Vice President Gianluca Di Caro and World Boxing Union (WBU) Super Flyweight World Champion Tasif Khan received their media itinerary for the coming days, which started just 90 minutes later, where they were to join Amir Khan as studio guests of the highly popular radio City FM89 Morning Show host Khalid Malik, for those in the UK think Chris Evans level of popularity and double it.

Following the thirty minute segment with Khalid Malik, Amir and Gianluca were then spirited to a local TV news studio for further interviews before returning to the sumptuous Pearl-Continental for lunch.

Following lunch, Amir was joined by his father, Shah, Liverpool’s Dayle Gallagher, who was one of the boxers on the event and BIBA’s Gianluca Di Caro to be part of a thirty minute interview, hosted by the exquisite Anoushey Ashraf for her hugely popular chat show.

Just an hour or so later Gianluca and Dayle were joined by Amir’s brother Haroon ‘King’ Khan, WBU Champ Tasif Khan, Preston Cruiserweight Stuart Maddox, Belfast’s Phil Townley, World class referee Richie Davies and coach Stephen Speed in the lobby, ahead of another escorted trip across Karachi, this time for a meet and greet at the Dolmen Mall in Clifton.

None of the group could possibly have been prepared for the reception that awaited them, as literally thousands of fans crammed into the huge three level American style shopping mall, each and every one of them greeted the boxers and officials as if they were the biggest of Hollywood stars.

Once in the Greenhill prepared show ring each was inundated for requests of selfies or to pose for photos for a good thirty minutes or so before the star attraction himself, Mr. Amir Khan made his entrance to rapturous applause and cheers.

After Amir had finished his personal greeting to the assembled fans he was joined by Haroon, Tasif, Dayle and Stuart at the front table to sign autographs and pose for selfies with the fans, whilst Phil Townley, Richie Davies, Stephen Speed and Gianluca Di Caro moved around the ring posing for selfies with the overwhelmingly welcoming fans.

Once the meet and greet was over, Amir and the BIBA entourage were escorted at high speed back to the Pearl-Continental, to have a quick shower and change ahead of another special event, where Amir opened the majestic new Tai-Pan Chinese restaurant and each and everyone of the BIBA team were special guests also.

The following morning, whilst Amir and his father Shah were being interviewed live on the Geo Morning Show, BIBA Chief Inspector Stephen Smith and Scunthorpe Cruiserweight Jody Meikle had arrived at Karachi Airport, where they too received the full VIP treatment including the high speed Army and Police escort.

Shortly after lunch Amir, his team, the Boxers and BIBA officials made the short walk to the Zaver conference hall at the Pearl-Continental for the press conference.

To outside observers it must have seemed that the press conference was for the biggest of the World Championship contests, as there were so many TV crews and media in attendance as well as a host of dignitaries.

After Amir had made his presentation about the event, the Amir Khan Trust and it’s aims, he opened up the floor for questions, whilst most were about the event one of the journalists put him on the spot by asking, “as it was announced today that professional boxers can now box at the Olympics would he be representing Pakistan in Rio” Amir diplomatically answered that it would be an honour, but he has contractual obligations with his promoter to consider, before adding, that whilst he would love to represent Pakistan in Rio, that he really believes that the opportunity should be there for a young fighter, as it was such an honour when he had been presented the opportunity to compete in the Olympics for Great Britain, when he was just seventeen and that was the springboard for his professional career, as it would be for any Pakistani boxer that competed at Rio 2016.

As with every media event the BIBA contingent were treated as if they were major World stars with each being interviewed and photographed by the media.

After a quick meal Amir and the BIBA team were once more escorted at high speed by the army and police across Karachi to a public workout at Frere Hall in Clifton.

Once again there were so many media, along with thousands of fans in attendance as the boxers individually entered the ring for the workout, after which each was inundated with media interview requests and selfies with the fans.

This event was so popular that it overran by quite a margin and it would not be until just after 11pm that Amir and the fighters etc finally were escorted back to the Pearl-Continental.

With just the single media event on Thursday, as it was fight night, Amir and the boxers gathered at the elegant venue for the seriously swanky dinner event at the Pearl-Continental Marquee Conference Hall for a media photo opportunity.

The BIBA fighters, who had all been presented with team outfits courtesy of Khan Promotions sponsor Greenhill, happily posed for individual shoots as well as group photos with Amir.

After the shoot the team had a couple of hours to chill or grab a bite to eat before the big night, well most of them, as Tahir and Gianluca still had work to do.

The night started with Amir making a speech and a presentation of the Amir Khan Trust project to raise the money to build water wells in the region of Thar, an area that has been described as the poorest in the World.

Originally there were to be four professional bouts, however that was not to be as prior to leaving the UK Haroon picked up an injury. To make matters worse just days before the fight Tasif’s opponent Francis Croes tore a ligament in his arm, forcing him to pull out.

Some quick calls from Tahir see a female amateur bout, featuring two seventeen year old friends from Lyari, Saira and Ambreen being added to the bill and opening the show

Before the pro fights though the important matter of raising funds for Amir Khan Trust, firstly from donations and then through an auction of Amir’s personal belongings, such as signed shorts, gloves, paintings, posters etc

Both were a massive success, with the Amir Khan Trust receiving donations that amounted to the equivalent of twenty much needed water wells and the auction itself incredibly raising close to 8 Million PKR.

The historic first pro boxing bout to take place in Pakistan featured Liverpool’s unbeaten Dayle Gallagher against Belfast’s Phil Townley in a four round Middleweight contest. Officiating the contest was no less than World renowned Referee Richie Davies.

Right from the off the two protagonists went to war, the experienced Irishman going straight on the attack, the Liverpool youngster kept his cool and got behind his jab to keep the ever advancing Phil Townley at bay.

Dayle, initially taking a controlled countering approach, then proceeded to showcase his exceptional skills against his much more experienced opponent, don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all one way traffic but the Liverpool youngster put on a sublime controlled performance that belied his tender years.

After four superb exciting rounds of boxing Referee Richie Davies declared the bout 40-37 in favour of Dayle Gallagher.

The second pro bout of the night, see Scunthorpe’s Jody Meikle in action against Preston’s Stuart Maddox in a four round Cruiserweight contest.

What an intense closely fought contest, both protagonists went at it with gusto, much of the time it could have been fought in a phone booth as they stood toe to toe slugging it out.

After four rounds of pugilistic action Referee Richie Davies scored the bout 39-36 in favour of Stuart Maddox, which whilst without doubt correct doesn’t project just how close a fight this was.

Finally singers Bilal Saeed and Adeel Chaudhry performed sensational live sets as the guest enjoyed their sumptuous dinners.

Speaking after the event, Amir Khan said

“First of all I want to say thank you to all the lads that took part, they are all winners in my eyes, flying out here to Pakistan and fighting here, even Tasif, who didn’t get to fight, as his opponent Francis Croes was injured the day before he was due to fly over, however Tasif still came here and has been part of all the build up to this big fight, because he could have stayed in the hotel and not done anything, he’s got family here in Pakistan but he said no, he wanted to stay with the team.

This is what Boxing brings, we’re like one big family, you know we all stay together.

I’m so glad I’ve done this in Pakistan, because it’s opened a new door for me to do more boxing events. I’m definitely going to do it again with BIBA, I’d love to come back to Pakistan and give Pakistan the fights they want.

Tonight’s event raised a good amount of money for a place called Thar, the reason I am doing it here is because Thar is rated one of the poorest regions in the World. The Government don’t help the place and nobody talks about this place.

Kids are dying, thousands of kids are dying every month you know there’s no clean water, it’s like a desert, we are going to provide water wells, it doesn’t cost that much but will save so many lives and that will make me so happy, so I am doing this for them. I’ve enjoyed doing the boxing event, so we can build these wells, the reason we and the boxers flew over from England is for the people of Thar.

It shows a lot of balls these fighters and officials to come over here, because the media implies that Pakistan is not a safe place to visit, but these boys have shown balls by coming and fighting here to help me to raise money for the people of Thar.

Not just that but it’s all about doing these promotional events and putting on these fights in order to introduce a new sport, professional boxing, to Pakistan. This will motivate all the kids to go to the gymnasiums and our academies, so it works in many ways.”

Amir then went on to thank the companies and individuals that got behind the historic event.

“I would like to thank HBL for being the lead sponsor of the HBL Superstar Boxing Event, IRIS Event Management, Reema Siddiqui, Omar Satti and Xenith PR for putting together such a great event, BIBA for bringing international boxers to Pakistan, The 42 – Day Challenge and Phegency PR for the public workout event, Hashoo Group, J.Fragrances, Greenhill, National, Dolmen, Red Crescent, BlueEX, Careem, City FM89, FHM and last but not least the Rangers for their support.”

Final word has to go to BIBA’s CEO & Executive Vice President Gianluca Di Caro.

“I cannot begin to express how much I admire and respect Amir, throughout the many media events not only has he given his time so freely to sign autographs or have his photo taken with the fans, but still found the time to spend an extraordinary amount of time meeting with sponsors and dignitaries to ensure the event successfully went ahead.

Amir’s passion for the project has been infectious, so much so that every single one of the boxers and officials that came over have already committed themselves to help raise further funds for the Amir Khan Trust, in fact Dayle Gallagher donated his purse for the night, Stuart Maddox has asked that £100 from each of his future purses go to the AKT and Stephen Speed is paying for one of the wells to be built, and as an organisation we are going to raise funds at every future event we sanction.

I also have to say I am overwhelmed by the reception we have received here in Karachi, I have never experienced anything like this in my life, I will treasure the memories of my time here, I have loved every second of it, I have met so many wonderful people here and have to say the fans at the Dolmen Mall and the public workout at Frere Hall were amazing.

I would like to say a very special thanks to Captain Abbas and his team of Rangers and the Sindh Police for looking after us so well on the special events away from the hotel and also Dr Muzzummil Pervaiz and the Pakistan Red Crescent, who provided the medical coverage for the team, as well as to, Arshad Nazeer and Imran Khan from the Pearl-Continental Marco Polo Restaurant and Pearl-Continental’s Director of Food and Beverages Mr. Muhammad Aslam Khan for their exceptional hospitality and introducing us to some fantastic local delicacies.

I just hope that our being here will open the door to more International sportspeople coming to Pakistan to compete, as well as hope that people from around the world come and visit Pakistan, it’s a beautiful country and the people here are so friendly and welcoming, I know I can’t wait to come back again and will do so in the near future for sure.”

For further information on the Amir Khan Foundation (UK) and the Amir Khan Trust (Pakistan) please go to www.amirkhanworld.com

This event is sanctioned by the British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA). For further information please go to www.boxbiba.com

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