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.

Khan and Newell in Sensational Knockout Form Reign Supreme in Bradford

Khan and Newell in Sensational Knockout Form Reign Supreme in Bradford

Report: Gianluca Di Caro
Photos Courtesy of Joe Ibbotson

The boxing scene in the North of England is really booming, especially around the cities of Leeds and Bradford. One of the main reasons for the increase of professional boxing events in the area is due to Bradford’s very own reigning World Boxing Union (WBU), Global Boxing Union (GBU) and World Boxing Confederation (WBC) World Champion Tasif Khan, who for the past couple of years has been working closely with Leeds based promoter Bridie Murtagh to bring stylish Boxing Dinner Shows to the area.

The latest of these took place at the Royal Taj, formerly the Connaught Rooms, in Bradford, which not only featured the aforementioned Tasif Khan himself in action, against Tanzania’s Julias Kisarawe, but also heralded the return of unbeaten Lightweight prospect Justin Newell from Leeds, who faced Latvian Aleksandrs Birkenbergs

Besides the local lads on the card, exciting Super Welterweight prospect Chris Wood from Middlesbrough was in action against Belfast’s Marty Kayes, however two top class International bouts scheduled for the event, a ten round Middleweight contest between Ishmael Tetteh and Philip Kotey, as well as an eight round Welterweight contest between Frank Dodzi and Justice Addy, failed to materialise due to visas for three of the boxers failing to arrive in time.

Whilst disappointing that these two fights didn’t go ahead, there was more than enough action to keep the fans happy, as promoter Bridie Murtagh arranged for two exhibition bouts featuring local lads to replace the Internationals ahead of the pro element.

First up was Chris Wood against Marty Kayes in a four rounder.

What a cracking start to the pro section, it was all action right from the opening bell, Wood was clearly fired up and went on the attack, closing down his far more experienced opponent before letting rip with a vast array of combinations at every conceivable opportunity. Kayes though is as savvy as they come, would cover up and seemed more than content to let the fired up youngster get his shots off before countering.

After four scintillating rounds the referee’s scorecard unsurprisingly read as a 40-36 points victory for the Teesider Chris Wood.

Next up was unbeaten Justin Newell in a six rounder against the very tough Latvian Aleksandrs Birkenbergs.

Newell was on fire, slick movement and very fast hands – Birkenbergs was no walk over and landed a cracking right hand about midway through the round, which lit the blue touch-paper for Newell, who went hard on the attack throwing some tasty big shots to body and head, which ultimately led to Birkenbergs taking a visit to the canvas. This kid’s tough, he was straight up and going toe to toe with Newell until the end of the round.

Round two was fantastic to watch, both lads giving no quarter – beautiful boxing from both, but Newell’s class proved just too much for the plucky Latvian as the Leeds lad piled some serious pressure in the second half of the fight before letting rip with big double handed salvos that sent Birkenbergs to the deck in the dying seconds of the round, no matter how hard he tried Birkenbergs just couldn’t make the count – great win on his return to the fray for Newell who won by TKO, the time would you believe 2 minutes and 59 seconds of round two.

The headline fight see WBU, GBU and WBC World Champion take on Tanzania’s Julias Kisarawe in a ten round non-championship contest, instead of the scheduled twelve round World Boxing Confederation (WBC) Super Flyweight title defence for Khan, due to lateness of the visa arriving for Kisarawe to complete the necessary Championship paperwork for the contest to be sanctioned by the WBC.

First round started fast and see Kisarawe taking the fight to Khan, however the Bradford lad stood his ground and picked his shots for maximum effect

More of the same in round two, except this time it was Khan that took the fight to Kisarawe.

Round three see Khan really start to get in a flow, regularly backing his opponent up before letting rip with wickedly fast double handed salvos, the power and speed in Khan’s shots finally had the desired effect and the super tough Tanzanian took a very brief trip to the canvas.

On the restart Kisarawe went hard on the attack, throwing seriously solid lefts in an attempt to do unto Khan what the Bradford lad did to him moments before (with 14 KO wins on his record Kisarawe is very capable of doing just that)

Round four was an outright war and fascinating to watch, as was round five and six but for very different reasons. Khan stepped not just one gear but at least two or three and corralled the Tanzanian into a corner and just plain bombarded him with double handed Exocets throughout

More of the same in round seven but this time Khan managed to penetrate Kisarawe’s world class defence and sent him to the canvas for the second time.

Kisarawe managed to make the count but it was clear for all to see that he was in some distress, so much so that referee James Ancliff had no option but to stop the contest on the one minute twelve second mark.

What followed then was a good thirty minute celebration in the ring by Tasif Khan, his team AND many of the fans!!!!

Have to say the Khan/Murtagh co-promoted shows I’ve attended have always been top class, however this event, even though a couple of fights short, was by far the best one yet, the fights were all beautifully matched all action affairs, what more could any fan of the pugilistic arts wish for. Can’t wait for the next, which I hear is going to be in December.

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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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McAllister Secures Third World Crown, as Robb Exacts Revenge On Higgy and Beattie Wins First Title In Aberdeen.

Fight Report: McAllister Secures Third World Crown, as Robb Exacts Revenge On Higgy and Beattie Wins First Title In Aberdeen.

Report by Gianluca Di Caro
Photography by Stephen Dobson

The ridiculously inclement weather on Saturday night didn’t deter the local fans turning out in force at the stylish Beach Ballroom in Aberdeen to show their support for local hero, former two division World Champion Lee ‘The Aberdeen Assassin” McAllister, as he sought to secure the World Boxing Foundation (WBF) Welterweight World Crown on just his fourth outing since returning to the fray in November last year, following a close to four year sabbatical from the sport due to injury.

McAllister, who won the World Boxing Foundation Intercontinental title back in February to add to the many accolades that fill his overflowing trophy cabinet, such as British Masters, BBBofC Scottish Area, WBF International as well as Commonwealth and WBU World Crowns at both Lightweight and Super Lightweight, he had secured in the first part of his career.

On Saturday evening McAllister faced former WBC Youth World title challenger, the big hitting Ghanaian Frank Dodzi, who had nineteen wins on his record, seventeen of whom he beat in knockout fashion, including a victory over WBA Pan-African Champion Dodzi Kemeh, the only loss sustained by Kemeh to date.

The atmosphere inside the Beach Ballroom was electric as MC Douglas McAdam announced the impending headline bout. The Scottish fans in full party mood gave Dodzi a noisy and genuinely warm reception as he made his way to the ring, however just minutes later when their main man’s impending entrance was announced the decibel levels went through the roof.

Right from the off the Ghanaian went on the attack and clearly intent on yet another knockout victory to add to his record as he let rip with big looping right hands. McAllister is as ring savvy as they come and with exquisite movement glided out to avoid the looming haymakers before gliding back in to let rip with a big left to the body followed by silky smooth combinations to body and head.

The second round started at a more realistic pace and took the form of a tactical chess match from both sides, Dodzi utilizing his height and reach advantage in an effort to keep the highly mobile McAllister at a comfortable range as he sought the opening to let rip with another powerful exocet style attack, McAllister on the other hand danced his way around picking his punches and landing them at will.

As the round progressed McAllister began targeting the body of the Ghanaian with great effect, so much so that in the second half of the round the Scot was able to land a pin point accurate shot to the solar plexus, forcing Dodzi to take a knee in order t get his breath back.

The crowd went ballistic, each believing that victory was in sight for their man, but no, on the restart Dodzi regrouped and took a more defensive approach, enough to see him make it safely to the end of the round.

Round three started in similar vein to the second, however the canny Scot had clearly sussed out his opponents weakness and started to work on opening the Ghanaian’s excellent defenses, before letting rip with a massive left to send Dodzi crumbling to the deck.

McAllister ran straight to the corner to celebrate in front of the partisan crowd, however his celebrations were cut short as Dodzi somehow found the strength to begin rising to his feet.

McAllister halted his premature celebrations and prepared to resume battle, but just as he did Dodzi dropped to his knees and clearly in distress signaled he was unable to continue at which pont referee Lee Murtagh waived the bout off on the one minute and seven second mark.

Immediately the crowd jumped to their feet once more as McAllister resumed his victory celebrations once more.

Preceding the McAllister-Dodzi World title fight was a British Masters Cruiserweight Championship rematch, featuring current Champion Manchester’s James Higgy against old foe Nairn’s Sandy Robb.

Higgy secured the Masters Crown, over Robb, back in April with a good solid 98-94 points victory, many observers were expecting the same result after the Mancunian dominated the first stanza in similar vein to their first encounter.

The local fans kept urging their man on in the second but Robb seemed more than happy to just soak up the punishing shots peppering his frame and just let rip with a big right hand when an opportunity presented itself.

Going into the third Robb forcefully maneuvered his way to the centre of the ring and began backing Higgy onto the ropes, before letting rip with powerful hooks and uppercuts at every opportunity.

Robb utilized similar tactics in the fourth and continually walked his man back before letting rip with powerful close range shots to the head, then just as the round was heading to it’s conclusion Robb let rip with a massive shot to the body to send the Champ to the deck in spectacular fashion.

Initially there was much concern about Higgy’s condition, as he lay prostrate in the ring that Referee Lee Murtagh waived the fight off at the 2 minute and 35 second mark so that the medical team could assist the distressed fighter

Once recovered and seated in his corner, even though it was a body shot that ended the bout, the concerned officials decided that an immediate scan with a portable infra-scanner, that detects bleeds to the brain, must be undertaken in the ring, rather than the usual post fight in the changing room due to the number of big punches to the head Higgy had sustained in the preceding round.

Prior to the Higgy-Robb Masters title fight was another Masters championship bout, this time between the Granite City’s very own Nathan Beattie and Riga, Latvia’s Igors Dubovs, for the International Masters Novice Crown.

Dubovs started hard and fast taking the fight to Beattie, however the Scot kept his cool, utilizing his powerful jab to keep the hard charging Latvian from inflicting any major damage.

For the first minute or so both men fought hard to secure centre ring, much to the delight of the partisan crowd, Beattie then began to exert his authority, landing a couple of cracking head shots that had the desired effect of forcing Dubovs to raise his guard, leaving an opportunity for Beattie to switch his attention to the body, which he took in magnificent style with a short sharp shot that sent the Latvian to the canvas gasping for breath. Dubovs tried so hard to beat the count but just couldn’t catch his breath enough to do so, leaving referee Sammy Hill no option but to waive the fight off on the one minute and fifty four second mark.

There was one further fight scheduled, between debuting Super Flyweight Andrew Cuthbert and Manchester’s Thomas Murry, however Murry had failed to make it to the venue due to transport problems.

However, Belfast’s Marty Kayes, who was at the event as part of Lee McAllister’s corner team, stepped up to the plate and offered to fight the stellar former amateur, albeit in a contest deemed by the officials to be classified as an exhibition.

It may have been classified as an ‘exhibition’, but clearly neither protagonist was interested in taking part in just a glorified sparring session, as believe me this fight was as competitive as they come, both men going for it full on.

Cuthbert showcased his immense skills in front of his home crowd, don’t for one minute think it was all one-sided though, it wasn’t by a long shot, anyone that has seen Kayes in action will know what I mean, when he’s in the ring it’s to fight, end of, but the young Scot boxed exquisitely throughout the four rounds to rightfully have his hand held up as victor by Referee Edward Law, who scored the bout 40-36 points in his favour.

All in all a fantastic event, great venue, great crowd and even though the main Championship bouts all ended early, each fight was all action and ultra competitive so the fans went home with their appetite for pugilistic action well and truly sated.

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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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Up Close and Personal with Rising QBL Star Gareth Gardner.

Up Close and Personal with Rising QBL Star Gareth Gardner.
Interview by Gianluca Di Caro
Photo courtesy of Queensbury Boxing League
 
 
For this edition of ‘Up Close and Personal’, the featured boxer is New Addington, Surrey’s top prospect Gareth Gardner, who is set to face Grantham’s Mickey Blackburn on the Queensbury Professional Boxing Series, that heads up the Ross Minter and Alan Foley promoted Queensbury Boxing League NO MERCY season opener event at Effingham Park Hotel, in Felbridge, Crawley, West Sussex on Saturday 4th February 2017.
 
I was very much aware of Gareth and his fights against Marty Kayes and Ideh Ochuko, however on speaking with QBL’s Ross Minter, who really piqued my interest when he said:
 
“Gareth Gardner is a true professional in all aspects of the word.
 
He has a very close training team who work incredibly hard together in the gym and also get out there to help promote Gareth which helps bring people to the shows and they are all very good to work with.
 
Gareth has a good fan base, which we have helped to build during his time in the league, who are very passionate, so it is always a great atmosphere when he fights.
 
After doing it all in the Queensbury Boxing League, we all decided it was time to turn Gareth professional.
 
Gareth campaigned mostly at middleweight (11.6st) and also at Light Middleweight (11st) during his time in the league. He is now boxing at his more natural weigh of Welterweight (10.7st), which means that he is no longer boxing people bigger than him, which is really showing in the pro circuit, with Gareth dominating the fights easier than he did when against the bigger opponents in the League.
 
Gareth should have a busy year this year and we are hoping that we can step him up to title honours towards the end of the year if all goes to plan.
We are really looking forward to seeing Gareth do the business on the 4th February.”
 
Anyone that knows Ross Minter, knows he’s a straight talker, he leaves any QBL hype to their publicist, so what he said really caught my attention, especially as I had intended to attend the Queensbury Boxing League Season end event last December, which he and Tommy Jacobs featured on.
 
Unfortunately that event fell on the same night of another event I was committed to be at in Wales, so didn’t get to be there, but on hearing he is in action on the QBL series opener on the 4th February, I decided to make sure that not only did I get to know more about Gareth but also put the show in my diary to ensure I’m there to watch him in action.
 
Gareth, who had a stellar sixty bout amateur career, which culminated in him fighting internationally for the England Amateur Squad, began boxing on the Queensbury Boxing League shows in 2011. During this time Gareth fought fourteen times, winning all but one, as well as secured five QBL championships in three different weight divisions.
 
In June 2016 Gareth turned professional and on his debut faced Belfast’s Marty Kayes in a four rounder on the QBL event at the Millennium Arena in West Sussex.
 
No easy fight for a debutant for sure, Marty is a tough customer at the best of times, as proved when he challenged and beat Gary Silverman for the WBU UK Regional championship just a few weeks later, yet Gareth came through the test to secure his first professional victory by a shutout points decision.
In December, on the Eurosport broadcast Queensbury Boxing League season finale event at the K2 Arena in Crawley, West Sussex, Gareth made his second professional outing, this time against Croydon’s Ideh Ochuko in a six rounder.
 
Gareth pressured Ideh from the opening bell and kept the pressure up for three full rounds, so much so that due to an injury picked up during the battle with Gareth, Ideh retired in the corner immediately at the end of the third stanza.
 
With two excellent wins under his belt, next up for Gareth is a showdown with Grantham’s Mickey Blackburn, on the upcoming Queensbury Boxing League NO MERCY season opener at the Effingham Park Hotel on Saturday 4th February.
 
So with the scene setting all done and dusted, let’s move on to the business in hand, the interview with QBL star Mr. Gareth Gardner.
 
Gianluca
Thank you for taking the time to talk with me today, whilst obviously the interview is about your professional boxing career and your upcoming fight against Mickey Blackburn I feel that it would be good to start with your amateur boxing career and as such could you tell the readers a little about your non-professional career?
 
Gareth
I started boxing at the age of 9 years old at the New Addington Boxing Gym.
 
During that time I had 60 amateur bouts, boxed for London South East numerous times and represented England against Russia.
 
I then started boxing for the Queensbury Boxing League about 5 years ago. I had 14 fights for them and lost one bout, which was a Quest Knock Out Tournament.
 
I held five titles for the Queensbury Boxing League at three different weights – Super Middleweight, Middleweight and Light Middleweight.
 
 
Gianluca
Back in June 2016 you made your professional debut against Belfast’s Marty Kayes. Can you let the readers know how you felt, not only making your pro-debut but also securing your first Pro win, as well as your view of how the fight went?
 
Gareth
It was an exciting night for my team. It was something we’ve always been working towards, but had never happened up to now.
 
The fight went the full four rounds and Marty was a tough and durable opponent.
 
We were very pleased we got the win.
 
 
Gianluca
In December, you had your second pro-outing, against Ideh Ochuko. Whilst I wasn’t able to make the event due to being in Wales for a different event, but had heard that it was a cracking fight until Ideh was forced to retire in the third, as such can you tell us a little about the fight?
 
Gareth
Ideh was meant to be a step up in opponent for my first six round fight, but he didn’t make the fourth round due to my constant pressure and power.
 
 
Gianluca
As I mentioned previously you’re scheduled to face Mickey Blackburn on the Ross Minter and Alan Foley promoted Queensbury Boxing League Professional Boxing Series at the Effingham Park Hotel in Crawley on the 4th February. Do you know anything about your opponent and how do you see this fight unfolding?
 
Gareth
I don’t know a great deal on Mickey. My coach has watched video footage of him boxing, so we’ve been working on various things in the gym on the back of that.
We’ve been told Mickey will go the full six rounds, but we’ll see come the 4th of Feb.
 
 
Gianluca
So out of the fights you’ve had to date, whether Pro or not, which has been your favourite and why?
 
Gareth
It would have to be on the Queensbury Boxing League’s show at Alley Pally London, against Sam Holloway, which was a very close fight. I also learnt a lot about myself during that particular bout.
 
However I have loved every fight I’ve ever been in!
 
 
Gianluca
How would you describe your fighting style?
 
Gareth
I’m a come forward aggressive fighter, but I can also box on the back foot if need be. Which I think makes me an all round fighter.
 
 
Gianluca
Should you be successful on the 4th February, you will be unbeaten in three, whilst perhaps it’s 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.
 
Gareth
I’m hoping to be very busy this year and fighting ten-twelve rounds by the end of the year. Hopefully title shots coming early next year.
 
 
Gianluca
Moving away from the fights themselves, who are the main people that make up Team Gardner?
 
Gareth
My team has been pretty much the same since I first started my boxing career and consists of my Dad (Will), John and Chris being my coaches.
 
My Wife and children, they are so supportive. Plus help from Warriors and Juggernauts Gyms.
 
Last but no means least all my fans that buy tickets for my fights; I would never be able to do this without their support! My loyal fans!
 
 
Gianluca
Where do you train and what is your training schedule?
 
Gareth
I train at Warriors Boxing Gym in Felbridge four days a week, plus running, hill sprints, swimming and sparing at various different gyms.
 
I also have a full time manual job and work 6-7 days a week.
 
 
Gianluca
What would you say your favourite part of training is?
 
Gareth
I don’t have a favourite part of training it all hurts, its always painful in our gym lol!
 
However a gym full of fighters chasing their dreams, is always good to be around.
 
 
Gianluca
Outside boxing, what is your favourite sport?
 
Gareth
Carp fishing is my hobby, It’s the only time I get to relax and unwind.
 
 
Gianluca
Besides fishing how else do you relax outside boxing?
 
Gareth
Catching up on lost sleep and being around family.
 
 
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?
 
Gareth
Yes, Social Media is great for advertising fights; it would be hard to get around to see all these people with such a busy schedule.
 
 
Gianluca
Finally is there anything you want to say to your fans?
 
Gareth
Thanks for all your support over the years, Love ya Team Gardner.
 
Gareth Gardner versus Mickey Blackburn features on the Queensbury Professional Boxing Series that heads up the Ross Minter and Alan Foley promoted Queensbury Boxing League NO MERCY event at Effingham Park Hotel, West Park Road, Copthorne, West Sussex RH10 3EU on Saturday 4th February 2017.
 
Tickets, priced £35, £60 and £75 are available direct from Gareth, any fighter boxing on the NO MERCY event or from the Queensbury Boxing League Ticket Line: Tel: 0203 751 8599
 

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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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Carney, Clayton and Russo In Knockout Form at BIBA Inaugural Event

Carney, Clayton and Russo In Knockout Form at BIBA Inaugural Event

On Friday night, at the Kyle Gallagher (Fight Club) promoted event at the Devonshire House Hotel in Liverpool, the British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) successfully sanctioned their inaugural event, since taking over the British and Irish operations of the Malta Boxing Commission (MBC) earlier this month.

The first bout of the night, see Lee Clayton make his professional debut against two-bout veteran Thomas Murry.

The two combatants went at it hammer and tongs from the off, both men vying for centre ring with a passion. As the round progressed into the second minute Clayton began to dominate, letting rip with vicious body shots whenever the opportunity arose.

By the third minute Clayton stepped it up even further and then on around two minute thirty mark Clayton landed a peach of a body shot to send Murry down. The Mancunian lad initially attempted to rise but was clearly in a lot of pain and motioned to Referee Jimmy Byrne that he couldn’t continue and the bout was waived off at the 2 minute and 42 second mark.

ClaytonMurry

Local lad Dayle Gallagher faced Belfast’s Marty Kayes in the second bout of the night. From the opening bell right through to the closing bell of the bout these two warriors battled it out much to the delight of the packed house, after four very closely fought rounds Referee Jimmy Byrne scored the bout 40-36 in favour of Dayle Gallagher, whose record now stands as 2-0

GallagherKayes

Third bout of the night see Hyde, Cheshire’s Will O’Reilly make his professional debut against Newark, Nottingham’s Vaclav Skromach.

Again another full on war from start to finish, both men giving their all for the full four rounds, as with the Clayton-Hayes bout each round was very close, in this case so close that Referee Jimmy Byrne scored the bout 39-37 in favour of debut kid Will O’Reilly.

OReillySkromach

Next up see Liverpool’s Lee Boyce against Castlerae, Ireland’s John Waldron. Another cracking all action bout.

Boyce dominated the majority of the first round, using his exceptional movement to keep the Irishman out of range, before moving forward and letting rip with clean sharp shots to body or head.

Many in attendance thought it was going to be an early finish, after Waldron was sent down following a vicious body shot in the first, but the Irishman is of much tougher stock, as proved in the second round which Waldron won.

Third and fourth rounds were full on Battle Royales with Boyce capturing one and Waldron the other, so after four sensational rounds of boxing it was clearly going to be close, so no surprise that Referee Jimmy Byrne’s scorecards showed Boyce the victor by a very close 38-37, the first round knockdown being the difference. A seriously great fight and surely a rematch in the future should be on the cards.

BoyceWaldron

The fifth bout of the night saw former England Amateur star Nathan Russo making his debut against the equally talented and also debuting James McDonald.

The first minute or so of the bout was sensational to put it mildly, first one lad dominated the other and then visa versa, however as the round progressed Russo began to get major success with vicious body-shots and big lefts to the head, so much so around the two minute thirty mark Russo stepped it up even further, forcing McDonald to cover up much more than he had in the early parts of the round, then just as the bell to end the round was about to be rung Russo let rip with a huge left to the head, sending McDonald straight down and out.

Referee Jimmy Byrne realized the instant the punch landed it was a knockout and dived straight to the prone lads side to check his condition before signaling to the ringside medical team to enter the ring to attend to the injured warrior.

The crowd stood respectfully quietly, as did Nathan Russo, as the medical team went to work on the prone McDonald, but when eventually McDonald was assisted to the stool some two or three minutes later the entire crowd to a man (or woman) stood and applauded.

Although James McDonald seemed to be fully recovered, he was taken to hospital for checks to be on the safe side.

RussoMcDonald

The final bout of the night see local lad Jay Carney against pro debuting Jak Johnson, from Newcastle.

Everyone was expecting this to be a serious good fight, as these two lads had fought each other previously in the amateurs, and they were to proved right.

What a first round, these two really went for it, both lads boxing beautifully throughout. Early in the second Johnson began to take control, landing some pinpoint perfect shots, Carney though is as tough as they come and weathered the onslaught and as the round progressed fought back magnificently and began to regain control.

Around the two minute thirty mark Carney stepped things up and started landing some big shots, causing Johnson to cover up, however this tactic opened up the body, which Carney took advantage of, throwing a huge body shot to send Johnson down.

As with Thomas Murry, initially Johnson tried to rise but was too winded to do so. Referee Jimmy Byrne waived the fight off on the two minute forty five second mark of the second round.

CarneyJohnson

Following the event British & Irish Boxing Authority Vice President and CEO Gianluca Di Caro spoke briefly about the event.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better event to launch the British & Irish Boxing Authority, Kyle (promoter Kyle Gallagher) had put together a fantastic show, he’s without doubt one of the UK’s best promoters, his attention to detail is first class.

The venue was superb and the matching of the bouts was first class and more importantly, well to us, featured both British and Irish boxers, so we are over the moon he has chosen to be with the British & Irish Boxing Authority.

I have nothing but praise for every single fighter tonight, every single one of them fought their hearts out and put on a great show.

I am pleased to report that James McDonald is fine, but have to admit I was worried as it looked quite serious at the time, and to be honest if it wasn’t for the quick reactions of Jimmy (Referee Jimmy Byrne), John (Dr John Oates) and Chris (Trauma Medic Chris Say) and his team it could so easily have been.

With our first event done and dusted, it’s onwards and upwards. Events are coming in thick and fast, so much so that next weekend we have two events, Lee Murtagh’s event at the Aria Suite in Leeds, that will feature the pro debut of the excellent Sophie Varley as well as a full card of well matched bouts on the Friday and on Saturday Thomas Melville’s quadruple WBF title headed show at the Lagoon Leisure Centre in Paisley.”

For further information on the British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) please see the official website; www.boxbiba.com and also please follow on Facebook www.facebook.com/BibaBoxing and Twitter www.twitter.com/BIBABoxing

 

 

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