It’s been a while since I’ve been sitting ringside at QBL and by the end of the evening I can honestly say I’d missed it! This particular evening was without doubt, the most explosive I’ve attended to date, with more heavy-handed toe to toe action than ever before.
The first fight was between Mark Blundell and Paul Horry at heavyweight and was over in about 30 seconds as Mark knocked Paul down twice. The ref made the right call to cease the contest from progressing any further. Both fighters were out on their debut, so it will be interesting to see how far Mark progresses from here.
Next up was Hassan Abdi versus Jon Martin for the vacant regional light welterweight title. The first round I had Martin winning with a slick southpaw jab and taking control of the centre of the ring. However, Abdi came back for a very spirited second round, with some great toe to toe action, which in my eyes had him edging that round. By the last round both fighters were a little tired, but certainly not finished as they went for a full on scrap for two minutes. I had the fight a draw, but certainly wouldn’t begrudge any judge who gave it a majority decision either way – which is exactly what happened. Jon Martin won by majority, but I’d love to see a rematch of these two fighters as their style made for a thrilling contest.
Next up was Joe Robertson versus Jamie Andrews at light middle. Joe’s debut turned out to be a baptism of fire as Andrews destroyed him in the opening round. His head never cleared after the first knockdown and that was that really.
Fourth contest was between heavyweights Miles Gordon Darby and Matt Hilliker. Despite Matt’s immense muscular frame, Miles was simply too ring crafty, holding the centre of the right behind a nonstop ramrod jab and utilising his right hand lead with great precision. By the end of the third round, despite Matt putting up a gallant effort, his face was reddened and his nose bleeding. The verdict – unanimous decision for Darby.
Next up was Mitch Duffus against Ben Vickers, for the vacant national cruiserweight title. Before the fighters could break out too much of a sweat, Vickers exploded an immense right hand to Duffus jaw, which sent him through the ropes facing the crowd. It was obvious he was never going to recover and the bout was halted soon after.
The knockout destruction trail didn’t finish there. Next up was Norman Effs against Dan Stalford at light middle. For the first round Effs gave Stalford a boxing lesson, keeping him at range and peppering him with punches at will. Apart from looking about three weight divisions bigger than Stalford it almost looked a bit of a mismatch. But this is boxing and anything can happen – and it did! Soon after the bell rang for round two, Stalford nicely worked his way under Effs jab and threw a textbook counter right which rocked Effs hard. The barrage he followed up with ensured he finished the job and Stalford won with one of the best unforeseen turnarounds in a long time! This fight could have great rematch potential…
Seventh fight of the night was at middleweight between Joel Wanderema and Daniel Spencer, and for me was the fight of the night. Joel was like Joe Frazier reincarnated with his low bobbing and weaving, crunching hooks and a relentless movement forward, whilst Spencer was working his long range jab and straight right hand with precision and venom. The two fighters went toe to toe for the full four rounds and the ref hardly ever had to step in. The decision was a unanimous one for Spencer, which I’d have to agree with as he finished the third round strong and then dominated the fourth, but it was high octane all the way through. Rematch please!
Next up was Kali Sali (apologies for any mis-spelling, but I was not handed a running order!), versus Faraz Akram. Faraz was certainly the stronger opponent and knocked Sali down in the last second of the first round. Second round he finished off the job with a big right hand. I look forward to seeing Faraz in the ring again soon. He has great fire power, but he needs to work on his defence because as he steps up in class, he will leave himself wide open to the most basic of counter shots. A good prospect in the making…
The main event was next, between Terry Russell and Artur Gorka, for the vacant national super middleweight title. Both fighters had HUGE support in the crowds and it was nice to see neither let the occasion get to them as they showed an immense amount of respect to each other throughout the fight. First round Terry found his honey punch – the counter left hook. Timed to perfection, rolling underneath the slashing shots of Artur, this would turn out to be the punch which caused all the damage. Although Artur was immensely strong, he lacked lateral movement and this is where Terry was able to gain an advantage by being that bit more ring crafty and slick, utilising the space to his advantage whenever Artur would launch bombs. For the first two rounds Terry was working off the back foot with great counter work, but by the third he was becoming the hunter and started to unload with some great one two’s. Although Terry had Artur rocked in the fourth, the fight went the distance and the ref never had to step in. What a great fight. Terry won by unanimous decision.
The penultimate bout of the night was between Andre Grant and Mark Holden, at light welterweight. Grant was visibly the stronger of the two fighters and certainly seem to have more boxing knowledge to spill into the ring. Despite rocking Holden on a number of occasion, Holden kept coming back. No matter what Grant hit him with, he just kept coming back!! By the end of the second round, it was obvious that Holden was not going to win this, but as opposed to giving up or throwing in the towel he fought to the very last second of the full four rounds, despite a knockdown. Great boxing performance from Grant and what a display of true boxing spirit from Holden.
The last fight of the night was between Dwayne Grant Jones and Shaun Warren. The first round was like a showcasing of both fighters strong points. Jones showed he had an excellent jab, whereas Warren executed some great hooks. However, by the second round Warren was blowing heavily and Jones capitalised with the sharper work, whilst Warren started to hang on. Jones won by unanimous decision and I look forward to seeing him on his next outing as he showed great potential.