DailySport reports live from the Queensbury Boxing League’s latest boxing extravaganza at Effingham Park – 26th October 2013

The evening was entitled ‘Courage Under Fire’, and you couldn’t have made a better prediction through a crystal ball if you tried. The boxing menu comprised of explosive action, knockouts, flared tempers, and above all, a great atmosphere inside and outside the ring. As always, Queensbury has a great following from the professional ranks, and it was great to see the likes of Dan Woodgate mingling with the crowds, ex WBU champ Wayne Alexander acting as an official judge, and former European champ Spencer Oliver taking care of the microphone for Eurosport.

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With two fights being scratched, the balance of the fourteen ensured everybody had more than value for money for the evening. First up was Naethan Hutcheon against Anthony Ayinde over three, two minute rounds. There was a noticeable size difference between the two with Ayinde looking the larger and more imposing.The first round I gave to Ayinde showing good ring craft and making good use of his long jab, whilst countering Hutcheon’s attacks. Nathean’s heart was obviously huge, and that element of his character really shone in the second round as he was certainly the more aggressive, landing some great combos and making Ayinde earn his money. Second round to Nathean in my books. Last round I had to give to Ayinde simply based on the fact that when he was landing shots which were noticeably cleaner. Be under no illusion, it was a great last round, and there was little in it, but I edged it to Ayinde, based on cleaner, more visible attacks.  Official verdict – Majority decision to Ayinde.

The next bout was between Connor Gorham and Ricky Peacock at light heavyweight. Connor came out instantly after the first bell sounded, blasting away at Gorham with a torrid assault. Although a great number of punches landed on Peacock’s gloves, Connor showed he had a great engine as he maintained the pressure for the full 120 seconds. Second round was very similar, with Peacock showing little back in terms of anything that could potentially endanger Gorham . That said – Ricky decided to leave his mark in the third and final round, landing some lovely hooks and body shots. Definitely a Peacock round. Official verdict – Majority decision to Gorham .

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Aaron Mulhern was up next, against Ashley Dansie for three rounds at light middle. First round, both fighters gave it their all, but I edged it towards Mulhern with the slightly more aggressive approach, and the more successful, telling shots. Second round started off very similar, but after about 30 seconds, Dansie started to work his magic with some lovely counter hooks against a still very game and dangerous Mulhern. At this point I had the fight a draw. As the bell sounded for the third Dansie turned up his aggression levels to the necessary notch and turned the tide on the bout. The more he gave the more his fans shouted. This in turn set off Mulhern’s fans to give their man his deserved cheers. The atmosphere was electric, deafening and as the lads gave it their all for the last 30 seconds the whole venue was on the edge of their seats looking to see who was going to back down first. Neither did though!  I gave the last round to Dansie. Official verdict – Unanimous decision to Dansie.

The next fight was scheduled for four, two minute rounds at light middle between Olly Lawrence and Joey Pirotta. As the bell rang, the visibly larger Lawrence calmly started to pump out his piston like jab, and countered Pirotta’s attack with heavy force. Before he could demonstrate any further skills he unloaded with a three punch combination, and Pirotta’s was blasted to the canvas, and out cold. Thankfully he was back on his feet a couple of minutes later, and received a well deserved round of applause from the audience. Very impressive performance from Lawrence, albeit it a little short! I look forward to his next outing as I believe he has a great deal of potential as a box-fighter.

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Next up were the heavy mob – well cruiser really. Tom Trzemecki and Ray Welsh started their first round very tentatively. Very little action, but the little there was I gave to Welsh, based merely on the fact he landed a couple of nice hooks with success. Second round, Tom landed a big right hand, which looked like he’d been wanting to let it go for the whole of the first round. Welsh was wobbled, but not hurt. Soon after the bell rang for the third round, Welsh landed a huge right hand, forcing Tom to take a standing count. Visibly on shaky legs, Welsh went in for the kill, and landed a lovely right hook, forcing the referee to give another standing count. With ten seconds to go, Tom threw his own big right again which certainly wobbled Welsh, but it was unfortunately too late. In my books, I had Welsh as unanimous winner, especially with the two knockdowns in the third. However, the official verdict was a majority win for Welsh.

The next fight between Jake Daniels and Wes Clark at light heavy didn’t reach its full potential, especially as it was turning into a great boxing match. The bout only lasted a round due to be stopped on the grounds of a suspected broken hand for Daniels. However, it was a good round, as Jake displayed great lateral movement and some lovely hook counters, whilst Wes showed an incredible level of fitness, good boxing skills and a great pressure fighting presence. I had the round even. Let’s hope they get the chance to meet again.

Jason Chay and Ben Middleton were up next, for a novice light heavyweight eliminator. As the bell sounded, Middleton went on the rampage swinging wildly. Chay stood his ground, adjusted his stance and threw a massive left hook to the body, forcing Middleton to take an eight count. Ten seconds after the count, Chay jumped on him with a heavy onslaught, sending Middleton to the canvas again, but this time unable to beat the count, Chay was pronounced the winner at one minute and 17 seconds of the opening round.

The next contest was at lightweight between Hassan Abdi and Charlie Boy Howard. The first round I gave to Abdi, simply based on being the busier, walking down Howard for the majority of the round. Second round, the tide changed, and Howard became the hunter for the opening 30 seconds. A series of scrappy exchanges then ensued, with Abdi finishing marginally busier down the home straight. A very tight round, but I edged it to Abdi.  Third and final round I had to give to Howard. Although the exchanges between the two were still a little unorthodox, Howard was having more success. The verdict – Unanimous decision to Abdi. There seem to be a bit of bad blood between these two. Hopefully they get the chance to sort things out in the ring by way of a rematch…

Matt Piper took on Kieran Leinster next at middleweight over four rounds. Within 20 seconds it became very evident that Leinster was the heavier puncher by far. In all honesty, I thought Piper might have gone down in the first round, but tribute to his excellent conditioning ensured he saw the round out. Second round was opened by Leinster catching Piper with a straight right hand, forcing him to take an eight count. Although the more vulnerable at this point, Piper showed great heart and again made it through. Rounds three and four mirrored the content of the first two, and Leinster showed what an incredible engine he has, working solidly for eight minutes. The verdict – Leinster by unanimous decision.

The next four rounder at middleweight was between Andy Thompson and Rossco Parker. Thompson, without a doubt had brought the biggest following of fans with him, which was confirmed by a deafening welcome as he entered the arena. The second the bell rung for the first round, Parker went on the assault. Thompson displayed some nice counter work, but the more definitive work came from Parker. Second round was similar to the first, up to the last 30 seconds, when Thompson landed a beautiful uppercut which stunned Parker for a second. He then responded in kind with his own assault, making it a very entertaining round. Parker started the third with his usual instalment of ‘non stop assault’, and looked to be winning the round, until there looked to be a clash of heads and Parker suffered a nasty cut to his ear. The doctor took a look and the fight was ended there and then. After the medics had put a bandage over Parker’s head reminiscent of somebody who had just had brain surgery, the judges were bound to make a decision using the activity that had passed to date at that point, by way of the scorecards.  The decision – a majority decision to Thompson. I personally edged it to Parker, but I must say that you couldn’t meet two nicer people, and wouldn’t begrudge either the win.  A rematch would be good…

The main event of the evening was next. Shane Graham took on Brad Halford for the English light welterweight title. The second the bell rung, Graham claimed the centre of the ring and landed his first two punches with great success. With the mood set, Graham chased Halford for the balance of the round, looking like a mini Tyson with his body shots in close quarters. Round two, Graham’s pace slowed down a notch, and Halford abandoned the bike he had been pedalling backwards for the first round and started to trade a little more. Round three Halford started well, but then got out muscled towards the end. Fourth round, Halford opened up with some great boxing skills, showing particular success with the jab and the right hand, forcing Graham to hold on. Very good round for Halford. As the bell sounded for the last round, Halford was evidently going for the knockout. With Graham breathing heavily, it looked like the tide might change, but then Graham threw a big right hand, sending Halford to the canvas for the eight count. Halford hung in there for the balance of the round, but the unanimous decision went to Graham. Again – two lovely guys, and excellent ambassadors for Queensbury League Boxing.

After the thrilling Halford v Graham final, Ben Davies took on Mark Shrubb. Davies was the busier of the two fighters for the first two rounds, applying pressure and having some success with some lovely body shots. Shrubb opened the final round with a series of well travelled straight right hands, most of which reached their target. Although Davies fired back, it was without doubt a Shrubb round. The verdict – a unanimous decision win for Davies.

Craig Broom was up next against Lawrence Lofts at welterweight. Although Broom was the more accurate puncher of the two, Lofts relentless attacking earned him a majority decision victory – much to the delight of his massive following he had with him in the audience.

The last fight was between Jamie Andrews and Roger Smith. Andrews put on a veritable master class of skills throughout. Working well off the ropes, countering nicely when backed into the corner and working a great jab. It was no surprise he won by unanimous decision. I would like to see him in against stiffer opposition next time as I think he has great ring craft and excellent boxing skills.

Overall evening verdict – yet again, another perfect evening for anybody with a genuine interest in boxing.  Look forward to the next one. Well done Ross Minter and Alan Foley.  All photos are courtesy of the lovely Sam Wordie

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