Friday night’s MTK show at York Hall saw two proficient and well-supported Essex fighters take centre stage with good performances. Meanwhile, ‘Lightning’ Lee McGregor suffered a surprising setback.

One of those Essex men,
Danny Dignum entered the headline fight as a fairly substantial favourite. He faced Grant Dennis in a bid to defend his WBO European Middleweight Title. Pre-fight, Dignum’s seven stoppages stood out as a major point of contrast on the two fighters' records, Dennis having only three to his name.

Another suggestive form line was how well the two men had fared against experienced Russian southpaw, Andriy Sirotkin. Dennis was stopped in the eighth, while Dignum managed a draw.

That being said, the opening stanza had Dignum fans’ hearts in their mouths, as Dennis landed several solid straight right hands while skirting the periphery of the ring. 

Throughout the next few rounds, Dennis maintained the same skirmishing tactics, staying to the outer edge of the ring, as Dignum attempted to chase, pressure and land effective shots – with mixed success. 

In the third, the fight erupted. Dennis landed another clipping right hand, cutting Dignum over one eye; though in between rounds this was ruled a clash of heads. Dennis landed more hard shots, staying light on his feet, before Dignum landed a solid left of his own, whipping up his vocal fanbase.

In the sixth, Dignum’s combination work – often ending with a solid southpaw lead hook upstairs – seemed to make a dent in Dennis. Dignum sensed this immediately, turned up the heat and a flurry of straight shots landed in the corner sent Dennis to the canvas. 

The referee allowed the fight to continue but a stunned and cut Dennis found himself in hot water and was forced to take a knee. He tried again but just as quickly was returned to the canvas.

Once more, Dennis regained his feet but the referee – probably fairly – called time on the bout despite Dennis' displeasure. Dignum ultimately retained his title in good style, overcoming some noteworthy early challenges posed by the challenger.

pictures courtesy of @MTKGlobal

Edinburgh’s 11-0 Lee McGregor faced a man with more than twice the amount of professional fights under his belt. However, Diego Alberto Ruiz’ extra experience didn’t do him any good. 

From the first bell, McGregor was aggressive and accurate. He was eager to get into mid and close range, firing cutting hooks and uppercuts. 

Ruiz showed plenty of ability but mostly McGregor was able to dictate the pace. He consistently looked the stronger man on the night, firing off crisper shots and keeping a tight defence. The Scot took some breathers though and ultimately suffered for it, with the result given a 95-95 draw. 

Both men looked like they’d have happily fought the old-fashioned 15-round distance. Right into the 9th and 10th rounds, they exchanged hard shots and combinations. Those at ringside witnessed a fantastic spectacle, but were more than a little surprised when the draw was announced.

Essex man Joe Giles headed into his second professional contest with an immense support behind him. The Essex fans made their voices heard as he took on Team Southpaw Jab's Lewis van Poetsch in the Lydney man’s 149th fight.

Giles towered over ‘Poochi’ as a 6’6” super middleweight. The shorter man walked forward behind a tight guard in the first round, consistently blocking Giles’ shots on gloves and forearms.

By far the busier in the second round, Giles took it but was also hit with some solid left hooks from van Poetsch. The Lydney man landed a solid overhand right as the third began, but Giles used his footwork and long limbs to good effect for the rest of the stanza, applying pressure before the bell. 

Giles peppered van Poetsch in the last but, again, received a few stern reminders from his experienced opposite number. A hard straight right hand clipped Giles on the chin, giving him pause for thought. The young prospect kicked up a few gears having received that reminder and finished the final round well, taking a 40-36 decision. 

Giles performed well and will have learnt plenty. Poochi pressured the Essex fighter throughout, pressing forward with head movement, blocks and hooks. The underdog landed some hard shots too and a lesser fighter would have wilted – many have, as van Poetsch’s nine wins attest.



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