BLOOD, GUTS BUT NO GLORY: REPORT
As the venue opened its doors and fans were heading for an opening beer before the opening bell, the sound system, often the cause of jarring screeches and tinny, awkward ring walk music, was pumping out crystal clear, very loud, well mixed and chosen tunes. It was a noticeable improvement. The venue felt busy before even the first bout, and it didn’t let up until the very end.
In the main event, Jack “The Punk Kid” Hughes and Paul “Paulie” Roberts started fast; Greenford’s Jack tearing across the canvas with enthusiasm. Similar in size and both fighting from an orthodox stance, the fight didn’t quite settle for a couple of rounds. In those, though, Hughes seemed to land the clearer, crisper shots. The blows didn’t phase Roberts, but they were the more eye catching work.
Things warmed up in the third as Roberts grew in confidence, picking his shots better and finding a rhythm which was one Hughes found it hard to dance to for a while. Beginning to throw combinations, Roberts, fighting out of Somerset, started to take control. By the fourth a now cut Hughes was either chasing his man, or having to settle for taking three to land one. This only seemed to worsen, in unison with the gash on Jack’s head- Roberts dutifully made sure to target it.
Before long The Punk Kid’s pink skirt looked like a bloody butcher’s apron; he seemed tired and Roberts looked comfortable, enjoying his evening’s work. Jack is an obstinate bastard, though. Any man willing to wear lippy for his fight posters has a set of cajones on him and boy did he prove that, puffing his chest out and throwing everything he had left into the final rounds.
The two fighters traded, though both clearly having sapped most of their style. Hughes’ new found energy meant more success for him- he landed some thudding shots as the bout began to tighten. The question was had enough rounds been in Hughes’ favour for him to have nullified Roberts’ excellent movement and shot selection with his never say die determination.
Referee Mark Bates had it 95-95, at least that’s what we assumed at ringside when it was read out at 85-85. Roberts has grounds to feel somewhat aggrieved but such an entertaining fight, with all of the blood and guts one wants from an Area Title. It sadly ended with no glory. Neither man takes the belt, both should be very proud of the show they put on and you’d be hard pushed to find a spectator who doesn’t want to see this again.
An entertaining undercard featured Southpaw Jab’s favourite thing- away fighters determined to fight back and put on a show.
In the night’s only six rounder, at super lightweight, you could have been forgiven for thinking Lee Hallett was the so-called prospect. Hallett clearly held little respect for Idris (ID) Hill, dropping his hands and beating his chest amusingly like a teenager bashing the showboat button on Fight Night Champion. Hill seemed to lack the confidence to truly fire back for large portions of the bout, often boxing off the ropes while Lee swarmed him.
The two opening fights saw a debut and a one fight novice provide great entertainment. Super middleweight Ray Bear opened his professional career with a extremely engaging scrap with Jordan Grannum. Guilty of being upright, with a narrow stance in places, and for stepping off when he’d worked to a good position, Bear improved as Grannum tried everything to upset his big day. The fourth was a spectacular toe to toe affair. Bear went home a 39-38 winner.
Pat Gill moved to 2-0 at lightweight, taking every round over a game Liam Richards who put more into the bout than the score suggests; like the fight between Bear and Grannum preceding this, the fourth was a very pleasing phonebooth punch up.
At 10st 11lbs, Jack Newham clearly enjoyed himself and cut the ring down well for his 40-36 win over Dean Wilkinson. The result clearly meant a lot to him, as he sank to the canvas with joy at the result.
Debuting at super lightweight, Brandon Webb showed good movement and handled Lee Devine’s sudden transformation into a busy threat to win 39-37. Juliette Harwood won a scrappy affair with Poland’s Bojana Libiszewska. Occasional, audibly big shots landed from Hardwood en route to a 39-37 win. Krzysztof Zuraw’s fans brought the noise to see their man better Luke Fash 40-36.
Although a few late drop outs thinned the line up a bit, York Hall was boisterous all evening and every fighter played their part; no more so than in the excellent main event.