GALLAGHER VERSUS HUGHES... AND THE REFEREE: REPORT
By the time we got to the venue, it was filled with Gallagher's Luton army and, let me tell you, those Luton lasses can make some noise! With Nina Hughes being the home fighter, you wouldn’t have been able to tell with the echo of Tysie's name flooding the place.
As both fighters made their ring walks, did their head to head and the ref separating them to start this class brawl, you couldn’t help but feel that we were about to witness one of the biggest women’s fights in Britain.
Hughes was straight on the front foot being the aggressor and Gallagher on the back foot, using her jab as expected. From the off Nina was looking for that big over hand right, which found home a couple of times but to Tysie's credit she took it well and answered back with a lovely straight right of her own, even when she was backed on to the ropes. The opening round was scrappy at times and was 50/50, but these close rounds 9/10 times tend go to the home fighter.
Nina continued to pile forward on the front foot in the second round and opened up with a lovely flurry of shots. I wanted to see Tysie get busier and half way through the round, both fighters were landing big shots. This fight was starting to catch fire.
The third round started just like the first two, but at this point Nina’s tactics on the inside were starting to get a little dirty. She was hitting the back of the head, pushing her elbow in Tysie’s face and was making the fight rough and uncomfortable for the lady from Luton. Tysie was landing cleaner shots but I just felt she needed to be busier though. When she was letting her hands go she looked like the million dollar baby; but she was just letting Nina look too in control and aggressive on the front foot, something the judges eat up. As I said, Nina was the home fighter and coupled with above, I was worried.
Gallagher finally growing into the fight, finding her feet in the fifth. She dominated from the off, wanting claimed it for herself. Hughes continued to play her rough game, hitting the back of the head multiple times but she couldn’t dismantle the boxing beauty as Tysie stuck to her game plan, going on to take the win on this round without any doubt.
The sixth saw Tysie beautifully taking more control but Nina’s pursuit of malicious tricks to gain the upper hand continued. The evidence of Tysie's swift actions were showing- the Essex brunette's face was looking a bit of a mess and her eye was started to close. By this point though, due to her shady moves in the ring, I thought Nina should have had a point taken off or, at the very least, a warning from the ref. You could see the frustration in Tysie's corner as head coach Tony Pill and second, Don Charles, jumped up in anger, asking the ref, “how many times now?!”.
A continuation of Nina's naughty behavior in the seventh. Clearly concerned about being outskilled by Gallagher, she was very unprofessional and obviously willing to do anything, no matter how underhanded, to "win" the rounds. I can’t lie, even I jumped up and was shouting at the ref. Then, FINALLY! The ref warned Nina but considering how long it had been going on for, a word wasn’t good enough. She should have had a point deducted.
After a good few rounds from the Luton athlete, Nina had her best in a long time through the eighth. That’s not to say Tysie didn’t have her moments though, it was a really great 50/50 round and, living up to expectations, a amazing fight to watch.
Both of these women should be incredibly proud as it was a sensational battle, and a fight that, I believe, will do a lot for women’s boxing. I called it a draw but then, having said that, I felt Nina should have been disqualified or had a point taken off. Had this happened, the win would be to Tysie. I felt the officiating from the ref was extremely poor and showed a favourite, giving no favours to my girl on the night.
The first scorecard came out as a draw 95-95, ok, it was going the way I thought. Then when you heard the other scorecards, and how wild it was at 97-93, 96-94 you just knew it wasn't going in favour of the away corner. Nina Hughes was crowned Commonwealth and IBO Champion, and fair play to her, she did what she had to do to win. It’s not her fault that the ref, Bob Williams, was letting her get away with murder. Everyone felt a way, and one couldn’t help but feel that Tysie was hard done by. A stolen victory.