I was back ringside at York Hall in my purple butterfly suit, which some might say was the highlight of the night… I dunno, but Jordan Purkiss versus Ryan Walker for the vacant Southern Area Bantamweight Title had all the makings to be a small hall classic. Ryan had the weight advantage and the experience, whereas Jordan had the high level amateur background and was a more acute boxer. I couldn’t wait to watch it on a three title fight card from Lee Eaton and Mo Prior.

Walker made his ring walk first, then, due to a microphone malfunction and needing to wait at the top of the ramp for about ten minutes, Jordan made his way to the ring. As the first bell went, the men met in the middle of the ring and both started to use their jabs. As I said beforehand, Jordan is an acute boxer and, I don’t mean this disrespectfully, but Ryan’s style of boxing is pretty ugly. When it comes to a jabbing contest, Purkiss was always going to win it.

When Jordan started to find his range he opened up with a big right hand that looked like it wobbled Walker and he went straight on the attack, unloading on his man. Walker recovered well to his credit but two more big right hands in the first round came his way. In the second Ryan was having more success working the body very well which continued throughout the round but at the same time looked a bit clumsy throwing wild left hooks, at points missing by miles. It was close but I would have still given it to Jordan.

In the third, things picked back up again after Purkiss landed that big right hand followed up by two flush uppercuts - this put Ryan onto the ropes and when Jordan had him there he didn’t let up. Amazingly Ryan still had a strong finish to the round. At this time I had Jordan three rounds up. From the fourth the tide changed massively as Walker was landing big rights followed by hard body shots. Jordan was fighting back bravely but looked like he might have been feeling the pace in his first ever ten round fight.

The sixth round was slow, and I had it three a piece going into the seventh. Walker's biggest mistake in the whole fight was he let the pace drop from rounds four and five, as when it slowed and it became a boxing match, Purkiss looked the better of the two. Round seven paid dividends to that effect as Jordan out-boxed him and was landing beautiful check left hooks which won him the round.

The eighth round was the best of the fight with both fighters landing great shots and Purkiss fell over when both fighters came together- which spurred Walker and his crowd on, but in the last minute and a half Jordan landed a fantastic uppercut. This was followed up by a right that also hurt Ryan and, thankfully for Ryan, the bell went. Going into the ninth I had Jordan two rounds up so the best Ryan could hope for if he won the last two was a draw unless he knocked Jordan out or got some knockdowns. 

The penultimate round was a good one for both and I scored it a draw and you got the feeling it was going to go off in the tenth... and boy did it! It was a fantastic end to a fantastic fight, with both men again having great success.

Walker started the stronger of the two landing a big right hand and left hook to Purkiss’s face, who fell back onto the ropes. Ryan was going to work on Jordan, but the man they call Prince Jordan dug deep and started to push forward. When the bell went I had Jordan winning by one point. Referee Lee Every scored it 98-94 Purkiss, which to me seemed pretty wide but at the end of the day the right man won. I looked to Ryan’s corner and I couldn’t help but feel a little heartbroken for him. This, for me, was hard to see as I’ve lost big fights of my own in the past and I know what it feels like to be in that position.

Ryan Walker has been in there with some of the best and being a former area champion himself, I have no doubt he will be back stronger than ever. A very big congratulations to Jordan Purkiss, becoming Southern Area Champion in only five fights.

Connor Marsden defending his Southern Area Lightweight Title against Martin McDonagh was a good but very scrappy contest at times. McDonagh, being the much smaller man, had to get on the inside to do his work and set off on a fast pace. Martin was clearly the stronger of the two and used that to his advantage by pushing Connor back on the inside and landing left hands.

It was back and forth, but messy, with McDonagh being deducted a point for holding in the eighth round. I thought this was a bit unfair as both men were coming together the whole fight but, unfortunately, in the ring what the ref says is law at the end of the day. The pace had been slowing at that point and I don’t know where Martin found the push but he came on incredibly strong towards the end of the ninth.

In the tenth round Connor Marsden was on the back foot the whole round and Martin McDonagh charged forward at his man. By this point I had Connor up by about three or four rounds and I thought Martin needed a knockout to win but as his opponent came forward, Martin landed a shot from the gods and that being the old 1-2. Connor hit the floor like a sack of potatoes, almost falling out the ring with the ref waving it off instantly and, in that moment, we had a new Southern Area Lightweight Champion crowned: Martin McDonagh. With Marsden being stuck at area level for so long, one does need to ask what’s next for him?

I’m a massive Boy Jones Jr fan and I can’t lie I was heartbroken when I didn’t hear the familiar start of “let’s hear it for the boy” by Deniece Williams, but I guess I’ll have to forgive him as I was told it was due to some kind of licensing issue... anyway, I digress.

If you’re a fan of the technical side of boxing then you would have loved Boy Jones Jr’s fight with Lucas Ballingall for the vacant English Super Lightweight Title; it was a real chess match. Ballingall has a very flashy and slick boxing style which is very nice to watch and pops his jab lovely, whereas Jones Jr just is very textbook and always has a lovely jab and great movement.

The first went and Ballingall took it by landing the cleaner shorts towards the end of the round. Benny boy aka Boy Jones Jr took the second by controlling the centre of the ring,  landing some good double jabs following with some back hands. Again, Lucas took the third round just by landing the cleaner and more effective shots, but they were three even rounds.

Round four had a comical start as when the bell went, Lucas Ballingall turned to ask his corner team to put his gum shield in... turns out he had it in the whole time and the brawling duo had a little laugh together and touched gloves. Jones Jr started really well by controlling the centre of the ring but then Ballingall started to drop his hand and use his flashy style to full effect. He was landing some clean shots on Jones' chin but it was a close round, which I would have given to Lucas’s cleaner work.

Ballingall had a blistering start to round five hitting Jones with some big shots and had him on the ropes but Ballingall decided to back off which was really strange to me. Jones did hit Lucas with a lovely left hook in this round but that was the only bit of success he had as he really struggled to find his range. Rounds were starting to slip away from Jones at this point and Lucas was dominating the fight, Jones was finding it hard to land and Ballingall was looking very flashy.

Round eight was interesting as Ballingall took centre ring for the first time in the fight and took a big right hand for it. As both landed big left hooks simultaneously later on in the round, they started to load up on each other. Going into the last round Lucas got up from his stool and signalled a win by waving his hands across his waist as he thought he was taking home the belt tonight.

Jones Jr was landing big shots but just didn’t put the pressure on Ballingall which, unfortunately, was a running theme for Jones when he landed good shots but he didn’t push on when he should have. Ballingall was dropping his hands and was showboating throughout the final round, looking very comfortable and relaxed on the back foot whilst Jones Jr was on the front but continued to miss a lot. 

When the bell went I had it to Lucas Ballingall pretty comfortably and so did the three judges. Their score cards read 99-91, 99-93, 98-92.

My Team Southpaw Jab mate, Tommy Murphy, had his second professional fight at around 140lbs. His opponent Lee Hallett had suggested he was up for it and he definitely made it interesting for the fight two rounds. Tommy did well and landed cleaner shots to win them though. In the third Hallett just covered up and played the game but he came on quite strong in the fourth and final; I would have given him that round. He was showboating and banging his chest and what have you. The referee agreed with me and gave it 39-37 to Tommy Murphy.

I was training for my last ever fight (12th November at York Hall, you know you want tickets so get in touch), so missed the start of the show. The only upset was unbeaten Joe Giles getting stopped by Juris Zundovskis in the second round, home fighters Liam Wells, Mohammad Bilal Ali and Lenny Fuller all won on points. Overall it was a great night of boxing with Jordan Purkiss and Ryan Walker stealing the show.


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