WHO DARES WINS: YORK HALL REPORT
Goodwin Boxing put on a well balanced card, boasting two title eliminators and a fight for the Southern Area Featherweight Title between unbeaten fighters at the top of the bill on Saturday at York Hall
Eight fights is a nice amount for a live show when you know you’re there for the duration. Not too long, but plenty of variety in weight and rounds. Even as a fan I’ll catch as much of the card as I can but I appreciate that’s not the case for most people.
6-0 (0) Lewis Frimpong faced the similarly unbeaten and inexperienced Connor Adaway, 5-0 (1), for the vacant Southern Area Featherweight Title. It was both man’s first ten round fight and with vastly different size and styles it could have gone either way depending on who established themselves and could keep that going into the untested seventh to tenth rounds. Older by eight years at thirty two, Lewis Frimpong arguably needed the win more than Connor Adaway.
Pre-fight, the taller, shot picking Adaway had promised to meet the compact, buzzsaw, switch-hitter Frimpong in the centre of the ring and was true to his word in the first round. His accuracy had a bit of snap and contrasted well with his opponent's style; it was a pick-em round. However, he went into his shell after that and the stronger Frimpong manhandled and outworked him and while his wasn’t all scoring work, Adaway’s occasional classy counter didn’t have enough to keep Lewis at bay, or win the rounds.
As the minutes flew by, literally, as Frimpong like a man possessed, charged at Adaway, rounds went in the bank for the Oxford fighter. Having come all the way from Plymouth, Adaway’s journey seemed in vain until a break for a clash of heads in the seventh stanza shook him up. He suddenly remembered what to do and more importantly how to do it, landing on Frimpong more frequently, then stepping aside and making him miss.
The later sessions belonged to Adaway, in my opinion, but he needed a stoppage or a couple of 10-8 rounds. He didn’t get them but it was an exciting finish. It has ninety years of history, this title, first fought for in 1933 and scheduled for 15 rounds when Tommy Rogers beat Tommy Hyams. I wouldn’t have minded seeing how five more would have played out, such was the late swing towards Adaway.
Lee Every’s scorecard read an unusual 98-94 to Frimpong, meaning the referee awarded two even rounds. I had it 98-92 which isn’t to say Adaway was poor, but Frimpong grabbed the bull by the horns and the Southern Area Featherweight Title around his waist. Adaway later claimed he’d cracked a rib in round one, that early bravado perhaps now regretted given his success was when doing the opposite.
Adaway will come again, Frimpong will barter the title in a bid to move on quickly, one suspects.
The Southern Area middleweight eliminator between Mitchell Frearson and Balraj Singh was intriguing. A former MMA practitioner, Singh had something about him that had me write “potential dark horse” in my notes for commentary. The commentator’s curse struck, as Frearson roared at Singh from the off and while the two met fire with fire for a time, Frearson’s accuracy and spite quickly extinguished Singh’s flame.
Cut on the head early, then dropped to the body twice in the third, Singh’s fight was finished emphatically in just seven seconds of the fourth as Frearson took the initiative, practically sprinting across the apron to force his opponent to it a final time. A very impressive performance by Mitchell Frearson, who moves to 9-0-1 (1), Singh is now 4-1-1 (1) and will need his confidence restoring.
Towards the end of the fourth a short hook had Abid on his back, hitting the canvas heavily. It could, and perhaps should have been the Derby fighter’s downfall, but he bravely (or recklessly depending on your position) went for Sakyi on beating the count. It looked like it could finish at any time for a few minutes, but Abid even rode out a sickening body shot.
In another close(ish) bout, it was again the boxer who rolled the dice who got the win. Mikey Sakyi, now 9-4-0 (4), might kick himself for not finding the finish in the fourth and not letting his hands go more down the stretch. Sajid Abid, 12-1 (1), was a 96-94 winner for scoring-referee Lee Every. Abid is now next in line to challenge Lucas Ballingall for the English Super Lightweight Title.
An intriguing 50/50 between two novice cruiserweights turned out to be fairly one sided. Peckham’s thirty seven year old Ross “Fine Wine” McGuigan, dropped to 3-2 (0) after a 60-54 reverse to the more ambitious and aggressive High Wycombe fighter, Lewis Oakford (now 2-0 (0)). Oakford seems keen to progress and based on this performance could well be in some entertaining fights.
Spoiler alert, 4-0 (0) middleweight Joshua Gustave was a winner in this year’s Channel 4 show SAS: Who Dares Wins. No surprises for guessing my inspiration for this report’s headline came from. He wisely did nothing silly against talented away fighter Robbie Chapman, 11-26-3 (2), who fought for a Southern Area Title in 2019. 58-56 to Gustave.
Former English Cruiserweight champion Arfan Iqbal returned from a five year hiatus to rain merry hell down on the skull of unambitious Jake Darnell, 1-14 (0), and win 40-36. Iqbal used the bout for target practice, rotating his repertoire through the four rounds. It would be good to see more of Iqbal, 13-1-1 (5), at a lower weight.
Pat Gill, 4-0-1 (0), put in a good shift with a clean sweep 40-36 victory over Kasey Bradnum 1-4-0 (0). Debutante Fred Secular, 1-0 (0), had the unenviable task of facing Jordan Grannum 8-108-4 (0), for his first pro bout but he grew through the four rounds, winning every one: 40-36.
An entertaining, well paced and evenly matched card where the winners in the main events were those who took the initiative and dared to win.