COMPACT COMBAT: REPORT
Seven fights, with four four and three six rounders, York Hall sweltered as the ebb and flow of fans streamed in and out to scream for their man.
Ellis Steward and Vasif Mamedov served up the fight of the night at super middleweight. Memedov had won 3 of his 47 contests entering the ring, his last victory coming in July last year when he took Craig Miles’ unbeaten record from him. The Russian tagged Steward too often for the Essex fighter’s liking and though crude, in the second he should have stopped him.
With Steward hurt and backed into the ropes, Mamedov didn’t just telegraph but sent a carrier pigeon advance warning for every enthusiastic, winged haymaker trying to find the finish. A blind man could have ducked his assertions and duck Ellis duly did, finding his feet again eventually.
Despite being given a torrid time by a fun away fighter who leaves it all there, Steward’s class eventually showed; moving Mamedov around and using his reach to punch around the guard. It is perhaps not a great career move, but Vasif’s entertaining, gutsy display from the away corner was valiant and made Ellis really work. Steward deservedly won 58-56, though Mamedov looked angered at the score.
Genadij Krajevskij had not won in 58 prior to his light heavyweight four rounder with Issam Obada but a short left hook which wobbled the Moroccan early in the first gave him the thirst for more. He was to regret it. Despite needing to improve, in only his second fight Issam is to be commended for battling through and finishing an unruly and reckless Krajevskij in the second stanza. A leaping left hook had Genadij flat on his back and despite getting up, it was waved off by Kieran McCann during the follow up Obada onslaught.
Referee Mark Bates rightly declared Nathan Lee unfit to continue at 1:17 in the fourth (of six) against Timon Douglin. The light heavyweight fight was due an early finish as Lee seemed determined not to tuck up and move; Douglin took full advantage, dropping Lee before it was all over.
Bilal Fawaz has been through worse than just his first loss to Ayoub Zakari in November last year. A former England ABA champion who also represented this country, Fawaz was trafficked to the UK at 14 and officially stateless, detained and unable to get a license to box professionally, until 2020.
Fawaz’s middleweight rematch with Serge Ambomo over six rounds was a clash of styles, to say the least. Ambomo’s blunt force trauma technique versus Fawaz’s flashy movement and angles. The Cameroonian crusher is built, and fights like, a tank; Sugar Ray Robinson lookalike Fawaz outclassed him, though you can see how he’s picked up 11 wins on the road. 50-64 to Bilal Fawaz.
Qasim Kayani also stepped out for the first time as a professional, the super lightweight looked a little wild and loose going forward but more confident and comfortable on the back foot. He beat Paul Scaife with a clean slate, 40-36.
Middleweight Constantin Williams moved to five fights unbeaten with a shutout 40-36 over Iain Morrell, full disclosure, I was in attendance as a fan not a journalist so was in the bar for that one…
Saturday’s show was a much more thrilling than anticipated affair. If that sounds mean it isn’t meant to, the away corner really earned their dough and the home fighters were made to work for their wins. At seven fights, it didn’t drag and I was even able to catch the second half of the rugby afterwards. Compact combat- I’d recommend these events as a great introduction to small hall boxing for newer fans, and a perfect pugilistic fix for devotees.