Having seen Ahmed Hatim’s win over Rustem Fatkhullin in June, I was sceptical that the undeniably talented, five-fight-novice was ready for a national level contest. In that bout
, though a clear winner, he looked pensive and raw. He looked, and I mean this kindly, like a man in his fifth fight. I would not have had a concern about an area eliminator next, but an English one?

Dan Booth can whack, Dan Booth is no stranger to going ten rounds (admittedly having lost both on points) and Dan Booth made me worry for Ahmed Hatim’s ambitions. “The Monk” from Manchester might not have a glamorous record or demeanour but he could bludgeon a number one into Hatim’s losses ledger. The likeable Ladbroke Grove Sudanese lightweight had a lot on his hands.

I am not a fan of fighters with an entourage, at any level. It reeks of narcissism and devoid of any other metrics I’ll automatically favour whoever seems like less of a prick based entirely on their ring walk. “No Mercy” Ahmed Hatim had, by my count, ten people following him into the ring. I like Ahmed Hatim from what I’ve seen of him in interviews but those ten people I hope at least bought tickets.

Dan Booth was the away fighter, Dan Booth had nothing to prove and nothing to lose, but Dan Booth was always looking for a shot which wasn’t there; tucking up and weaving a way in, only to either forget what he wanted to do or be bested and deterred. Hatim was winning what battles there were at range and on the inside.

Ten nine Hatim. Ten nine Hatim. Ten nine Hatim. Those dice he rolled were showing up in his favour every time. You could see what Booth was up to, but so could Ahmed Hatim. It was becoming more and more of a stretch to think Booth knew something the spectator didn’t; he looked like he had one plan, and that plan wasn’t working. Going into the fifth round he was behind, surely, and it was hard to see where future success lay.

Booth never lay down, he was never put down, but a flurry wobbled him and in trying desperately to hold on to Hatim, The Monk eat leather as No Mercy let fly. Rocked and only destined for more pain, the refereeWHO stepped in and saved Dan Booth. Ahmed Hatim is now closer to challenging Hull’s Lewis Sylvester, the current English champion, than he was before this fight. I still don’t think he’s at that level but hell, he’s proved me wrong already, what do I know.

Ahmed Hatim rolled a winning five.

Florian Marku, the Albanian ticket-selling, promoter's wet dream, has a little brother in welterweight Amis Ballazhi. While wild and teed up for a home run against a one fight, one first round loss (a year ago) opponent, the 26 year old battered his way to a third round stoppage win over Lancashire’s Ryan Broten.

Broten fought back where he could but was always off balance and when a right hand finally dropped his guard Ballazhi bludgeoned him into a corner forcing the referee, and his corner’s towel, to end the fight. If Marku and Ballazhi somehow find a squared circle to have a dust up in, Albania might be empty.

Two unbeaten novices risked their records when Danny Boyle and Harry Collison collided over four, super middleweight rounds. Collison came forward, threw tons and while not all landed I had him winning the bout. Boyle grew slightly into the fight but should be chuffed with the 38-38 draw decision. I’d love to see a rematch, perhaps over six.

With one win and two losses, super lightweight Zoe Hunte Smith returned to the ring after a year out. She was aggressive and her six round fight with Kerry Orton was enjoyable. Orton was competitive and able, she shouldn’t be disheartened by the loss, a 58-56 decision in Hunte Smith’s favour.

Finishing second in the ridiculous entourage competition, with just seven or eight hangers on with their phones outAlbano Junior could have done so much more than he did in beating Stefan Vincent over six, super lightweight rounds. He has fast hands and caught Vincent cleanly, but Junior never applied the pressure he should have to win any plaudits beyond well done son, you won. 60-54, but Albano Junior will know he has more in the locker.

“Mean” Dean Gardner is dogged and despite facing an experienced, noticeably bigger opponent in 160 fight veteran Fonz Alexander, dropped Fonz and never let up. Gardner will be in some fun fights, win or lose. A deserved 59-54 victory.

Super Welterweight Shocki Khan’s ambition was tested by Jordan Grannum. Moved away from the centre of the ring as the six rounds went by, Shocki’s straight shots won him the fight but he was on the back foot too much. I’d pay to see Grannum go hell for leather, he’s far better than some of the guys he’s teaching, and only turns it on when he knows it won’t cost him. Khan won (deservedly) 58-56.


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