By Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro
On Saturday night, whilst most British boxing fans were either watching Prizefighter on Sky or waiting for the Pacquiao-Mosley super bout from Las Vegas, the thousand or so fans that made their way to the famous York Hall in London, for the latest offering from former World Champion turned promoter Graham Earl, were treated to a cracking fight night.
The ‘Redemption day’ event may not have attracted a TV audience, more the shame because if it had a larger viewing audience would have been treated to some of the best drama and action seen in the ring this year – anywhere!
Heading up Graham’s show were two Southern Area title fights, and it’s with one, the highly anticipated Paul Morby-Daniel Cadman rematch for the Super Middleweight crown, that I’ll start.
For those that aren’t aware of the first meeting between these two back in January here is a very brief rundown. For ten nonstop rounds the pair battered the living daylights out of each other. My fight report of the time showed that I felt that many of the rounds were too close to call, however I did state that I thought that Cadman had probably just done enough to get nod on more than Morby. When the referee, Jeff Hinds, declared it a draw I wasn’t too surprised, as in all honesty it was probably the right decision.
There you go I told you it would be brief, I know that’s a bit unusual for me but that’s for a good reason – the early rounds of Morby-Cadman II were virtually a replay of the original battle and I don’t want to repeat myself too much in the report.
Right from the opening bell both protagonists took up where they left off in January, no feeling each other this time, it was instant all out war. The first five rounds were far too close to call, as control passed back and fourth in equal measure. It’s hard for me to report the highlights of the rounds as virtually every second was a highlight of sorts, even the roughhouse tactics and ‘professional’ fouls – of which there were plenty to keep referee Ken Curtis on his toes.
Round six became the first real turning point of fight, it was a great round. Again it was very close round with the action going back and fourth in equal measure but Daniel Cadman had started to exert his authority more and was landing the crisper, cleaner punches. This was enough for me to see this in his favour.
Like in the previous rounds the action in the seventh was nonstop, however Cadman shifted up a gear and started to pressure the Morby more, so much so that the slick southpaw was often having to box on the back foot. The final minute or so see Cadman chasing Morby around the ring with heavy double handed shots before corralling him against the ropes and letting off salvo after salvo of big shots. A clear round for Cadman.
Round eight was more of the same, that is until with just seconds to go before the bell it looked like Morby’s championship reign was going to end with a visit to the canvas, as Cadman again backed Morby onto the ropes before letting rip with bone shattering bomb after bomb. Morby managed to break free but didn’t get far before he forced back on to the ropes by yet another salvo of exocets.
Morby, who had taken so much punishment in the previous round, came back with a vengeance in the ninth. However Cadman wasn’t going to back down. The first couple of minutes was pure boxing heaven, with both showcasing their exceptional boxing skills and full arsenal of punches.
The final minute was another story altogether. Cadman again forced Morby onto the ropes and stated to play his ribs like a xylophone with wickedly fast double handed hooks. Each time Morby broke loose Cadman would just chase him down and start all over again. Saying that though I felt that over the three minutes both had worked equally hard and landed equivalent levels of punches so found this a hard one to call for either man.
As the bell rang to start the final round Paul Morby shot from his corner and went looking for a knockout finish, however Daniel Cadman was having none of it and wrestled control around the second minute. Then started another all out assault by Cadman, who again pushed Morby back onto the ropes before letting rip with another massive salvo of punches. Initially equal levels of punches came back at Cadman, but he just didn’t slow down the intensity of his attack.
With around ten seconds to go Cadman let rip with a massive overhand right to the head that sent Morby stumbling. In a flash a second, and then a third overhand right crashed into Morby’s skull. Somehow Morby stayed on his feet as yet again Cadman started letting rip with double handed salvos, which continued until the final bell. It was a storming final round, the perfect finale for an exceptional bout.
For thirty minutes both protagonists had given there all, they had provided exceptional entertainment for the assembled crowd, unlike with their previous encounter surely this time there would be a clear winner.
The man that would make the call, Ken Curtis, had done a fantastic job refereeing the bout, it could so easily have degenerated into a messy brawl but for his excellent and forceful interventions, and in my view he also got the decision spot on by declaring Daniel Cadman victorious by a 98-95 points margin.
After taking the plaudits from the fans, and receiving the coveted Southern Area Super Middleweight belt, Daniel Cadman said, “I am absolutely rubber ducked, I tried my hardest and got there in the end. I’m a bit too tired to talk much, but I am over the moon.
Everything’s down to Tony Simms, he believed in me when others didn’t and I want to thank him and this win is for him.”
Hastily fitted in between the two headline fights was a bout between Belfast’s Joe Hillerby against late replacement, Earl’s Court based South African, Bheki ‘Becks-Tiger’ Moyo.
When I say late replacement I mean Moyo took the fight with around ninety minutes notice, after the original opponent Matt Scriven failed to show. Luckily for Earl and Hillerby renowned manager Mickey Helliet was on hand. After various phone calls at 8.45pm Mickey managed to pull off an amazing coup by getting Moyo to agree to fight.
Considering his only arriving at York Hall some fifteen minutes or so earlier Moyo fought with the heart of a Tiger. Hillerby has a reputation as a big hitter and boy does he live up to that reputation. For four rounds he attacked the plucky South African with vigour. Moyo on the other hand had come to fight and gave his all and boxed beautifully on the back foot. Unsurprisingly Hillerby secured every round to earn a tidy 40-36 points victory.
I have to admit that I was mightily pleased that Hillerby didn’t stop Moyo, as looked possible on a couple of occasions, and the bout went the full distance.
Shortly after the fight Mickey Helliet said, “Yeah he was in the pub, next minute he’s in the ring. Good man, he went the distance. Once again he’s stepped in and helped a promoter, he’s a good man, a good man and he saved the fight and has been well paid for it.”
OK back to the championship action, with the Southern Area Cruiserweight title clash between Streatham’s Leon ‘Solid’ Williams and Titchfield’s Danny Couzens.
Round one was quite a slow, close affair, as the pair felt each other out for the vast majority of the first couple of minutes. The bout heated up more in the final minute as Couzens started to pressure and Williams resorted to counter punching with the occasional all out attack. Consequently I found the round a little hard to score in favour of either.
Round two was another close round with some excellent back and fourth action. Again it was Couzens mainly doing the pressuring and Williams landing the most telling punches. I gave this round to Williams as midway through he landed a massive hook to the body that clearly shook Couzens. Then, as Couzens went on the defensive, Williams came forward landing more body shots.
Williams continued the body assault, in the third, with vicious hooks. With Couzens backed up on the ropes Williams started interspersing mighty uppercuts between the hooks to the body. Amazingly Couzens managed to move just enough to avoid the lightning fast uppercuts, but in doing so opened himself up to receive more punishment to the body. An easy round to call, it was Williams all the way.
Williams started fast in the fourth with wave after wave of body shots, about thirty seconds in, after yet another flurry of body shots, Williams let rip with a massive overhand right to the temple. Couzens instantly crashed to the deck.
Obviously overjoyed Williams started celebrating, that was until his manager/coach Johnny Eames drew his attention to the prone Couzens. The ecstatic crowd fell silent as the medics rushed to Couzens aid. After a few scary minutes Couzens finally showed signs of movement and the crowd responded with a round of applause as he is raised to a stool.
After receiving an ovation, following the fight was declared in his favour, Leon Williams briefly said, “That’s how I wanted it, I wanted a straight KO. You don’t get any extra for overtime. it was perfect, a perfect finish.
He’s a cool guy and we’ll keep in touch. Team Solid, we’re good to go.”
Prior to Leon William’s title defense his fellow TKO Boxing Gym mate Sam Standing made his pro debut, against Nuneaton’s highly experienced Kristian Laight.
Standing received a real baptism of fire, as Laight took the fight to him big time. Standing, who was forced to fight on the back foot throughout the bout, kept a cool head and picked off the ever advancing Laight with stiff jabs and double handed counter attacks. Whilst it was without doubt Laight putting in the majority of the work, it was Standing that enjoyed the bulk of success with quality punches landed and rightly earned his first win, albeit by a very close 39-38 margin.
Another debut preceded Standing-Laight, this time featuring Brighton Heavyweight Scott Whyley against one fight veteran Lithuanian Rolandas Cesna.
After a fairly slow and close first round Whyley came to life in the second by not only taking the fight to Cesna but also by landing the more solid and meaningful shots. Round three and four see much more of the same as Whyley’s confidence grew, which earned him a tidy 39-37 points maiden victory.
It’s good to see some new blood coming through the Heavyweight ranks. Whyley was cool, calm and collected and was more than happy to trade with both hands. Whyley’s performance, especially in the later rounds, bodes well for fans of the ‘big boys’.
London based American Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Oshunrinde was looking to get his first win on British soil, following his being cruelly robbed of a first round stoppage win back in January when the fight was mistakenly declared a technical draw. Tichfield’s Sammy Couzens was the target for the big Floridian hitter, however things didn’t go according to plan.
Right from the opening bell Couzens took the fight to Oshunrinde, he was all over the American like a rash. Oshunrinde responded with massive bombs in an attempt to slow the pumped up Couzens’ constant attacks.
Both the first and second rounds were close fought affairs with both Oshunrinde and Couzens slugging it out nonstop. Round three on the other hand was all Couzens, his attacks were measured and forceful. Throughout the round Oshunrinde seemed content to absorb the constant onslaught, but in doing so handed Couzens the round on a plate.
As the ring girl stepped into the ring Oshunrinde’s trainer, Barry Smith, signaled to referee, Bob Williams, that his man was in no condition to continue. An elated Sammy Couzens leapt for joy as Williams waved the fight off.
Newly married Terry Holmes cut his honeymoon short in order to prepare for the fight with Birmingham’s Jason Nesbitt.
A relaxed looking Holmes started strong and took the fight to the highly experienced Nesbitt. However Nesbitt was in no mood to present Holmes a late wedding present. Each attack by Holmes was met with strong resistance, Nesbitt countered with precision forcing Holmes to rethink his fight plan. It was a close round but I felt Holmes had done the better work to earn the points.
Round two see Nesbitt take a leaf out of Holmes’ book, by starting fast and taking the fight to the Stevenage man. This worked to Holmes’ favour, Holmes is a classy boxer and Nesbitt’s new tactics allowed Holmes to turn on the style. The later half of the round was all Holmes who plain boxed Nesbitt’s head off.
Round three and four produced more of the same, with Holmes utilising his superior boxing skills to easily secure the rounds, and the bout as the referee declared Holmes victorious by a shutout 40-36 points margin.
I was mightily impressed by Holmes’ performance and made a note directly after the bout that read ‘the combinations and skills displayed by Terry Holmes belied his minimal experience. He was brilliant, excellent.’
Former English title challenger Michael Grant made his long awaited return to the ring.
Graham Earl had chosen Tooting’s Danny Dontchev as his newly signed charge’s first victim, sorry I mean opponent. Naw, I was right the first time. To describe Grant’s performance as brilliant would have to rate as one of the biggest understatements of the year, it was awesome.
Danny Dontchev is no mug, he’s a good all round boxer with plenty of experience and was selected to give Grant a tough test. The only problem is Grant is a championship quality fighter and it showed.
Any cobwebs accrued during Grant’s extended layoff were soon cleared, by midway through the first round he had already taken full control of the bout. Grant’s fluid movement caused Dontchev problems right from the start, allowing Grant to pick his shots and land them at will.
As the bout progressed Grant showcased his extensive arsenal of punches, as well as his world class ringcraft. The highly experienced Dontchev started to get frustrated and launched a series of wild attacks. Grant would just dance his way out of harms way before returning fire with a variety of exquisite shots.
Dontchev changed tactics and tried to rough up the slick stylist on the inside, again to no avail. Grant wasn’t fazed one iota and just continued to box his way.
It was an easy workout for Grant, as such it came as no surprise that at the end of his boxing exhibition Grant was declared victor by a 40-36 points margin by referee Bob Williams.
The opening bout of the night featured Belfast’s debuting Mark Ginley, against Trowbridge’s ‘Dirty’ Dan Carr.
This was a cracking opening bout. Right from the off young Mark Ginley boxed beautifully, he kept his cool even when Carr tried roughhouse tactics. Throughout the bout Ginley used his jab to keep the hard charging Carr at bay. Even when Carr got through young Ginley kept his head and defended skillfully.
Carr had a little more success in the third and landed a peach of a right hand that caused a noticeable swelling on Ginley’s cheek as well as a slight cut below the eye. However Ginley still won the round in my view due to his superior boxing.
Ginley controlled the final round with relative ease to be declared the victor by a 40-37 margin.
My congratulations go out to Graham Earl and his team for putting on such a quality show. Graham’s firm belief that all bouts should be evenly matched guarantees that boxing fans get full value for their money. We can only hope that the powers that be at Sky TV start taking note and decide to add Graham Earl promoted shows to their roster soon.