By Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro
On Sunday afternoon Miranda Carter and Bruce Baker co-promoted their first event of the new season – Great Expectations – at York Hall in the heart of the East End of London.
Surprisingly York Hall wasn’t packed to capacity, perhaps because of the late pullout by British Light Welter Champ Ashley Theophane, due to an injury, or even possibly that just days before there were two other big shows in the Capital – Prizefighter and the Mickey Helliet promoted event at the Elephant and Castle. However those that made the trip to hallowed home of British boxing on Sunday were treated to a cracking afternoon of action.
With Ashley out Southern Area Cruiserweight Champion Leon ‘Solid’ Williams versus Nick ‘The Ox’ Okoth was elevated to sole headline status.
Right from the opening bell Williams went on the attack, closing down his prey before letting rip with a massive overhand right that shook Battersea’s Okoth to the core. Not willing to give Okoth a chance to recover Williams fired another exocet into the midriff. Okoth sensibly covered up as another salvo of punches rained down on him.
Realising that covering up would only invite more from the aggressive Streatham based Champ, Okoth decided attack was probably the only form of defense that would keep him from being stopped early on. Returning some big shots of his own did slow the Williams juggernaut, but not for long as ‘Solid’ decided to walk straight through them to counter with more of his big bombs. Late on in the round Williams landed a peach of a right hand that looked destined to send the the fighting fireman from Battersea down and out, but somehow Okoth managed to grab hold of Williams to stay on his feet and see the round out.
Williams flew out the corner at the start of the second, Okoth initially used his jab to good effect to slow the advancing Champ. Williams kept coming forward, eventually backing Okoth on the ropes before letting rip with more big salvos to the body and head. Okoth survived the onslaught and turned aggressor. Okoth pushed forward but Williams would not budge and the pair locked horns in the centre ring.
More of the same in the third and fourth both giving their all, Williams took both rounds purely by landing the more meaningful shots.
Williams looked fired up as he came out in the fifth and the writing was on the wall for Okoth right from the very first big right that Williams landed. Living up to his ring moniker ‘Solid’ Williams really started to work the body before backing Okoth on to a neutral corner and firing off a huge salvo of shots to the body and head. Okoth was beginning to look like a rag doll being savaged by a rabid Rottweiler and as such it came as no surprise that referee Jeff Hinds stepped in to save Okoth from a certain, and unnecessary, knockout on the one minute thirty one second mark.
The final bout of the day see Williams’ TRAD TKO gym mate Danny ‘Cassius’ Connor take on Aberystwyth, Wales’ Sean Gorman.
Connor had clearly upset Gorman with his pre fight comments, which were widely reported in the press, as the Welsh lad was fired up right from the off, as was clear by the venomous way he attacked Connor’s body.
Throughout the first couple of rounds Gorman would push forward with vicious attack after vicious attack, young ‘Cassius’ kept his cool and resisted getting into a tear up, instead he sensibly worked behind his first class jab.
Round three see Gorman getting increasing success, by getting under Connor’s superb jab before making his attacks. Connor must have realised how close the fight was because he became far more aggressive in the fourth and final round and boxed beautifully to secure the win by a close 39-38 margin.
Preceding Connor-Gorman former MMA fighter turned boxer Francis Maina, from Limehouse, made his professional debut against Barrington Brown from Nottingham.
What a evenly matched affair this turned out to be, throughout the four rounder they virtually matched each other punch for punch. Saying that in my view I thought Maina was just a tad more aggressive, which had me seeing him nicking most rounds. I have to admit I wasn’t that surprised or disappointed when referee Ken Curtis scored it a 39-39 draw as both lads put on a magnificent display.
Prior to these two bouts was the already covered Williams-Okoth thriller, and prior to that barnstormer was another. This time it was Billericay’s debuting Luke Fowler swapping copious amounts of leather with Swansea’s Craig Dyer.
What a cracking fight, Dyer was intent on giving young Luke a baptism of fire, Luke on the other hand seemed to relish the battle, as did his huge contingent of highly vocal supporters.
Fowler showed excellent ringcraft and head movement as the Swansea lad threw bomb after bomb, as each big right hand came looming into sight Fowler either moved out of range or dipped and swayed before letting off an equally, but accurate, vicious counter. Throughout the action was nonstop, the pair went at it hammer and tongs.
The first real breakthrough came midway through the second when Dyer, who was backed onto the ropes, was sent to the canvas, however referee Ken Curtis waved off the count.
The nonstop action continued in very much the same vane for the rest of the bout, with Dyer throwing lots of punches, most of which missed the ever fluid Essex Boy who in return countered with crisp solid jabs and big rights. No surprise then that after four sensation rounds Luke Fowler was declared victorious by a 40-37 margin.
The fourth bout of the night see Chiswick’s Dalton Miller take on Swansea’s Chris Brophy.
It was quite a lively start, with Brophy throwing bombs at every opportunity. Miller on the other hand used his head, sticking to his boxing and picking his shots.
Throughout the bout it was very much this way, except for a brief spell in the third when Brophy upped the pressure and backed Miller on to the ropes, but that was short lived as Miller soon regained control. No surprise to anyone that referee Jeff Hinds scored the bout 40-36 in favour of Miller, who had the edge over the Swansea man throughout.
Prior to Miller-Brophy the highly rated, and exceptionally slick Nathan Weise made his welcome return to York Hall, where he faced ubiquitous Duncan Cottier.
It was quite a edgy start, with the normally fast starting Weise seemingly feeling out the veteran journeyman. It soon livened up though as Weise started to get into the flow, landing crisp jabs and hooks to the body with ease to take the opening stanza.
Weise really got into his stride in the second round, some nice crisp movement and classy shots from all angles. Around midway through an off balance Cottier was sent to his knees by a sharp right. The Essex man protested it was slip, but referee continued the eight count.
Weise continued to put on a slick display, against little in return from Cottier, until the final round to earn a well deserved 40-35 points victory.
The second bout of the afternoon see the highly entertaining Nigerian-born Ideh Ockuko take on debuting Sean Tribble from Gosport, Hants.
Ockuku entertained the York Hall crowd with a dancing ring walk that continued after he entered the ring and tested the ropes. It didn’t stop there as his natural rhythm came into play when the action started.
Ockuku was plain sensational as he danced his way around the newcomer, picking his shots at will. I have to say that doesn’t really do Ockuku justice as he showcased about every punch in the book and did it with style.
Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t all one way traffic, Tribble gave his best and got some success for the effort, especially in the mid-rounds, but really didn’t have an answer to quick footed and classy Ockuku’s vast array of shots and as such it was no surprise that referee Jeff Hinds rightly scored the bout 39-37 in favour of the London based Nigerian.
The opening bout of the show see Peckham’s Diego Burton face Wickford’s Danny Brown.
The normally fast starting Brown seemed sluggish from the start, making life far to easy for Burton, who sent Brown onto the back foot with some seriously sharp jabs. Burton continued to dominate the proceedings easily, all but a brief period early in the third, to earn his first win by a 40-36 points margin.
I have to say this was my first visit to one of Miranda’s Sunday spectaculars, I’m usually quite content to stay at home on the Sabbath and have a relaxing Sunday dinner with my gorgeous girlfriend, but if this is the normal standard of fare on offer at Left Jab’s shows I can see myself in the arms of my pugilistic Friday and Saturday night mistress more often on a Sunday afternoon, as it was nothing short of first class.