The formidable winning streak, of the fighters from the famous TRAD TKO Boxing Gym in Canning Town, came to a shuddering halt this past weekend, after both Kevin Mitchell and Menay Edwards lost.
Just two weeks previously English Light Middleweight Champion Erick ‘The Eagle’ Ochieng successfully defended his crown, Ian Bailey and Danny ‘Cassius’ Connor secured Southern Area titles, as well as a brace of great wins by rising stars Wadi ‘Machoman’ Camacho, Tom Baker and Charlie Hoy.
Last week was almost as successful, with Billy Joe Saunders successfully defending his Commonwealth Middleweight crown, whilst gym mates Gary Corcoran, Billy Morgan, Frankie Buglioni, Ediz Hussein, Joel McIntyre and Tommy Watson kept their unbeaten records intact.
The only blot on the copy book coming by way of Peter McDonagh being on the wrong side of a points decision, even though he dominated most of the Southern Area Welterweight title bout, against ‘home fighter’ Bradley Skeete.
With 13-1 winning ratio, already in September, in the bag, the TRAD TKO crew were looking forward to another highly successful weekend, with Kevin Mitchell challenging Ricky Burns for his WBO World Lightweight title, as well as six of their young guns in action on Sunday.
In the build up to Mitchell-Burns everyone see it as a very, very close fight, with an the experts putting their weight equally behind Kevin and Ricky. However, come fight night things didn’t go according to plan.
After a fairly even first round Ricky began to exert his authority in earnest, by backing Kevin up at will and picking him off with big rights.
By round four Kevin’s challenge was already beginning to look decidedly rocky, then the unexpected happened, as Ricky landed a sweet short left hook to send Kevin to the canvas.
Kevin kept his head and stayed on one knee until the count of eight, before rising. When he did though, Ricky was over him like a rash, and inevitably sending the Dagenham Destroyer to the deck once more.
This time Kevin jumped up in an instant. With just ten seconds or so to until the end of the round Ricky didn’t waste a second, instantly firing a salvo of big shots to send Kevin back onto the ropes. The Scot’s onslaught continued, but as there was no reply from Kevin, it came as no surprise that, Referee Terry O’Connor stepped in to save him from more punishment, even though there was only six seconds left on the clock.
“Well the run of form at the TRAD TKO had to come to an end eventually, it’s just a shame that it had to happen with our stalwart, Kevin Mitchell.
What can I say about the fight, I thought it was an even first round and I just thought Ricky looked bigger and stronger.
I couldn’t really put my finger on what went wrong with Kevin, it seems he just kept loading up with the left hand and Ricky was finding the answer with the right hand.
It wasn’t the right hand that actually did the damage, it was a short clip left hook that seemed to take Kevin’s senses away.
They were both giving it the bravado thing, banging their chests. When that happened I thought we were in for a cracking fight.
Where does Kevin go from here, It’s entirely up to Kevin. He’s lost to a very good fighter, who rightly so people are talking about being the number one Lightweight in the world, so it’s not the end of the world as far as Kevin is concerned, now the ball’s in his court, hopefully he carries on, I’d like to see him carry on as he’s got plenty left in the tank.”
With Kevin’s loss it was down to the youngsters from the gym to get the superb winning streak back on track, at Miranda Carter’s ‘Sunday Best’ event at York Hall.
However things didn’t get off to a particularly smooth start, after young George Jupp was forced to pull out at the weigh in.
In the ring things looked a lot brighter, with Ben Doughty trained Frankie Monkhouse securing his second pro win with an excellent 39-37 points win over Danny Dontchev.
Frankie certainly impressed, boxing cleverly behind the jab, as well as sending the highly durable Dontchev to the canvas, in the first, with a cracking body shot.
Next up was former World #2 Amateur Areti Mastrodouka securing her third straight win as a pro, with a sensational first round stoppage of Gabriella Vicze.
Alec Wilkey’s newest charge, Eren Arif, received a baptism of fire on his pro debut, as his opponent was the awkward, yet highly entertaining, Johnny Greaves.
Eren kept his cool, as Greaves played to the crowd, and boxed beautifully to secure a tidy points win.
Already with two of his charges with solid wins under their belts, Alec Wilkey was in jubilant mood when young Brett O’Callaghan secured a third, with a shutout 40-36 points win over the highly experienced Duncan Cottier.
The final fight of the night featured Derek Grainger trained Menay ‘The Emperor’ Edwards in what was deemed to be a warm up for a shot at Tony Conquest’s WBO intercontinental Cruiserweight crown later this year.
With both Menay and his opponent, Neil Dawson, having very similar records, it was always known this was going to be a true 50/50 battle, but no one expected the all out war that ensued.
The pair of warriors seemed determined to stand their ground and slug it out. Menay got sent to the canvas in the first, Dawson hit the deck in the second. There could easily have been more trips to the canvas, as each got rocked on numerous occasions, but neither did.
At the end of the six hard fought rounds Rotherham’s Dawson just edged it, to take victory by a 58-56 margin.
With four out of five wins on the Sunday, Johnny was a little more positive in outlook as he spoke about the night’s action featuring the TRAD TKO fighters.
“On Sunday we started off with Frankie Monkhouse, Frankie put in a good result against Danny Dontchev, not the easiest person in the world to fight but Frankie stuck to his game plan and won the fight quite well.
We were a bit disappointed with the opponent that was brought over for Areti, but you can’t blame the agent as you can only go by the record and we thought it was the rights fight, but she was very, very poor.
Like I said to Areti it isn’t who you fight but how you beat them, and she beat her really well, stopped her very well with some great shots and the referee was right stopping the contest when he did.
Then we had young Erin Arif, who put in a good performance against Johnny Greaves, Greavsy was being his normal self, showboating and hitting him where he shouldn’t be hitting him, which is Ok as these are all the things you need to learn when your first out. He made a good fight of it, it was one of the best fights of the night to be honest with you.
We then go on to our Brett O’Callaghan against Duncan Cottier, Duncan played all his old tricks again.
Again another great learning fight for young Brett, he’s only just turned twenty years old so got a bright future in front of him and made it win number four at the weekend.
Then we’re on to Menay Edwards, who after a fantastic fight got a disappointing result. He decided to take himself to the ropes and go toe to toe with him.
I spoke to him last night and said to him that he’d gone back to the old Menay Edwards style that I didn’t like and this played into the other kid’s hands.
Value for money, what a fight, it was the best fight of the night, but you don’t want too many of them though.”
So there you have it, after three weekends of extreme action, the TRAD TKO team went from a magnificent 6-0 margin in week one, to an impressive 13-1 on week two and ending with a, still highly respectable, 17-3 winning ratio.
With the only event of this coming weekend, that was to feature the gym’s fighters, being canceled it will be October before the formidable TRAD TKO juggernaut gets rolling again.