The Scotsman put on a great display, stopping Butlin at the end of round five.
The atmosphere inside The Ironworks in Inverness was electric as Cornish entered the ring to the sound of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers' Can’t Stop - the same song that Wlad Klitschko uses. It wasn’t the only similarity to Klitschko, as Cornish used his jab to great effect, and boxed behind it in the opening round, where Butlin’s only success was an uppercut that landed at close range.
Cornish (17st 3lb) started to pick his punches well in the second round as he began to dominate his smaller foe. The crowd were on their feet after Cornish bundled Butlin (16st 10lb 8oz) to the canvas. There was no knockdown, however, but this got the crowd going and spurred on Cornish to take the round. The Scotsman started to throw the backhand more in round three to follow up on his stiff jab. Little was coming back from Butlin. Few of the punches that he did throw landed, and Cornish looked comfortable.
The start of round four was scrappy as both boxers looked to hold and box on the inside. Cornish then started to jab again and landed a massive right hand that sent Butlin crashing back into the corner post. The crowd roared their approval and Butlin did well to stay on his feet. Round five started well for Cornish with his jab scoring through Butlin’s guard. Right at the end of the round the Inverness man landed a beautiful left to the body that sent Butlin to the canvas. Butlin never looked like beating the count and took a while to get to his feet. Butlin complained that the punch was low, but it looked like it landed right on the border. The stoppage was times at 3.08 of round five.
Cornish’s English coach, Laurie Redfern, celebrated by waving the Saltire flag as the crowd entered into a rendition of Flower of Scotland. Speaking afterwards Cornish’s manager, Tommy Gilmour MBE, said that he thought this was Cornish’s best performance to date. He moves to 15 unbeaten.
The show opener on the Chris Gilmour bill was between Scott Ross (2-1) from Inverness who was matched against Drew Campbell (1-16), who resides in Colchester but is originally from Elgin and as so had quite a few fans cheering him on in this six-twos contest. The first minute was quite close before Ross (10st 12lb 12oz) started to take over, landing the cleaner and heavier punches to take the round. The second was another dominant round for the man from Inverness, who boxed well off the back foot, allowing Campbell to come forward. Ross picked him off, and landed the punch of the round - a lovely right hook.
Campbell started the third round brightly as he managed to land a couple of scoring punches, but Ross again landed the heavier and more accurate shots to take the round. The fourth round was slightly closer as Ross’s coach, Laurie Redfern, urged him to box from the centre of the ring. Campbell started to look a bit tired in the fifth round and he started to keep his guard much higher. Both boxers looked to be feeling the pace a little as the volume of punches reduced.
Campbell did well to stay on his feet in the last round after Ross landed a couple of heavy backhands that rocked the Elgin man. He was cut on the nose early in the round as Ross went on to dominate. Referee Kenny Pringle, who officiated throughout the evening, scored 60-54 in favour of Ross, who returned to the ring after more than two years out and moved to 2-1.
It is rare to see two undefeated boxers matched on an undercard these days and somebody’s 0 had to go as Rhys Pagan (9-0) from Sanquhar, Scotland was up against Robert Dixon (6-1) from Gateshead, England. In a close opening round it was Dixon (10st 12lb 8oz) that shaded it. Both men boxed a lot on the inside and a nick appeared over the right eye of Pagan (also 10st 12lb 8oz) .
The second session was competitive, which went to Dixon who was landing the cleaner and harder punches. Pagan had a couple of successes near the end of the round and he also started round three brightly as he landed his best punch of the contest so far. The Englishman came back towards the end of the round, but Pagan that won the stanza.
Round four was another Dixon round as he managed to land more leather. There wasn’t much landing cleanly in this round and more holding unfolded as both boxers fired in the punches up close, the better work coming from Dixon. There was more in close action in the fifth round and although there was not much to split them, I thought that Pagan shaded the round.
The final round was a good one for the man from Gateshead. Both boxers loaded up the big shots and it was Dixon that landed more. Both boxers showed true grit to the end, and it was Dixon that got the nod from Kenny Pringle, whose score of 58-56 matched mine from press-row.
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