Main attraction was the captain of the GB boxing team from last year's Olympic Games, Tom Stalker, who scored his fourth win, and first professional stoppage, with an 84-second destruction of Romanian import Oszkar Fiko at light welter.
Although there was no sign of the Hopeless Hungarians featured on the last Olympia bill, I feared the worst when I spotted Fiko's trainer donning a “Hungary” tracksuit top. I viewed it as an omen, and so it proved.
Stalker (9st 13lb 2oz) looked huge in comparison to his opponent and with Fiko (9st 13lb) backed to the ropes, Stalker unleashed a fast burst of accurate head shots from his southpaw stance, punctuated with a pulverising left hand which sent Fiko down hard. Referee Mark Lyson had no choice but to wave the fight off.
Three debutants got off to winning starts – first was welterweight Robbie Davies Jr, son of the 1976 Montreal Olympian, beating Wolverhampton's Carl Allen, who retired at the end of the first round. It was opposite ends of the spectrum as Allen was engaging in his 132nd contest, and registered his 107th loss, with 18 wins and 7 draws. Davies (10st 3lb) stalked Allen (10st 8lb 2oz) purposefully throughout the first and only round. In the closing seconds Davies let go a volley of southpaw punches to body and head, which left Allen staggering to the ropes as the bell sounded.
Allen seemed to be complaining to referee Phil Edwards, but as he returned to his corner, he immediately advised them he couldn’t continue. His equilibrium appeared scrambled. If Davies ends up half as exciting a fighter as his dad, he’ll do tremendous future business in Liverpool.
Steven "Junior" Jones also picked up a win in his first paid fight, boxing to a points decision over another centurion - Delroy Spencer - by sweeping all four rounds 40-36 on the card of referee Lyson. The experienced Spencer (8st 7lb 10oz) had no answer to the speed and sharpness of Jones (8st 12lb), who attacked in raids, and quickly moved out of harm’s way whenever Spencer considered offense.
Jones visibly grew in confidence after a tentative start, and mixed up his punches in fast combinations, the left-right-left repeatedly causing Spencer problems.
Making up the first timer hat-trick was Wallasey light middleweight Paul Riley, who featured in one of Jon Briggs's recent Debutant Watch columns here on Boxrec News, and described himself as a stylish counter-puncher. He put those obvious skills to good use in knocking out Swansea's Matthew Ashmole (11st) at 58 seconds into round two of a scheduled four threes.
In the opening round, Riley (11st 10oz) had almost immediately shipped a “welcome to the pros” straight right from Ashmole, before finding openings for his own counter left hook in the last minute of the round. The finisher, when it came, was shocking.
Riley fired a four punch combination which ended with a crashing right hand, switching off Ashmole’s lights and putting him flat on his back, his head slamming the canvas hard upon impact. It looked a bad one, but Ashmole was soon on his feet after receiving the appropriate attention. Ashmole, despite a 12 year career break, still awaits his first professional victory in 11 contests having first tried back in August 2000.
Sheffield's Rod Smith (11st 7lb 2oz) opened the show with a deserved win at light middleweight against the experienced Jamie Ambler (11st 10oz).
Smith moved to 3-0, landing the cleaner shots to take a 40-36 decision on the scorecard of referee Lyson. Ambler was happy to employ a high guard as Smith pressed the action during the first, finally getting through with a hard right at the end of the round. Ambler’s jab was certainly being deployed more as a defensive tactic than a points-scoring device, with Smith connecting with several more solid looking right hands.
Smith became somewhat careless in the third, as Ambler managed to catch the Sheffield man, knocking his mouthpiece out. Smith regrouped and continued to force the action over the final three minutes. Ambler drops to 9-52-2 with this defeat.
Undefeated Liverpool lad Andy Colquhoun (9st 13lb 6oz), best known for his KO of the year contender over Dan Naylor, moved to 7-0 with a decent points win against London-based Nigerian Ideh Ochuko (now 5-10).
Having taken both Scott Cardle and Craig Evans the distance in previous defeats, Ochuko (10st 2oz) was able to frustrate Colquhoun enough to see out the scheduled six rounds, despite taking some hefty left hooks from Colquhoun.
Ochuko had some success in the first, landing a couple of hard right hands, causing a mouse under Colquhoun’s left eye. The bout did threaten to turn nasty at times, particularly in the fourth, when Ochuko received a final warning for a blatant headbutt. He extended his hand in apology but a furious Colquhoun quite rightly greeted it by launching an attack behind a big right hand.
Colquhoun looked dangerous with the left hook all night, but never really landed it flush, and clearly won the rounds with tidy boxing and straight punching. Referee Phil Edwards got it spot on with the 59-55 score. Despite the loss, Ochuko is the owner of perhaps British boxing’s best ringwalk – bizarrely dancing and stomping his way into the ring. I’m no Michael Flatley myself, but still....
If ever there was an award for “Four Rounder of the Year”, the fight between Birkenhead's Sean "Masher" Dodd (9st 11lb) and Derbyshire’s Lee Connelly (9st 12lb) would be the leading contender. Dodd dropped Connelly in the opening round with an overhand right as Connelly moved forward. Dodd's style of dropping his head and winging powerful punches in with intent can be overwhelming, but Connelly answered Dodd’s workrate by attacking the body with some success - slowing Dodd down.
The action was relentless as both men found room for uppercuts whilst working inside, usually with Dodd backing Connelly to the ropes and then trading shots. It appeared an agreement was made midway through round two to dispense with the jab, and concentrate solely on power punches. The result was a phone box war, both fighters putting in an excellent shift, stood in front of each other throwing left hooks and wide right hands.
Dodd came close to scoring the stoppage in the final minute, trapping Connelly on the ropes once more and getting through with numerous hurtful looking head shots. Connelly did deserve to hear the final bell however, and announcer Mike Goodall asked for the crowd to acknowledge an excellent scrap. Referee Mark Lyson’s score of 40-36 to winner Dodd not reflective of the effort given by Connelly.
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