JE Promotions event subject to last-minute withdrawals and difficulties but all home fighters come through with a win.
Clean sweep for JE Promotions on their turbulent six-fight ‘Unleashed’ card on February 23 at Mote Park, Maidstone.
The mid-Kent boxing show was subject to tumultuous final few days as unbeaten super-featherweight prospect Jack Raines withdrew from his fight after having a wisdom tooth out, which unfortunately left his mouth cut badly; Bexleyheath boxer Luke Gibb also pulled out due to a medical issue and Margate ‘Bomber’ Paul Brown backed out, citing personal problems.
With Chatham’s Grant Dennis signing up for the next Ultimate Boxxer tournament, that left six fights on the card, which saw Lenny Fuller (5-0) elevated to top of the bill, who kicked off his first fight of 2019 with a fifth straight points win.
Nine months on from his pro debut, the 24-year-old from Maidstone impressed in his first six-rounder, despite being subject to a last-minute change of opponent.
‘The Main Man’ was due to face Danny ‘Lethal’ Little (7-53-2) but he was replaced at the 11th hour by Karim Khan (0-6).
The new face in the opposite corner proved to be a tricky customer with an awkward, elusive style, but Fuller adapted well. Both fighters switched stances in the opening rounds, but Khan couldn't do anything to better Fuller, who had him trapped on the ropes in the third stanza and duly unloaded, marking up Khan's face significantly by the fourth. Fuller went back to his stinging, long jabs in the penultimate round and knocked out Khan's gumshiled in the sixth and final round.
The Chart Sutton resident said, “It’s never perfect having to deal with a last-minute change of opponent because the last two weeks I was training to prepare for Danny Little but then when it changed the day before I just accepted it and got on with it.
“I was happy with performance, but I got a lot of things I need to go back to the gym to work on.”
Hailing from Sheffield, Khan displayed a style similar to Prince Naseem and managed to catch the home fighter a few times early on with difficult screw shots but Fuller turned it into a competitive fight very quickly and managed to win every round, scored at 60-54.
“Yes, he was tricky but I out-boxed him for six-rounds and it was a good learning curve for me. There was a bit of weight difference, but I didn’t care on the day, I just wanted to fight, but I think I’m going to drop down to welterweight for my next outing and see how I fair with that.”
Welterweight Danny Barrett (2-0), 26 from Stoke in Kent, doubled his win tally in a competitive fight with Luke Middleton (2-3).
For just his second professional contest, he faired very well against an ambitious fighter with an even record. Barrett was composed and poised, and caught him with a few good backhands from his southpaw stance. He patiently pitted wits with the 29-year-old from Langold until he managed to impose himself fully to begin to overcome his opponent and walk him down, where he would then dominate for the second half of the round. He outworked his ring foe easily and took all four rounds on John-Lewis's scoresheet.
The Haringey Box Cup gold medallist, trained by Paul Wiffen, will be back to action on April 27 and has expressed his ambitions to be in a Southern Area title eliminator this year.
Three-time Southern Area title contender Martin Hillman (12-6) dropped his opposite number Steve Maguire (0-12) in the second stanza with a well-timed body shot, but the durable 32-year-old from Middleton got through the rest of the round and eventually heard the final bell. Maguire showed some good work in the middle rounds as Hillman took his foot off the gas slightly, but the experienced Kent puncher came back strongly in the final rounds to leave his mark under the right eye of his rival.
The Orpington man is never in a dull fight and always provides his fans with value for money. His high work rate forced Maguire to work hard for his wages during the full six-rounds, scored at 59-55 by referee Chas Coakley.
Jack Budge (4-0), 24-year-old from Hoo, experienced a firefight with tricky customer Ricky Starkey (2-12-2).
The Liverpudlian constantly led with his head, which saw Budge cut, requiring three stitches post-fight. He was persistently holding on and entangling Budge, promoter Joe Elfidh was openly vocal about his disappointment in referee Chas Coakley for being a bit slack in allowing the constant misdemeanors to continue. The ‘Battalion Stallion’ Starkey was warned in nearly every round for use of the head but was never deducted a point or disqualified for his actions. Starkey was down in the tird but was dubiously ruled a slip despite a left to the head sending him on his way.
Efidh commented, “Starkey was awkward and gave Jack [Budge] A horrible night. He [Starkey] respected the power he felt early on from Budge and resorted to scrapping, holding and butting to get through the fight.”
The best story of the night was when journeyman Danny Shannon (4-7-1) had his arm raised in his first ever home fight in his five-year pro career.
He dropped and defeated Eastbourne’s Scott Hillman (0-39), resulting in a fourth-round TKO win for the 27-year-old from Chatham.
The super-middleweight, trained by Ray Askew and Sam Latham at the Invicta Gym in Sheerness, boxed very cleanly, picking Hillman off on the back foot. He started the fourth-round brightly and managed to crash a heavy right hand through Hillman’s guard to knock him down. He got back up, covered up, took a barrage of unanswered shots and, propped up by the ropes, the referee was forced to jump in to stop the fight with less than a minute on the clock in the final round.
Shannon was JE Promotions’ first ever signing way back in 2014, Joe Elfidh commented, “He boxed really well, nice and clean, good work rate and did his ticket allocation with no problem.”
Shannon will continue to fight on the road but has ambitions to win a Challenge belt in 2019.
Chris Matthews (10-2) finally made it to double figures after slipping to two points defeats in the previous 12-months.
The Maidstone man made the move from JE Promotions to Goodwin Boxing in his last fight but came straight back after tasting his second defeat at the York Hall last November.
Now the 24-year-old super-featherweight is back with his old trainer, former world champion Johnny Armour, and back fighting under the JE banner, finally looking like his old self again.
He had too much for Brummie boxer Uzzy Ahmed, outscoring him 39-37 in a four-rounder. He didn't have it all his own way though, blood trickled from Matthews' nose and both eyes were significantly marked by the end. His boxing knowledge and discipline earned him the win and his pivoting to get out of trouble was a sight to see.
Elfidh added, “It was good to have Chris back on the show again. He was in a good fight, very competitive and he made Chris work. He’s looking like himself again and 2019 will be a big year for him.”
The promoter commented on his ninth event at Mote Park, “The final week was very testing with all of the pullouts, but we come through it as a team and delivered a cracking show for the fans.
“I’m pleased all the lads all got a win on their records, so it was a positive outcome, despite all the difficulties before.
“April 27 will be the next date at Mote Park for all the lads and JE Promotions are hard at work to secure a Southern Area championship contest on the show. There are applications going in for a few of the fighters this week and more will be revealed shortly.”
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