York Hall was the venue for a night of British Championship boxing on February 27th on a combined Hellraiser and Warrior Promotions card that featured two tantalising Southern Area title fights.
Despite taking place on the same night as Frampton v Quigg in Manchester, there was a good turnout from local boxing fans, who were treated to a spectacular bout between Tamuka Mucha (12-0) in his first defence of his Southern Area welterweight title against challenger, Tommy Tear (11-1).
Kent’s Dan Woodgate (13-3) and Spaniard Wadi Camacho (15-5) battled for the vacant Southern Area cruiserweight belt, while many undefeated prospects also got inside the ropes in a bid to continue their winning streaks, including Forest Hill’s Darryll Williams, Elliott Matthews, Aarron Morgan, Robin Dupre and Ramesh Ahmadi.
Vacant Southern Area cruiserweight title Dan Woodgate (13-3) vs Wadi Camacho (16-5)
The first title fight of the evening and co-main event saw Kent’s Dan Woodgate face Spanish-born Wadi Camacho for the vacant Southern Area cruiserweight belt. Camacho won the contest on a technical knock out after the referee adjudged that Woodgate was no longer able to defend himself. The fight was an exciting one with the crowd right behind both fighters. Camacho’s height proved to be an advantage as Woodgate struggled to find his range early on and failed in his attempts to get on the inside of his opponent. Camacho, a flashy southpaw who won PrizeFighter three years ago, was table to wear his opponent down with his long-reaching jab. In the third round, Camacho hit Woodgate with a powerful left hook to the body in what would be a sign of things to come. In the following round Woodgate, who moved up from light-heavyweight, struggled to land any meaningful punches as Camacho used his head movement effectively. Then in round five, a left hook followed by an uppercut saw Woodgate knocked down with a cut appearing above his right eye. After seeing Woodgate beat the count, Camacho set about ending the contest and had his man pinned on the ropes. He swung hard left and right hands until the referee called time on the fight after 2:03 minutes of the round as Woodgate struggled to protect himself. Although the Kent puncher looked slightly bemused over the decision along with some faithful members of the audience, a combination of the cut and punches he was sustaining meant it was likely the right decision.
Southern Area welterweight title defence Tamuka Mucha (12-0) vs Tommy Tear (11-1)
The second co-main event of the night was Reading’s Tamuka Mucha’s Southern Area welterweight title defence against Slough’s Tommy Tear. In short, it was a brilliant fight which Mucha won on points 99-93. Mucha’s successful amateur background showed – he won the Senior ABA title at 19 – as he used his skill to pepper Tear with his jab, who was a little frantic in the opening minutes. The second round was well-matched and featured a nice uppercut from Mucha and a good left hook from Tear. As the scorecard indicates the two could not be separated in three of the ten rounds and the early stages are where Tear may have been adjudged to be level. He then began to fade a little in rounds three and four as Mucha began picking his opponent off with a nice variety of punches. In the fourth, in particular a series of straights to Tear’s head left him panting in between the rounds. Round five also belonged to Mucha, but Tear began to find his second wind in what was an enthralling contest that had the whole of York Hall in full voice. Tear’s face began to show bruising but he has a knack of unloading accurate responding punches after being tagged himself, and the effects could be seen in the corner of Mucha’s eyes who did take his fair share throughout the fight, notably in round seven when Tear was able to counter with flurries. In round nine, it was clear that Tear had become weary as his hands dropped slightly, and he started moving away from his Zimbabwean opponent, yet he still landed a few punches. Mucha, though, almost had his man down towards the end of the round. Ahead of the tenth round the referee spoke to both men, evidently congratulating the two fighters on what had been a very good fight. Both men acknowledged this and touched gloves with a proud smile on their faces, and proceeded to have it out in the centre of the ring. Some big shots were fired in and Tear had a hint of a wobble, but he wouldn’t go down. The bell rang and York Hall audience rose to its feet in appreciation of the quality of the exhibition. Mucha was the deserved winner in the end without question, but the heart shown by Tear during the entire bout earned him a lot of respect from all quarters.
Super-middleweight Darryll Williams (13-0) vs Ruslans Pojonisevs (16-38-1)
Ferocious by name, ferocious by nature. Having put Ruslans Pojonisevs on the canvas in round one with a booming body shot, Forest Hill’s Darryll Williams repeated the trick in the second round of his contest, and that was enough for him to claim the victory. Pojonisevs is a fighter that usually goes the distance but he was no match for Williams on the night, whose gameplan of getting in close and targeting the body was the right path to follow. Now, 13 fights undefeated, the Southern Area super-middleweight holder will look ahead to an exciting 2016 that could see him fight for a British title.
Super-middleweight Elliott Matthews (16-0-1) vs Deividas Sajuka (5-19)
Elliott Matthews made a winning return to the ring after he had to pull out of his British title shot last November, having been cut in sparring. Matthews’s opponent, the Lithuanian Deividas Sajauka, was a little wild at times, often swinging for big shots and missing. Matthews was able to control the fight with his jab which helped him unleash several combinations. One Matthews uppercut in particular at the end of the third round hurt his opponent who looked tired thereafter, but to his credit he lasted the distance. The judge’s score on the night was 60-53 in favour of Matthews.
Super-welterweight Aarron Morgan (10-0) vs Kevin McCauley (11-112-8)
An entertaining fight between a title-prospect and an established journeyman, which ultimately went the way many would have predicted. Aarron Morgan’s tenth career victory had to be earned. Kevin McCauley used his experience by clinching a lot throughout the bout in an attempt to frustrate and curtail Londoner Morgan, but the latter was able to land freely and control the bout. McCauley is the type of fighter that comes alive when hit and Morgan had to contend with that, particularly in round five when he was caught with a good shot. Morgan fired in a nice combination in round seven, combining head and body shots and he won all eight rounds to take the fight 80-73. A warm embrace from the fighters at the end showed that both were in agreement that it had been a tough fight for each to endure.
Cruiserweight Robin Dupre (9-0) vs Florians Strupits (2-33-2)
Newham’s Robin Dupre continued his unbeaten run by winning 60-54 on points against his Ukrainian-born opponent Florians Strupits. Dupre will now have his sights set on a potential Southern Area title fight having racked up the victories to almost double figures. The fight was a one-sided affair with Dupre landing a variety of punches with regularity. His movement was good throughout and his opponent struggled to lay a glove on him. Strupits wobbled a little after being hit by an overhand right and struggled thereafter.
Bantamweight Ramesh Ahmadi (5-0) vs Mikheil Soloninkini (6-17-1)
Ramesh Ahmadi overcame his Georgian opponent Mikheil Soloninkini on a technical decision after the referee halted the fight at the end of the fourth round due to an accidental cut caused by a clash of heads. The judge’s score at that stage was 40-36. The fight was entertaining to watch as Ahmadi pushed for the knockout, cutting his opponent as early as the second round. The Georgian was limited to counter punches, but fought bravely despite being taking his fair share of hits.
Super-lightweight Philip Bowes (11-2) vs Fonz Alexander (3-27)
Philip Bowes impressed in his 13th professional bout, boxing with a fast-paced and evasive style somewhat reminiscent of Floyd Mayweather Jr. Using his speed to avoid getting tagged by Fonz Alexander, Bowes landed several shots and wore his opponent down. His jab was effective and one right hand in the third round seemed to hurt Alexander, who moved a lot during the contest but Bowes’s speed was too much to handle. Bowes was too good for his opponent in the end, who congratulated him at the end by pointing to him as the result of 60-54 was read out.
Welterweight Jez Smith (6-0) vs Claudio Paulo (0-2)
A short contest ended after 1.17 minutes into the first round. Jez Smith remains unbeaten after a technical knock out decision against Kenyan Claudio Paulo. After connecting with a powerful right hook and immediate combination, Smith forced Paulo onto the ropes where he punched until the referee stepped in, deeming that Kenyan was no longer defending himself. A clinical performance from Londoner Smith.
Super-flyweight Sam Cantwell (5-1-1) vs Georgi Georgiev (2-3) There was a surprise win by knockout for the travelling Bulgarian fighter Georgi Georgiev in his bout with Welling’s Sam Cantwell, who was well-supported by family and friends on the night. Cantwell started steadily and dictated the fight from the centre of the ring until, in the second round, he was knocked down after a big right hook landed flush from Georgiev. Cantwell got up only to be knocked out seconds after following a stint on the ropes taking shots from the Bulgarian, who was congratulated by a spectator as he exited the ring.
Middleweight Ryan Maycock (1-0) vs Georgi Valevski (3-10) Ryan Maycock was rarely troubled on his boxing debut against Bulgarian Georgi Valevski, even affording to demonstrate his flair in the latter stages of the contest. Maycock landed some impressive combinations with his opponent often resorting to head holding to catch his breath. Maycock’s three good lefts in the fourth round were a highlight, as were his regular left-right combinations. A comfortable victory in the end with the judge scoring it 40-36.
Super-middleweight Justin Johnson (1-0-1) vs Terry George (0-2) Justin Johnson was on the front foot for the duration of his fight against Terry George in both fighters’ second professional fight. The four-round contest was scored 39-36 in favour of Johnson who pursued George around the ring aiming to land a jab and right-hand combination that he looks to enjoy. Johnson had one good spell in the second round when he had George on the ropes but it seemed to tire him out. As a result, he spent the remainder of the fight looking to land his favourite combination and was rarely troubled by George.
Super-welterweight Josh Ejakpovi (2-0) vs Kostas Papadopoulos (1-2) “Hollywood” Josh overcame his Greek opponent Kostas Papadopoulos, winning all four rounds of their contest. Ejakpovi was the taller of the two fighters and he was able to use his range well to hold the centre of the ring. In a fight where combinations were rare, Ejakpovi effectively got in and out swiftly. His opponent, who possessed good head movement, tried his best to go after Ejakpovi when he could and finished the bout well, but was ultimately outboxed throughout.