Dennis Hobson and Steve Crump, alongside Fightzone TV, smashed it out of the park on May 21 at Sheffield Park Arena. New boxing broadcaster Fightzone chose this Fight Academy card for its inaugural show and viewers won’t have been disappointed.
The main event epitomised everything that Fightzone is promising to deliver – a genuine 50/50 fight between two fighters who gave it everything in their quest for English Title glory.
Champion Myron Mills (pictured) from Derby and Portsmouth challenger Lucas Ballingall served up a classic lightweight encounter, with it extremely hard to split the pair at the final bell. Coming into the contest both had just a single loss on their records and the all-action affair was give and take all the way.
Mills probably landed the more eye-catching shots over the 10 rounds, but Ballingall showed tremendous will-to-win as he kept ploughing forward in an attempt to overwhelm his opponent. The early rounds were close but the fifth was clearly a good round for Mills with Lucas seemingly tiring. The fight then seemed to swing in favour of the Pompey man in a real war of attrition in the sixth as he refused to back down and kept Mills on the ropes. It was more of the same in the seventh as Ballingall swarmed the champion and refused to let him work, but the ninth saw Mills come out with renewed purpose and found shots to stop Lucas in his tracks.
At the final bell, with a draw seeming a fair result, Mills retained his title with a score of 96-94 and 96-95 twice. A terrific hard-fought contest, it’s one we’re not likely to see again with Ballingall, 13-2 (3), expressing a desire to move up in weight, while Myron, 15-1 (6), has his sights firmly set on British champ Maxi Hughes.
Former world kickboxing champ Katie Healy got her pro boxing career off to a winning start against Claudia Ferenczi 20-76-8 (10) at bantamweight. A lot is expected of the Wolverhampton woman in what is a thriving British and world’s women’s scene, and the 22-year-old gradually grew into the four round bout. Tall and rangy, Healy began to find the distance and put her shots together well as the contest progressed. It will be really interesting to see how far the personable Midlander can go in the sport, in what will be a really exciting ride.
Iain Martell remained undefeated and did what few others can do when he stopped Elvis Dube in two rounds. The former Southern Area Cruiserweight champ, now down at light-heavyweight, showed his power with some well-placed body shots. Dube, 10-85-2 (7), had only ever been stopped seven times before in nearly 100 fights but was down once in the first, and then stayed down for the 10-second count in the next. Now 30, Iain is 10-0 (4) and can look forward to some exciting fights in a very lively domestic division.
Sheffield welterweight Anthony Tomlinson, 13-0 (7), shed the ring rust after over a year out of the ring with a fluent six-round shutout points win over Genadij Krajevskij, 0-13. Tomlinson looks pretty special and his quality was evident against his Liverpool-based Lithuanian foe, who was on the backfoot for the entirety of the contest. ‘The Truth’, completely in control against his late replacement opponent, looked like he had more levels to go through and is likely to face a much tougher test next against James Moorcroft – who followed him on the card.
Moorcroft – from Wigan – looked very composed as he worked his way through the gears in a six-rounder against West Midland’s MJ Hall, 2-59-2. Moorcroft rarely wasted a shot, and switched it up at times as he cruised to a dominant 60-54 points win over journeyman Hall. Now 14-1 (5), James looks to have sharpened his tools under the guidance of former world champ Anthony Crolla and the proposed future title fight with Anthony Tomlinson promises to be a cracker.
Birmingham’s Tommy ‘Machine Gun’ Collins moved to 3-0 with a lively four-threes workout against Midlands rival Clayton Bricknell. Collins knew just a bit too much for his rugged opponent from Wolverhampton who is now 3-5-1.
Also on the bill, three debutants started as they mean to go on by chalking up victories – Rob Magill from York, Bradley Thompson from Telford and Bradford’s Nathan Cawood all got off to winning starts and will look forward to building their careers on exciting new platform Fightzone.