A late hand injury to Yassine El Maachi saw much talked about Romford cruiserweight prospect Tony ‘The Conqueror’ Conquest (14st 2 1/2 lbs) top Goodwin Promotions 'Essex Eruption' bill at Dagenham's Goresbrook Leisure Centre in his first bout since September last year. A last minute switch of opponent saw Conquest up against the current Ghanaian cruiserweight champion Prince George Akrong (13st 11lbs), who was fighting outside of Ghana for the first time since 2007.
For the record, his previous two visits to the UK resulted in two of his four career losses, the other two happening in France, so one could say he doesn't travel that well. Akrong's cornerman is the spitting image of Jimmy Cliff, and right from the opening bell it was indeed looking like he had many rivers to cross if he was to have any joy against a slick Conquest, who looked well up for the job in hand.
Wild lunging punches from the Ghanaian were being slipped easily by Conquest, who countered with solid jabs and looked in great shape as he coped superbly with Akrong's violent advances. These caused him to take a tumble in the opening round and he was unlucky to get a count, as it looked like he slipped rather then was punched down.
The Ghanaian started round two with intent, and marched forward but was kept at bay with a tidy jab from Conquest, who dominated throughout the round. More wild swings were met with smart counters in round three, and Conquest looked as if he was enjoying his first outing in six months. His neat head movement was making Akrong repeatedly miss the target, and at one point during the fifth, the Ghanaian looked spent as Conquest had him on the ropes and was unloading hurtful shots to his body. Akrong managed to clip Conquest's chin at the end of round five, but this was laughed off.
Conquest started round six looking for the stoppage, and, sure enough, a cracking one-two sent Akrong to the canvas. He managed to rise, but constant pressure from Conquest caused the referee to wave the fight off just over a minute into round six.
After the fight, Conquest thanked his physiotherapist who has guided him through some recent injury problems. Well done to Prince George Akrong for coming in at short notice, but he was no match for Conquest, who proved he has knockout power and should now look for a sterner test as he moves to 6-0.
Promoter Steve Goodwin is keen to put Conquest in with the experienced Toks 'Viper' Owoh (19-5), who has won his first two comeback fights after a five year hiatus and campaigns on the cruiser/heavyweight cusp.
Pat McAleese (11-1) beat Fran Gonzalez (3-8) over six-threes
Light Middleweight 'Phat' Pat McAleese (11st) was coming off the back of his first career loss back in September last year to Lee Noble. The Newmarket fighter, trained by Johnny Eames and Brian O’Shaughnessy at the Ultrachem TKO Gym, was in against Spain's Fran Gonzalez (11st 1/2lb), who spent most of the first round trying to protect his head and repel McAleese's relentless shots from the ropes. The second round started at a fair pace, with controlled ring movement from McAleese, who was showing a far superior workrate and easily took the first three rounds. Gonzalez started the fourth with purpose, but was soon forced back by solid work from McAleese, who continued to outpunch the Spaniard and made him spend large parts of the round against the ropes. Referee Jeff Hines would have been justified in stepping in halfway through round five, with Gonzalez taking many unanswered shots on the ropes, but he managed to fight his way out to take the fight the full six rounds. Referee scored the fight 60-54 for McAleese, who returns to winning ways with a shutout.
Michael Norgrove (5-0) bt Jan Balog (1-5) over six-threes
Light-middleweight Michael 'The Zambezi Hitman' Norgrove (11st 3 1/2lbs) of Woodford, Essex was up against Jan Balog (10st 13lbs) of the Czech Republic in his fifth pro outing. A cagey opener saw Norgrove assess his opponent and control the round from range. Norgrove slipped some powerful shots from the Czech in the second and counter punched his man to great effect, putting him in trouble on the ropes with four and five punch combinations. Balog punched hard, but with little accuracy, and he was finding Norgrove's economic movement difficult to deal with. Despite slowing a little in the fourth, Norgrove delivered a tidy right hand that caused Balog to take a knee. A beautiful uppercut caused him more problems in the 5th, but not quite enough to cause the stoppage. The final round began with Norgrove finding success with body shots, which put Balog down for the eight count, but he rose gamely to take more punishment before another hard left to the body saw him take another count. To his credit, he rose once again to finish the bout. Referee scored the fight 60-54 for Norgrove, who moves to 5-0.
'Pretty' Ricky Boylan (2-0) beat Kristian Laight (6-90-6) over four-threes
Light-welterweight Another hot Ultrachem TKO prospect, Ricky Boylan (9st 12 1/2 lbs) was in his second pro outing after earning a points decision in his debut against Birmingham's tough journeyman Sid Razak, who was also on tonight's bill. Boylan was matched up against Kristian Laight (10st) of Nuneaton, Warwickshire, who has six wins from over 100 bouts. Carshalton's Boylan was out of the blocks quickly, and remained the aggressor in a dominating opening round. Laight had few answers to Boylan’s in and out work. Round two was a little more even, with Boylan unloading halfway through and landing a superb right cross which drew a look of acknowledgement from Laight. Boylan's fast movement and ability to move in and out of range swiftly was causing Laight plenty of problems.
He tried to psyche Boylan out with noises, verbals and smiles but Boylan remained focussed and looked sharp as he picked his man off with speedy combination punching that kept him at bay for most of the third round. The final round saw Boylan have success with his jab, with Laight backed up and punching at shadows for the majority of the round. Boylan oozed class, and despite his opponents' 100-odd bouts, he looked the much more experienced fighter, and is a hot prospect at light welter - one of the UK's most stacked divisions where plenty of sterner tests of await him. Referee scored the fight 39-37 for Boylan, who cruised to his second pro win, and definitely looks one to watch.