Gary Cornish felled his Hungarian opponent in the second round of his seventh professional outing in the luxurious surrounds of the Drumossie Hotel, Inverness on Friday evening, as professional boxing made its second visit to the capital city of the Highlands.
The 6ft 7in heavyweight was topping the bill in his home city and the legions of fans will have been more than pleased with the outcome. Lazlo Peczeli (18st 8lbs) was only a couple of inches shorter than the 'Highlander' but carried most of his bulk well.
With his own unbeaten record at risk (3-0-1) the Magyar from Budapest was not in the Drumossie to share in hospitality though, and did look the part of someone determined to defend it. Looks can be deceptive, and obviously Cornish was not intimidated in the slightest by the aggressive looks from the man from Hungary.
Cornish took the bout to Peczeli from the first bell, pummelling the midriff with some venomous hooks. Cornish also peppered the shaven head of the Hungarian with hurtful and accurate jabs, which were beginning to redden the Magyar’s face, and certainly changed the look on it to one of pain. A left hook put the giant from Budapest onto the canvas towards the end of the round which had him on the receiving end of a standing count from referee Kenny Pringle. No sooner had the action recommenced than Peczeli was further rattled from the local man only to be saved by the bell to end the first round.
Cornish was still a bit lackadaisical with his defence. However, it was tighter than his last outing and is obviously something he’s working on with his coach Laurie Redfern. Not that he needed it as he put the Hungarian into a spin and version of the famed Hungarian goulash with a right hook/cross which spun the big man round, and onto the canvas again after only 15 seconds of round two.
Peczeli was never going to beat the count from Kenny Pringle and was obviously in some pain too. The medics at ringside were in attendance but not for the technical knock out, rather for his foot which he’d obviously gone over on during his pirouette prior to hitting the deck. Efforts by his corner man to remove the boot were accompanied with yelps of pain which could clearly be heard ringside even with the cacophony of cheering for the local man. His withdrawal from the ring was done carefully on his part as it was obvious he couldn’t put any weight on it (and he had plenty of that).
The evening opened with two Scotsmen sharing the ring. Alastair 'Jasper' Chisholm (10st 11lbs 8oz) as local hero, was matched with the man from the borders Gary Collins (10st 9lbs 12oz) of Melrose. From the opening bell Collins demonstrated that despite the local and very vocal support for Jasper, he wasn’t here to make up the numbers, and went straight out to do the business with panache. Fortunately Jasper got into his stride quickly enough to possibly nick the opening round by the closest of margins.
This bout was a wee firecracker and fairly sizzled both ways until towards the end of the second when Chisholm unleashed what must be his best ever shot, decking the Borderer for the count at the 1 minute 50 seconds mark. If Jasper fights from now to Kingdom come he’ll never throw a sweeter left hook.
The second bout of the night featured Castlemilk’s Gary McCallum (11st 12lbs) sharing the ring with Kieran Gray (11st 9lbs 12oz) from Telford in the Midlands. McCallum has fast hands and I well remember him from my days with the amateurs. (N.B. The author has held many positions of responsibility in amateur boxing, including a stint as Scotland's team manager - Ed.) Gray though was having none of this stylish stuff, and had every intention of making a brawl of it. The Telford man was clinching too much for my liking, but it was effective in that he was preventing the fluidity of McCallum from running away with it.
This bout went the full eight rounds and although it wasn’t silky stuff, the hessian quality of Gray was efficacious enough to get him a couple of the rounds out of Kenny Pringle. There was no real doubt as to who would win on a boxing level, and McCallum duly ran out a 78-75 winner on points. This bout was tousled but absorbing nonetheless as Gray always had the potential to connect with his wilder hooks had McCallum not avoided them.
The appearance of Frank Maloney ringside will have had tongues wagging about the 'Highlander's' potential, and in truth if something does materialise between Tommy Gilmour and Frank Maloney for Cornish then Scotland finally may have a heavyweight to think about.