Pioneer Promotions (Glyn Rhodes and Dennis Hobson Jr’s brother, Andy) last night staged their first bill of a series at what proved to be an excellent venue, Ice Sheffield.
This gives BoxRec News the opportunity for many puns, but we’ll skate over that.
Two title fights were on the bill. Both looked like they could go all the way on paper. Both bouts combined lasted less than three minutes.
Topping the bill was Sheffield’s Sam Sheedy who has been restricted to just seven fights in over four years due to troublesome hip and shoulder injuries. He might argue that his performance in snatching Jason Ball’s Central Area title was worth waiting for.
Sheedy boxed Ball in July and won on points, 40-37 and there was little indication that this contest would provide immediate fireworks. After the usual ‘getting to know you’ movements, Sheedy cracked in a left hook that had the Doncaster man down heavily. Ball rose bravely but Sheedy jumped on him and after another left, referee Michael Alexander jumped in to rescue him. Time, 2:05.
The ring filled with delighted members of Glyn Rhodes’ Sheffield Boxing Centre, who have earned yet another Area belt. Sheedy moves to 7-0 whilst a shellshocked Ball drops to 5-10-1.
Earlier in the evening, another Rhodes fighter won a title in even shorter time. There was a short delay in getting the match for the vacant British Masters super-middleweight title underway due to both ring doctors being otherwise occupied. It was only a short delay – but longer than the contest itself.
Sheffield’s Wayne Reed blew away Titchfield’s Sam Couzens in just 40 seconds. Reed slammed home a right to the body which must have just hit the right/wrong spot, dependent on your perspective. Couzens crumpled in pain and when you’ve seen as many fights as BoxRec News has, you know in a split second that it’s Goodnight, Irene.
Rhodes, as he often does, left his man to celebrate and tended to the stricken Couzens who was clearly angry at himself. It will be scant consolation, but that can happen to anyone.
Sheffield middleweight Jez Wilson had his twelfth fight tonight; he’s probably had as many half-decent bouts fall through. After another period of unwanted inactivity, the Fighting Fireman set about Huddersfield’s Alastair Warren as if he had a lot of pent up anger and frustration to burn up. Three wicked lefts to the body from Wilson would have stopped many an opponent but Warren wasn’t in the mood to fold; he did really well to see out the first session as he couldn’t keep Wilson at bay. Warren did end the round with a cut above his right eye – an injury that later decided the contest in Wilson’s favour.
Wilson was a buzzsaw in there but Warren began to pick him off on his way in, choosing his punches nicely which drew Ric Flair-style ‘Wooo!’ shouts from his trainer Chris Aston, who had ongoing banter with his opposite number Rhodes. Basically, if Wilson’s opponents don’t fold, you know you’re going to see a cracking brawl because he, as he admits himself, just fights like that.
I had the second level, Warren pinched a close third with his better work and they were difficult to split in the fourth. It was a ‘phone box’ fight, with neither man wanting to give an inch. Level going into the fifth, Warren’s cut deteriorated noticeably and referee Latham rightly called the ringside doctor into action, who waved it off. The cut was around an inch and a half long, above the eye but below the eyebrow. Not good.
A shame, because it was level going into the fifth (on the referee’s card, not just that of BoxRec News) and the sixth and final round would have no doubt been as good as the earlier ones.
Wilson had previously been matched in a British title eliminator contest and lost out on that opportunity due to being messed around by prospective opponent Tom Doran who then surprisingly retired. Now at 10-1-1 and having fought some good men, he deserves to be put back in the mix.
The first three fights of the night all featured debutants. The show opener was savage amusement for Conisbrough first-timer Arron Boyce who found that the ring is a very lonely place at times. A lonely place where someone keeps punching you in the face.
Islington’s Junior Millar, who only had a solitary draw to his name himself, edged a scrappy first round as ‘Boycie’ tried to find his confidence. Millar sensed a chance to earn his first win and from the beginning of the second simply set his stall out to bully Boyce, rattling in head shots which the Yorkshireman couldn’t avoid. He initially tried to fire back but was just walked down and Millar was clearly dominant.
Boyce, bloodied-nosed, was shocked and despite the urgings of his trainer Glyn Rhodes to throw some punches just couldn’t break out of the shell in which he’d been put.
Referee John Latham had words with the pair at the start of the third round as it had been very scrappy. Millar was very crude but it was certainly effective as Boyce could only look to survive. Given that the contest wasn’t even half way through, this was never going to happen and inevitably, Boyce was knocked down after taking one too many. He showed guts to rise and withstand some more but in the end Millar was enjoying himself too much and Mr Latham rightly stopped the one-way traffic at 1:40 of the third. The experience, as painful as it was, might serve Boyce well in his next contest.
Doncaster’s Matthew Brierley fared better on his bow, stopping another debutant in Nottingham Tamai Harding with a peach of a right hand after 75 seconds of the second round.
The ending came out of nowhere; the first had been evenly contested with very little connecting from either cruiserweight. Then came a two-fisted assault all of a sudden from Brierley and Harding pitched forward on to the canvas. He did try his best to stand but was on very wobbly legs and referee Michael Alexander rightly waved it off.
A likeable boxer called Paul Haines made his way over the Pennines from Manchester to make his debut at light-welterweight. In an old school respectful gesture, he bowed to each corner of the hall as he entered the ring. The polite chap also extended a glove to his opponent at the opening bell. Unfortunately, Barnsley’s Ben Wager ignored it and tried to lamp him. Welcome to the pro ranks, Paul.
Unfortunately for the Lancastrian, things didn’t really improve for him from then. Wager seemed intent on getting things over as quickly as possible and Haines had to withstand a torrid first round, though he did so with some skill and also managed to offer some resistance. Whilst Wager’s pace couldn’t last at that high-octane level, allowing Haines to get on the front foot occasionally, the South Yorkshire southpaw swept the remaining rounds to win 40-36 on Mr Latham’s card.
Nomination for one of the worst fan shouts of the year. A Wager fan in the third: “He’s trying to ‘old man’ yer, Ben!” What, a 27 year-old debutant?
Apparently James Tucker isn’t a big fan of fellow Doncaster light-heavyweight Daniel Slaney and had put himself forward for this match. So, it was no surprise that the now 7-55-4 journeyman put in one of his better efforts and earned a deserved draw against Slaney, who is now 4-0-1. Slaney’s better, southpaw boxing won the first though he was assisted in this by Tucker’s normal practice of walking forward, hands high but not doing much.
Tucker came alive in the second and had a real go, taking Slaney by surprise. Slaney couldn’t keep him off in this round or the third and Tucker was looking at a rare win if he could at least earn a share of the last. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t maintain his efforts and Slaney boxed nicely off the jab to take the last. Mr Alexander had it spot on at 38 apiece.
Light-heavyweight Adrian Clegg brought a good few with him from Pontefract and if any of them had bothered to look at his opponent’s record before the bout, they must have fancied their chances. Clegg was 6-1 whilst Lincoln’s Mitch Mitchell had only had the one bout, a draw. The West Yorkshire fans were to be disappointed as Mitchell, with Esham Pickering in his corner, put in a mature and controlled performance which belied his inexperience, stopping Clegg at 1:54 of the third of a scheduled four-threes.
The pair looked well matched and shared an opener in which Mitchell did a bit more but Clegg showed better quality. Mitchell banged in a one-two in the second which hurt Clegg; whether the Lincoln man knew this or not, he bided his time. A three punch combination, the last of which was a tasty left hook, came from Mitchell and it was followed by another left. Clegg couldn’t see the warning signs and shipped another left, this time skidding across the canvas on his backside and into the ropes. His fans gave a collective intake of breath. Clegg managed to hold, spoil and see out the round though he retreated to his corner on shaky pins.
For some inexplicable reason, Clegg began the third round with his hands held low. The next near-two minutes were like watching a spider have its legs picked off by a long-sighted lad without his glasses on. Mitchell would bang in one or two hefty shots but couldn’t quite muster enough to finish the job, even though Clegg seemed to be asking for it. A flush left hook looked like it might have persuaded Mr Latham to jump in as Clegg wobbled but the referee decided to give him another chance. As it turned out, this merely delayed the inevitable and he rescued Clegg moments later.
Whilst BoxRec News scored the contest between Sheffield’s Dave Fidler and Nottingham’s Simone Lucas a 38-38 draw, John Latham’s card a point in the hometown fighter’s favour was understandable. Lucas scored a knockdown in an otherwise uneventful opening round; a punch was thrown but Fidler also looked off-balance. Mr Latham only scored it 10-9 for Lucas, which is what he was presumably explaining to Lucas’ man Jimmy Gill at the end, who wasn’t happy that his man had been again overlooked.
I’ve seen most of Fidler’s fights (he’s now 4-0-1) - he’s not going to set the world alight, especially at the age of 34, but he gives it all he can. It was a tremendous bout and Fidler’s workrate got him the win. Lucas was no slouch either – he was very elusive and negated much of Fidler’s advances and had the Sheffield man in trouble on occasions. This was a rematch, the last being a draw, and the pair should really square off again.
A super card in a super venue, though the early finishes certainly helped matters. Little time was wasted between bouts yet despite two one-round blowouts and other stoppages, the bill finished at around 10.30. If all bouts had gone the distance, as they often do, it would have been a late old finish. Great scraps and hopefully this promotional company can repeat the trick in this venue soon.