Liverpool’s Jazza Dickens (15-0) made hard work of his victory over Welshman Dai Davies (9-22-2) last night at the Olympia in Liverpool. Although Dickens took the verdict from referee Mark Lyson by a 99-93 margin, the fight failed to ignite and consequently so did a very disappointing crowd of only a few hundred.
Billed as being for something described as the British Masters “Silver” super bantamweight title, the whole Masters situation has been well documented on this site recently but I still have absolutely no idea what the objective of this title is, other than providing the winner with a particularly ugly mass of leather and metal.
Dickens (8st 10lb) was responsible for initiating most of the attacks throughout the fight, and this seemed to be his problem. Merthyr Tydfil’s Davies (9st) was more than happy in allowing Dickens to come forward, largely throwing single shots in response.
In a contest where very few significant shots of note landed, when Dickens did back Davies into a corner, the punches although thrown with menace were connecting with gloves and arms. Davies was occasionally able to beat the free-swinging Jazza to the punch, preferring straight shots down the middle as both men had difficulty finding the range, often falling short with their attacks. Over the latter rounds Dickens remained keen to impress his hometown crowd, yet nothing clicked, as his attempts at looping southpaw right hands sailed harmlessly over Davies’ head. Jazza was clearly winning the fight on output alone yet managed to do it without ever appearing in full control.
All in all a frustrating outing for the undefeated Dickens who registered his 15th straight win. He will have been hoping to make a statement to his domestic peers in the super bantamweight division, particularly Sheffield’s Kid Galahad who appeared to be on the same trajectory, although on this form Jazza has some ground to make up.
The main talking point of the undercard was the appearance of the “Hopeless Hungarians”, who rather like the “Latvian Lemmings” of several years ago, all put in appalling performances. Four fighters from Hungary appeared on the bill, and all four were summarily destroyed in double quick time.
The show started with Patrik Palik (3-3) falling to cruiserweight Louis Cuddy (8-0) in 81 seconds of the first round. Cuddy (14st 5lb) dug in a solid right hand to the body of Palik (18st 8lb) and had him in some distress early. Palik however was unable to protect the vulnerable area and presented Cuddy with the gift of being able to smash away at the same spot for 20-30 seconds before he collapsed against the ropes and was rescued by referee Mark Lyson.
Another first round demolition job was carried out by light welterweight Steven Lewis (2-0). Lewis came out very aggressively against Jozsef Garai (4-13-1), a left hook, and right hand 1-2 dropping the visitor in the first minute and busting his nose. Lewis (10st 5lb 9oz) then blasted away at his backpedalling opponent, a solid straight right hand and vicious body shots forcing referee Lyson’s intervention at 2:26 of round one. Garai (10st 5lb 12oz) ended his night with his face a bloodied mask of pain and confusion.
The delayed professional debut of Belfast bantamweight Ryan Burnett was greeted with ringside enthusiasm as he entered the ring with trainer Ricky Hatton. Unfortunately Burnett’s assignment was a complete mismatch, Laszlo Nemesapati (1-4) wearing the rabbit-in-headlights look so often seen by viewers of Audley Harrison’s recent outings.
Perhaps he was embarrassed by the ill-fitting trunks, or maybe even the realisation he couldn’t actually fight. His torture was mercifully quick, the sharp and aggressive Burnett taking him out in 1:14 of round one. Burnett (8st 6lb) will never have an easier night as he barely broke sweat in walking right through the Hungarian. Initially Ryan showed feints to produce his openings, but quickly realised feinting wasn’t even necessary, he could simply walk in and finish the job. Nemesapati (8st 10lb 3oz) winced from every shot and flailed desperately without even being able to punch correctly. Burnett slammed in shots to body and head, sending the terrible Nemesapati to the canvas where Mark Lyson counted him out. Burnett did what he had to do with minimum fuss. Frightening to think there is a fighter out there who has actually been defeated by Nemesapati, who I am sure was making both his first and last appearance in a British ring.
The final member of Team Hopeless – David Kanalas (12-6) – will be given the open-top bus treatment back in Budapest as he managed to make it into round two against another Ulsterman James Tennyson (6-0). However, this was due to Tennyson’s more patient approach in taking a look at his opponent before opening up, rather than having to credit Kanalas (10st 1lb 7oz) with enhanced durability. When "Baby Faced Assassin" Tennyson (10st 1lb 6oz) did open up in round two, three straight right hands all connected and sent Kanalas down for the full ten count administered by referee Alvin Finch.
Dean Swanson from Kirkby made his professional debut with a 40-37 win over Nuneaton's Kristian Laight (7-148-6). Swanson (9st 7lb 3oz) landed a solid left hook to the body in round one, but Laight (9st 12lb 10oz) showed disdain wobbling his shoulders and sticking his tongue out at the debutant. Laight managed to catch Swanson coming in with several right hands in round two, making Swanson think twice about launching his attacks. The enthusiastic Swanson coped well with the height and experience of Laight, concentrating on slamming in left hands to Laight’s lanky frame and getting his pro debut off to a winning start.
A cruiserweight fight saw Carl Dilks (17-6) take all four rounds against Elvis Dube (5-17-1). Dilks (13st 6lb 6oz) looked huge compared to Dube (13st 3lb 5oz) and dominated the fight with his size, firing out jabs and right hands with his hands held low. Dube couldn’t cope with the incessant shots coming at him and caught plenty on the top of his head against the taller Dilks. Elvis pressed the action in the fourth, opening up a cut on the left eye of Dilks, although it wasn’t enough to prevent to 40-36 verdict from referee Lyson.
Liverpool light welterweight Nathan Brough moved to 10-0 with a six round points win over Birmingham’s Jason Nesbitt (9-167-4). In his 179th fight, Nesbitt was unafraid to trade hooks with Brough who put in a disciplined performance to record the 60-54 victory from referee Finch. As the fight progressed Brough upped the gears and went all out in round four, slamming Nesbitt with rapid combinations of power punches in order to find a way through the guard. Nesbitt though, was able to weather the storm and come back with body shots of his own, backing Brough up in round five. Brough did appear to have some difficulty with his left hand in the last couple of rounds, turning southpaw to use his right hand as his jabbing hand to keep Nesbitt at bay - hardly using his left at all.
Another cruiserweight fight provided some top entertainment as Wayne Adeniyi (7-0) beat Moses Matovu (4-28-3) over four rounds. In round one, the Ugandan Matovu (13st 6lb 8oz) started to wave his right hand above his head before throwing it fast-bowler style at a bemused Adeniyi (13st 10lb 7oz). Both men were guilty of loading up with big shots as they enticed each other into a scrap. As the madcap Matovu rushed in during round two, Adeniyi clipped him with a left hook to the top of the head putting him down. Matovu rose straight away, unhurt, and managed to land a big overhand right to Adeniyi’s face at the end of the round, which momentarily stunned him.
The fourth round was a fantastic session as both fighters went for it, and jabbing was completely off the agenda. Matovu took some heavy shots from Adeniyi and laughed them off, sending in his own bombs as both men winged in powerful hooks until the final bell. The 40-35 points tally from Alvin Finch was scant reward for Matovu’s effort but Adeniyi’s busier workrate made him a clear winner.
Announcer Michael Pass invited the audience on a night out in Bangor with Moses. Get it in your diaries.
In a six-threes bantamweight contest, Ryan Farrag (9-1) got a shock in the opening round against Najah Ali (5-3-1) when the Iraqi fired in his own WMD - a counter right over the top - which dropped the Liverpool man in the process of launching his own attack. As he rose Farrag’s (8st 9lb 6oz) legs looked shaky for a second but he held firm as Alvin Finch gave the eight count. Ali (8st 9lb 5oz) landed a similar shot at the beginning of round two, Farrag now more tentative after being caught, although he became more aggressive as the fight progressed. There were ominous signs from Ali, who throws a very fast left hook, several of which whistled past the head of the oncoming Farrag. Ryan continued to press and outwork Ali, although the Farrag corner were imploring their man to tighten up defensively. 59-57 was the official score.
Lightweight Tommy Carus (6-1) dropped Liam Ellis (0-6-2) twice en route to a 40-34 points victory. Carus (10st 1lb 6oz) landed with a burst of punches in round three and Ellis (10st 1lb 7oz) went down. It initially looked like a slip but ref Lyson ruled a knockdown and delivered an eight count. With a minute left in the fight, Carus decked Ellis legitimately – another volley of punches sending Liam to the floor in a neutral corner. Carus looked composed throughout in moving to 6-1, whilst Ellis still searches for his first professional win at 0-5-2.