By Dan Foster: Rangy Sheffield southpaw Tom ‘2Classy’ McCassey was first up on promoter David Coldwell’s good value Ponds Forge bill and the junior pro is proving an exciting watch for small hall fans.
Although possessed of very long reach and a good jab, middleweight McCassey has a fighter’s instinct and always gives the paying punter an entertaining encounter.
This bout against journeyman Joe Jones was no different and McCassey again demonstrated that he was prepared to take risks and ship shots in the name of delivering a fight for the fans. In truth, Tom may have come a little too close for comfort this time.
Having shaded the first two sessions, swapping more leather than would have made watching manager John Ingle comfortable, McCassey never saw a looping left hook that detonated squarely on his chin and left him dropped in a pile for a nine count. To his credit, he made his way to his feet, survived the rest of round three and then recovered to win the fourth and final round impressively.
Having now improved to 3-0 – all close encounters – one ringside wag has dubbed him Tom ‘Life and Death’ McCassey but there are worse reputations to be had. Fans will think it to his credit that he is such a watchable draw on the small hall circuit. A word of praise, too, to professional opponent Jones, who dug in, punched hard and nearly caused an upset.
McCassey’s Wincobank stablemate Atif ‘Unique’ Shafiq delivered a far more reassuring performance, easily outboxing Kristian ‘Mr Reliable’ Laight. Laight turned out for an incredible 160th time and predictably survived four-threes against the neat and tidy Shafiq. There were no real scares for the Nuneaton veteran but Shafiq showed a sparkle in his footwork and an apparent relish in his sport that marks him out as one to keep an eye on. The Rotherham lad is now 4-0 and could achieve some success in the domestic lightweight division if he can locate a little more pop in his punches.
Another Ingle trained, Rotherham born prospect working last night was heavyweight Kash Ali, although he may be disappointed by his performance as he went over old ground against James Oliphant. Ali looked laboured at times and trainer Dominic Ingle tells me he was suffering from a bad back last night. Still, Ali has been marked out as a fighter with potential and seems to have good movement and skills for a genuine heavyweight.
With that in mind, next time he boxes he’ll want to show more devil and desire than was on display here. He won easily enough, the ref scoring 40-37, but couldn’t seem to get out of second gear. It’s early days for the talented Ali, though, and there’s no reason why he can’t reflect on this disappointment and come back stronger and with a renewed purpose. He’s now 4-0 whilst the honest Oliphant awaits his first win.
Sam ‘The Sensation’ O’Maison, a 23 year-old lightweight, is being talked about by those in the know as the next serious talent to roll off the Ingle production line. A quick switch-hitter with very smooth lateral movement, O’Maison really made a mark last time out when he systematically took apart then-unbeaten Staffordshire prospect Andy Keates. This time out, a similar standard opponent couldn’t be sourced and so Sam was in against tough Lancashire stayer William Warbuton.
O’Maison showed some lovely skills and at times threatened to open up but in general delivered a controlled performance and cantered to the finish line, taking all four rounds with ease. At times Warbuton had to ship some very heavy shots although, to be fair, he had a little joy himself in the final round, catching a dozing O’Maison and causing a trickle of blood from his nose. This was very much a marking-time fight for O’Maison though and the Sheffield lightweight seems sure to have tougher tests ahead in the near future.
Some fans will wonder how long it may be before a Sheffield lightweight derby with Curtis Woodhouse becomes a serious option for all parties to consider.
Rotherham tough man Karl Bell took a 40-36 victory over Latvian, Stanislavs Makarenko. Bell had to eat a big right in the opening seconds and an even bigger one early in the second but he took them and then decided the better option would be to box at range. The Latvian was always a danger though and never stopped looking for another big shot. Mark Lyson officiated.
MrLyson reffed the show closer too, a four-twos between Muheeb Fazeldin and Anwar Alfadli. Fazeldin, busier and always one punch ahead, won 40-37, with Lyson giving Alfadli a share of the third. It was a good little scrap, and Alfadli was a bit more positive than usual.