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High Stakes: Bowes vs Foot, English Super-Lightweight Title

York Hall, May 27th 2017
Adam Thorn, ringside

The vacant English super-lightweight title was up for grabs in the main event on a beautiful, but sweltering, evening in York Hall, promoted by Mickey Helliet’s Hellraiser. The spiritual home of boxing is well known for its ability to amplify the atmosphere, both of a boxing crowd and the weather; High Stakes was no different. The attendees were boisterous throughout the evening but when Phil “Quicksilver” Bowes entered for his shot at the aforementioned strap they quickly swelled and became partizan. It was to be expected, Bowes fights out of the West Ham Boys Club and in the away corner was the heavy handed Glenn Foot, who had made his way from Sunderland. This was no local derby, though it was vitally important to both men’s careers and confidence.

Bowes vs Foot weigh in

At the weigh in Bowes looked huge for a super-lightweight, whereas the smaller looking Foot took three attempts to get down to the limit. Bowes’ assertion he had eaten breakfast was either cocksure gamesmanship, or a clear indication that he was the natural super lightweight, and that Foot would still be rehydrating the following day. Phil’s promoter, Mickey Helliet, had said that if Bowes was to win the English title, this was his chance, at home with his fans and his team around him. “Quicksilver” appeared relaxed and chatty. Glenn Foot, for his part, was nothing short of calmly confident; a man of few words. Differing personalities, and the records heading into the fight were just as contrasting. Bowes had accrued fifteen wins, two losses, and it is fair to say isn’t known as a puncher, with just two knockout victories. His best win had been the away defeat of Nathan Dale, then twenty fights unbeaten. Foot’s only loss of a twenty fight career going into the bout was to the now highly regarded Sam Eggington, up at welterweight, for the British title.

They say in football that form goes out of the window in a cup match. In boxing every fight is a cup match. There’s always a bigger, better, more beautiful prize on the horizon. Just not losing is a prize in a sport so brave as boxing. The English title is perhaps two or three titles away from a “world” belt. As such the English Title is both a huge, to continue the metaphor, cup match, and trophy in and of itself. Philip Bowes and Glenn Foot knew that walking into the dripping York Hall ring.

Through the haze and sweaty mist of an east end summer evening the two men accepted the referee’s words and turned to face one another. Surely the loneliest moment for a fighter, that space between entering the ring and the first bell. At the bell Foot came running in, wanting to pressure, hussle, Bowes. Phil got off pot shots as Glenn rushed through and tied up when the Mackem got too close. There was an element of unsavoury behaviour from the get go, with the referee Bob Williams giving both men a stern talking to in the first round. The action didn’t ignite in the first few stanzas as the smaller Foot tried to get on the inside and force Bowes to trade with him. That fight plan didn’t suit the home fighter however, and he did whatever he could to prevent it, much to the audible displeasure of Foot’s corner.

In the second round referee Williams had enough of the clinching and took a point from both fighters, the deduction worked and the action opened up. Bowes visibly grew in confidence, landing ones and twos then dancing away. Foot’s attack was fairly predictable, steaming forward in straight lines using his head as a third fist, but when he did land, you could hear the power in the shots. Until the fifth round, Bowes used his reach advantage and fancy footwork to win points, and tied up to frustrate Foot as he waded towards him, but when a couple of straight rights connected, Bowes’ legs stiffened and he remained where he was rather than moving off, allowing Foot to continue to land. As the bell went and Glenn headed back to his corner the away team said to one another “we’re winning now”. It was hard not to agree; it felt like the fight was turning in their favour.

Foot had more success with the right in the sixth round, although Bowes did make him miss wildly near the bell. Unperturbed, Foot grinned as he walked back to his stool. He looked like he knew he had Bowes’ number, and in the seventh round another identical attack found Bowes’ chin, leaving the Londoner looking briefly in trouble. “Quicksilver” recovered well however, and lasted the round. What the success of those attacks did do, was force Bowes to get on his bike for the last few rounds, continuing to tie in close- to the away corner’s ongoing chagrin. Their man was hardly an angel, but it was understandable with a title on the line that both fighters used whatever edge they could to their favour. In the final few rounds Bowes moved beautifully, but didn’t throw enough back at Foot, and the feeling was that these were rounds just slipping away from him.

At the final bell the greenhouse that York Hall had become hushed for the cards, anticipating, hoping for a decision to rescue their man. My card had Phil one point ahead at the end, but my gut feeling that Glenn had got the win seemed to be shared by the crowd, and by both fighters going on their body language. And so it was, all three judges turned in cards of 93-95 and as Foot’s team lifted him on their shoulders, Bowes slunk away to contemplate what went wrong. He’d put in a monumental effort and showed classy skills but it was hard to shake the feeling that Foot’s high work rate was catching the judge's eye, and that had Bowes thrown more leather in the last few rounds, he might have come away victorious. Easier said than done. Foot has been enjoying his victory by engaging in a Facebook spat with another Hellraiser prospect, and Southern Area super-lightweight champion Siar Ozgul. Bowes is left looking at another rebuilding job, but the popular Londoner should come again.

Follow Adam Thorn on Twitter: @LaudusHimself

Top photo: Andrew Clugston

 

 

Posted: 30th May 2017

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