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Hellraiser and Warriors co-production features an entertaining main event and introduces some exciting new talent

Another packed card at York Hall introduced several debutants to the professional ranks and had a main event which was exciting and provided a slightly controversial result.

The evening started with Max Wicks (4-1, 0 KOs) against vastly experienced Kevin McCauley (13-137-11, 0 KOs) over four rounds. Super Welterweight Wicks entered the contest fresh from revenge against Sonny Whiting, who had beaten him on points in his fourth fight. Whiting is an underrated boxer and has upset unbeaten fighters before. Wicks showed good shot selection and combinations before getting out of range, including an eye catching four punch combo in the second, racking up the points. McCauley was happy to load up on one or two punches a round, but neither had the power to put the fight to bed. McCauley dropped a 40-36 decision, Worthing’s Wicks moves to 5-1.

Fight two was the first debut of the evening, well supported heavyweight Fabio Wardley, whose maiden fight was against Poland’s Jakub Wojcik (7-18-2, 4 KOs). Wojcik was down in the first of the four scheduled, to the joy of Wardley’s noisy fans. Fabio took his time though, not rushing in, which was to his credit. For a man in his first fight Wardley moved his head well, showed calmness belying his status and confidence to match. Wardley made his equally sized opponent miss but there were trades which added excitement. Fabio went for a walk in the last two rounds of the four scheduled, happy to outbox and counter the Pole, who stalked him gamely. The clock wound down and Wardley had it 40-35 on the scorecard; an excellent showing of skill and confidence on his debut.

The second of four debuts on the bill was Abdul “Ralphy” Ibrahim’s welterweight fight with Nathan Hardy of Sheffield (3-12-1, 2 KOs). Southpaw Ralphy had a cagey round one, scoring with consecutive straight lefts, but not putting much on them to worry his opponent. Ibrahim upped the tempo in round two and Hardy moved around the ring well to evade him, though it looked like a round to the home fighter. Buoyed, Ralphy came out with more vigour in the third, and rushed onto a reply and touched down briefly. Hardy perked up after scoring the knockdown and the last round was closer and more exciting, with a warning for Ibrahim for rabbit punching, though ending the fight on top. It was hard to separate the men, and the referee didn’t, a 39-39 draw. A fair result, but one Hardy will probably be happier with.

Tom McGinley (2-1, 0 KOs) pressed admirably in his lightweight four rounder with Jule Phillips (1-4, 0 KOs) but the fight didn’t really catch light despite his efforts. Phillips was content to duck nicely and wind up when he saw an opening. The third round was better than one and two but the final fourth saw both men throw more leather than in the previous three combined. A close fight was decided 39-38 on the cards to Essex man McGinley.  Fight five was Daniel Khan (1-0, 0 KOs) in his second pro outing against Hull’s Luke Fash (2-20-1, 0 KOs). Fash had suffered an early knockout in his January fight with highly rated Hellraiser fighter Gelasius Taaru, and while Khan didn’t manage that, he did put Fash through the ropes in the second. Fash to his credit was smiling and undaunted by the experience. By the fourth both men were trading big shots entertainingly. Khan showed intelligent footwork and switching of stances to take a 39-37 decision and move to two unbeaten.

Hollywood” Josh Ejakpovi was in against a late replacement in his seventh pro fight, the Londoner was 6-0 with two knockouts entering the ring against Victor Edagha (0-16). Both men enjoyed vocal support but Hollywood showed good power to put his opponent down in the first. Edagha has only been knocked out once though, and recuperated well. Josh is a superlative boxer to watch, and he moved beautifully, engaged when it was best to do so, and generally looked in complete control of the fight from the first to the last bell.

At the end of the second round Edagha landed a jab, lightly, and Josh looked insulted, going back to his corner almost miffed. Victor showed good grit and determination, coming on strong in the fourth and final round, but Hollywood shuffled his feet and moved out of  distance, grinning. There was a lot of respect shown at the final bell, but Josh took a landslide 40-35 and is now seven fights unbeaten. Mickey Helliet says this is a “big year” for the prospect, and so far he’s barely been hit in 2017.

A competitive super featherweight debut for Fateh Benko saw the Hertfordshire man’s cleaner work and combinations take the points win 40-36 over Croatia’s Antonio Horvatic (now 10-35, 5 KOs). Following that, super flyweight Sammy Cantwell looked to get back to winning ways.The Bexleyheath man suffered his first professional defeat by knockout in the same venue in February 2016. Cheered by huge support, southpaw Sammy (5-1-1, 2 KOs) faced Gary Reeve (1-7, 0 KOs) and despite being an occasionally subdued affair the four rounder did have its moments, most of which were in favour of Cantwell. The official score was 40-36 and although it felt closer than that to watch, it was to the right man. Cantwell looked delighted to move to 6-1-1.

Brixton’s John Harding Jr, known as “Pest”, took on Anthony Fox in his second paid outing super middleweight, Harding Jr was 1-0, 0 KOs and Fox was 1-5-1, 0 KOs. When Harding boxed and slipped Fox’s crude rushing style, he looked very much in control. However, John seemed to panic on occasion, and then Fox would rattle him on the inside. Out pestering Pest; some feat. In the third Harding had a point docked which made the fourth crucial. The final stanza was thrilling in places and messy, which was to Fox’s favour. Harding does not lack for support and was rallied on for the final push, but had to settle for a 38-38 draw.

Tony Buttigieg was yet another debutant, not that you’d have known it to see him box. The super lightweight fought Kristian Laight (12-243-8, 0 KOs) and dictated everything from the first to the last bell, winning a shutout 40-36. Buttigieg, not to be confused with Anthony Buttigieg, the Australian super welterweight Commonwealth champion, is certainly one to watch. The twelfth fight of the night was at cruiserweight, Ratu Latianara from Edinburgh took a 40-36 decision over Darren Snow, Ratu is now 4-0, 0 KOs, Darren moved to 5-12-1, 0 KOs .

Chief support on the bill was down to four rounds due to a late replacement coming in for Sonny Whiting. Unbeaten Elliot Matthews (19-0-1, 9 KOs) had to overcome a game Richard Harrison at light heavyweight to continue his journey towards a big fight. Matthews, usually a middleweight, boxed the naturally bigger man Harrison well to keep his zero in the losses column and win 40-36. And so on to the big event of the evening; featherweight, Ben Jones (22-5-1, 10 KOs) against Jason Cunningham (21-3, 6 KOs) for the vacant Commonwealth title over twelve rounds. Jones had been promised a big fight by MIckey Helliet, and that was delivered upon here, with both men having plenty to lose. There was a sense of occasion about the fight, and York Hall tensed up as the pugilists and their entourages entered the ring.

Jones is big at the weight, looking much fuller and more muscled than Doncaster’s Cunningham, and with the nickname “Duracell” it was no surprise he went after his man from the opening bell. Cunningham danced and ducked on the outside, effectively at first, although from the third round Jones seemed to be getting through more often. By the middle rounds the fight had really become entrancing, and there were flurries of punches from both men. More often Cunningham would choose to land one or two, and then move, understandably not preferring to trade. Jones wanted a tear up. By the final few rounds it was very close, and Jones was relentless in his pursuit and ambition to pressure Cunningham into submission. He didn’t manage it and both men made the final bell in one piece. The bout had been billed as a small hall classic, and had definitely delivered entertainment.

If the venue tensed up when the fighters entered, nerves were positively palpable for the three judges’ cards. A split decision was announced, that going 115-113 to Jones, 113-116 to  Cunningham, and finally, 113-115 to Jason Cunningham. The Doncaster man taking home the strap, and a devastated Jones left to wonder what next. The Hellraiser, and Mickey Helliet’s cards had Jones winning, but it was very close and a fine main event. Congratulations from us at Hellraiser to Cunningham for putting on a great show. Ending the evening, an engaging contest saw Ryan Maycock and Edgars Sniedze trade shots over four rounds at super middleweight. Maycock took a close fight 39-38 and moved to 3-1, 0 KOs, Sniedze dropped to 4-19, 4 KOs, and the fans filled out of the venue.

 

written by Adam Thorn
TWITTER: @LaudusHimself

Posted: 4th May 2017

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