Cruiserweight Matty Askin (13st 10) continued his steady progress with a first-round stoppage of Lee Kellett (14 st 3). Askin’s long arms caught Kellett and momentarily froze him with a right hand and left hook before a follow-up left hook sent Lee tumbling to the canvas. Kellett rose but looked unsteady on his legs and unsure of his whereabouts but was allowed to continue by trialist referee John Latham.
It proved to be a poor decision from the novice official though as Askin crashed home another left hook upon the resumption of the action which dumped Kellett and left his head positioned underneath the bottom rope with just three seconds remaining in the session. Lee was kept down for a couple of minutes as a precautionary measure and thankfully was able to exit the ring unaided. Former ABA champion Askin is now 7-0 (4) and along with Prizefighter winner Jon-Lewis Dickinson could be the future of Britain’s cruiserweight division.
Another cruiserweight match-up saw Walsall’s Chris Keane outscore veteran Hastings Rasani 39-37 in their four-rounder. Steve Gray handled the action. At 13st 8 Keane looks to too big to get down to light-heavyweight but too small to develop into a fully fledged cruiserweight.
He largely outboxed Rasani behind a snappy jab but briefly had to withstand a spell of pressure when Hastings turned him on the ropes and landed a right hand and left hook to the body in round three which probably earned him the round from referee Gray. Keane advances to 2-0 (1) and has talent but needs to throw than just the jab.
Rhys Roberts went over old ground in outscoring Mansfield-based Latvian Pavels Senkovs over four rounds to move to 10-0 (1). Roberts (9st 5) showed some nice touches and decent handspeed which opened up a knick by Senkovs’ right eye in the first round. The Latvian was never interested in engaging with Roberts and elected to get on his bike and Rhys struggled at times to cut the large ring off. Roberts finished strongly though and two right hands made Senkovs grimace in the final round as Roberts dominated.
In the show opener, Hove-based Navid Aran (12st) gave away 12lbs but still comfortably outpointed Jamie Ambler in their four-round super-middleweight encounter. Aran, trained by former Chris Eubank trainer Ronnie Davis, is strong and powerful and drove home some determined two-fisted combinations which were mostly blocked by Ambler’s high guard. But for a brief spell in round two, Jamie remained in his defensive shell, but had to ship a chopping right and a body shot in the closer. Aran is now 2-0 (1) while Ambler slips to 8-41-2.
It must have been hard for Manchester’s Craig Watson to box in front of a sparse crowd against Ghana’s Stephen Okine immediately after Matthew Hatton’s European title winning performance. After all, Watson outclassed Hatton over 12 rounds a couple of years ago which suggests that Craig has much more to offer. Watson stopped Badru Lusambya to claim the vacant Commonwealth light-middleweight crown last time out but returned to his now favoured welterweight division for this.
Southpaw Watson (10st 9) is always exciting to watch because he likes to let his hands go and throw caution to the wind. Okine (11st) had no answer to Watson’s aggression and was floored twice in round three, the first from a right hook, and the second from a burst of punches which sent him careering around the ring off-balance to the mat. Okine extended Michael Lomax over six a week ago but never looked likely to hear the final bell here.
After another left hand decked Okine in the fifth, referee Phil Edwards signalled he had seen enough. Watson deserves to be in some big fights in the new season.
Another fighter going over old ground was Craig Lyon. The former ABA champion romped to a four-round points win over the winless Anwar Alfadli (40-35), flooring Alfadli in the second after forcing him over after a burst of punches to head and body. Lyon, who could meet Scott Quigg for the British super-bantamweight title later this year, steamrollered forward and did as he pleased in this routine mark-time exercise.
In the show closer, Bradford’s Tasif Khan delighted his army of supporters who had patiently stayed behind by outpointing Francis Croes over four rounds. John Latham ruled 40-36 for Khan who is now 3-1-2 while Croes made it no wins from nine starts. ‘Tas’ (8st 7) sometimes took too long to get off with his punches but had more success when countering Croes attacks with jabs and hooks in round two which pleased his trainer Dominic Ingle. Tas improved as the contest progressed and caught the plucky Croes with a good right hand in the final session.