Birmingham’s Cori Gibbs (10st 1lb 11oz) continued the unbeaten start to his career with a four-threes points victory over Worcester’s Michael Mooney (10st 11oz) to open tonight’s Eddie Hearn-promoted show at the Barclaycard Arena.
Mooney, 31, made the contest competitive and was charging in with big shots but Gibbs, 22, showed the far cleaner work and controlled the action with a firm jab before landing harder shots at each opportunity.
Head shots weren’t troubling Mooney too much, but he was noticeably wincing each time Gibbs (now 8-0, 2 KOs) opted to go to the body. It was no surprise that Mooney had ‘Mad Man’ emblazoned on his shorts, as he was strangely smiling throughout.
It was no surprise, then, when a 40-36 result was returned in favour of Gibbs; it is Mooney’s (3-19, 3 early) second loss in 2016 and he has not won since a decision win over Matt Seawright in October 2014.
Brian Rose (11st 5lbs 6oz) got back to winning ways against Stiliyan Kostov (11st 3lbs) following defeat to Matthew Macklin in April.
The six-threes fight began with Kosov forcing Rose onto the back foot as he got his job working early. The second round was largely similar, but from here Rose, 31, was able to move his 30-year-old opponent backwards and work his own jab more efficiently.
There was no sign of his previous elbow injury causing him any bother. From the middle of the fifth round onwards, Kostov appeared to slow significantly and was a far more stationary target. Rose still looked the significantly fresher fighter and this was made to tell in the rounds that followed as his work rate increased, particularly through body shots, and he boxed his way to victory.
The final scorecard was 79-73 in favour of Rose (29-4-1, 8 KOs) and he eased to a deserved win over Bulgaria’s Kostov (20-7, 16 KOs).
Coventry’s Joe Sherriff (12st 4lbs 14oz) pushed Bulgaria’s Tzvetozar Iliev (12st 4lbs 5oz) onto the back foot early and landed heavy shots right from the off in their six-threes bout.
His opponent didn’t show too much desire to trade and was covering up from the beginning, this suited ‘Shezza’, 29, who was able to tee off on Iliev at will.
It was clear that Sheriff would win from the get-go. The tall, powerful southpaw boxed extremely confidently and didn’t rush his work at all.
Instead, he used his size—he is 6′ 1”—and speed advantage to make life extremely difficult for the visitor. Iliev began to show more ambition briefly in the later rounds, but a hard sequence of shots that resulted in his gumshield being knocked from his mouth sent him swiftly back into his shell.
Credit where due, the 32-year-old can take a shot, and he absorbed a number of firm body blows that would have floored most other opposition at this level.
Out of nowhere, Sherriff landed a huge bomb towards the end of the round and Iliev nearly fell out of the ring as he tried to get back to his feet. It was a strong, confident performance for the Coventry man capped off with a marvellous shot to finish it at 2:44 of the fourth. Sherriff (9-0, 3 KOs) moves on; Iliev (5-16-3, no KOs) sank to his his fifth loss in a row.
Birmingham’s Don ‘The Don’ Broadhurst (8st 2lbs 11oz) faced off against Leicester’s Louis Norman (8st 1lb 12oz) for the Vacant Midlands Area Super flyweight title in a rematch of their draw back in May 2014.
A high pace was set from the start with both fighters looking to land big shots rather than establish their jab. Both fighters were landing eye catching shots in between some wild misses.
Due to injuries ‘The Don’, 32, has only boxed four rounds since their previous match up whereas Norman, 22, has boxed six times. Going into the second round, Norman did look slightly slicker and a fair bit fresher. Both fighters brought considerable support with them and there were large cheers whenever either one of them came close to landing.
The end of the second round sprung into a firefight with both boxers prepared to test their chins with the end game of landing a bomb on the opposition.
After five, it was anyone’s guess as to how the judges would see the fight. Neither fighter had really established a strong jab.
The fight continued in this fashion and a great deal of determination was required by both fighters to maintain such a high pace.
Although there were no knockdowns, both fighters landed telling shots throughout. After 10 nobody had much idea as to who had won this one and close scorecards were expected from the judges.
Broadhurst (18-3-1, 4 KOs) eventually won via a split decision by scores of 94-96 and 96-94 (twice) to send Norman (11-3-1, 2 early) home with a defeat and sans the title.
Ibstock’s Sam Bowen (9st 6lbs) extended the unbeaten run to start his career in the paid ranks with a victory against Nicaragua’s Reynaldo Mora (9st 9lbs 8oz).
Bowen out the pressure on immediately in the first round and was landing clubbing shots early. Nearing the end of the first round, the 24-year-old had trapped Mora, 22, in the corner and there was an argument for it being stopped following some heavy hooks, but Mora was throwing back the occasional pawing punch to convince the referee otherwise.
The second round continued in the same fashion and Bowen sunk in a vicious body shot towards the end of the round that Mora was unable to get up from. It was a punch perfect performance from Bowen (8-0, 5 KOs) who won at 1.36 of the second round to send Mora (7-19-1, 4 stoppages) home with another ‘L’ on his record.
Birmingham’s Ryan Kelly (11st 9lbs 11oz) remained unbeaten with victory against Tideswell’s Tommy Carter (11st 6lbs 6oz).
Both fighters brought plenty of supporters with them. Carter, 21, came out quickly and tried to land some fast combinations, but Kelly, 22, remained largely untroubled.
Kelly pushed Carter onto the back foot for the most part and landed some hard shots. After a series of clubbing shots in the round. Kelly eventually wilted and went down. He got up wearily after a count of nine, but Kelly charged to him in the centre of the ring and landed several more punches before the referee jumped in.
Carter (1-4, no KOs) protested and said it was an early stoppage, but the fight appeared to only be going one way. The official result was Kelly (7-0, 2 early) after 1.35 of Round three.