As per usual Black Flash Promotions put on a cracking show at the Middleton Arena in Manchester. The atmosphere was wonderful and the sportsmanship of the Manchester fans was 110%. In many ways this sportsmanship for the visitng boxers given by the Mancunian fans, actually brings out the best in the visiting boxers and what a great night’s boxing was enjoyed by all. I also believe that the quality and competitive spirit of the bouts was helped by the referee Mr. Darren Sargenson who gave a really great contribution in keeping the action flowing and his judgement could not be faulted. Quite a few of our so called top referees could do with watching Darren at work, it might improve their quality of refereeing.
First up was a 4 x 3 min bout between Manchester’s Chris ‘Fat Boy’ Monaghan and Belfast’s Casey Blair with Monaghan gaining a 40-36 points verdict. Though Monaghan richly deserved his win by that score, Blair made sure he had to earn it. Chris showed real fast, hard jabs, lovely footwork, switch hitting, with a tight defence and his variety of punches off his jab were very good.
However Casey pressed forward behind a high guard firing his hooks and jabs and Chris had to work for every point. The energy used by both boys in this four rounder had to be believed and the crowd rose to both after a cracking contest.
Next up was another 4 x 3, a light-heavyweight bout between the well supported Macclesfield boy Jake Haigh and Lincoln’s much travelled Mitch Mitchell.
Haigh from the Ricky Hatton stable won by the score of 40-35 against Mitch who put up a show of gameness and guts that had to be admired and deserved all the plaudits the fans gave him at the conclusion of the bout.
This was the first time I saw Jake in action and I was very impressed. He was very economical in his movements firing really fast hard jabs and vicious hooks to head and body off his jab. His positioning of being just out of range of counters is a gift. Mitchell kept to his task and landing left and rights when he could and though taking a count in round 3 and also a cut eye managed to battle to the end.
Also at light heavy Manchester’s Lyndon ‘King’ Arthur forced the referee to stop his bout with Lithuania’s Remigijks Ziausys at the end of the 3rd round ater the game visitor had taken a count and it was a timely stoppage by the referee as Ziausys had shown gameness above the call of duty.
There is alot of hype over some light heavy prospects in Britain at the moment however I have the feeling that Lyndon Arthur, like his cousin Zelfa Barrett, is a champion in waiting. There is more to this boy than a big punch, last night he came out with content, his excellent hard jab is not a range finder but a lethal weapon. His combinations off his jab are fast and hurtful and his overhand right and right cross spell disaster for opponents. Also in his arsenal are uppercuts that are used by either hand when the chance arises, yes Lyndon Arthur is one hell of a dangerous opponent.
How his Lithuanian opponent stood up to his onslaughts for so long I’ll never know and how he tried to fire back was a miracle. I said to the gentleman next to me ‘How can he fire back following such an onslaught?’ However just before the bell to end the 3rd round Lyndon landed a cracking left and right. Gamely, Ziausys rose but the compassionate referee had seen enough.
In the main event over 6 x 3 mins super welterweight, Manchester’s Matthew Ryan, the current English champion went in again with Atherton’s William Warburton and the pair staged a classic encounter with Ryan just gaining a 38 – 37 verdict over the elusive and determined Warburton, who had come for the upset, although the English belt was not on the line.
Ryan came out of the traps with intent firing hard, fast left jabs and fierce right crosses. The much travelled and vastly experienced Warburton covered up well and fired back with gusto. This was a classic local Lancashire derby that had the crowd cheering wildly.
Matthew Ryan is a lovely classical boxer, wonderful stylist and footwork and defensive qualities qualities to behold. However he can be lured into leaving his undoubted skills and getting involved in a fight and Warburton the old fox knew it.
What a non stop specticle this bout turned out to be. I stopped writing notes after the first round, I just could not take my eyes off the action. These boys contested every inch as if their lives depended upon it. Whenever it looked as if one was getting on top the other would come back firing. What a bout to witness. After 5 rounds my colleague said to me ‘What do you think?’. I said ‘I have it even steven, it’s who wins the last’. And so it was with Matthew Ryan gaining the nod. What a competitor William Warburton is, he is a warrior.
Just prior to the main even the traditional 10 bells were observed for those innocent victims of that cowardly terrorist attack in Manchester. It was very touching to be present with such wonderful people to pay respect. Black Flash Promotions were unsure if it was fitting to go ahead with the show after the dreadful event that rocked this fighting city last week, but decided to go ahead with it and they should be commended.
It is a shame that the local press didn’t get behind the show and considering the circumstances and that it was an event up the road from where the tragedy had happened on Monday. Congratulations to everyone involved in putting the show on in such testing circumstances and it was a pleasure to attend. I just wish that more people would get behind the local lads on these small hall shows because this is what real boxing is all about.
It was wonderful to meet up again with Pat Barrett and co from the Collyhurst Gym, plus my old friend from my Munro / Hyland Bros days George Schofield. It was a pleasure also to meet up with Mike Jackson who was working Jake Haigh’s corner.
Not forgetting Liverpool’s Golden Gloves coach Wayne Smith and Collyhurst’s Ben Mulligan who got me to the show and back. I was also very happy to be asked by my friend Chris Maylett to do live commentary on the fights with Aky Karim and I throughly enjoyed it.
Yes it was a great night and it was an honour for me to be with such a wonderful people and fans, your sportsmanship is out of this world.
Until next time.
Good luck, God Bless,