Anthony Crolla Arrives.
It hasn’t been an easy road for Anthony Crolla.
The 29 year old has had plenty of detours and bumps to overcome on his route to the top but, last night, the numerous paths he has travelled converged on one special evening at the Manchester Arena. He completed his rise from a hospital bed to the winners circle. He completed his transformation from a man seen as too nice to succeed to the spiteful character needed to triumph at the highest level and finally - after nine years as a professional - he arrived as a world champion.
It seems strange to say considering the fight ended before the midway point but Crolla was in the ring with a better Darleys Perez than the version who was fortunate to escape with his WBA lightweight title after their controversial draw in July. Perez looked healthier and will have arrived in the UK thinking that he was fully prepared for what awaited him.
Unfortunately for the 32 year old, things had changed. In July, Perez travelled to a lovely warm Manchester and was treated as something of an afterthought as media and fans latched onto the story of the popular burglar chaser who had recovered from serious injuries to fight for a world title. This time, Manchester was back to its freezing cold, damp best. There was no feel good factor around the promotion and - most importantly - Perez found himself facing a man who had been able to concentrate on righting a boxing robbery rather than a burglary. Perez arrived in the UK a long time before some of his luggage and the fans inside the Manchester Arena created a far more hostile environment than they did four months ago. To his credit, Perez looked like he was ready for the challenge. He looked much healthier this time around and he found his timing and range from the first bell. Crolla was forced to consider the consequences of using the jab which had been so effective during the first fight and although he was never hurt, his face did show signs of some effective Perez counterpunching.
The fact that Perez had clearly spent time working out ways to neutralise what worked well for Crolla last time makes the Mostonian’s achievement even more special. As a boxing fanatic, Crolla will take great pride in having had to make adjustments and being able to implement them at the highest level. Crolla still used his jab very well but he mixed in plenty of uppercuts and looked to land more power shots to head and body.
Crolla’s trainer, Joe Gallagher (who, incidentally, must come into the running for Trainer Of The Year honours given his run of results in recent big fights),noticed Perez show signs of discomfort after a short shot to the solar plexus at the end of round four and told Crolla to target the body should another opportunity present itself. Rather than wait for an opening, Crolla took matters into his own hands. A couple of throwaway shots opened up the space for a beautifully timed left hook to the body. Perez was never going to beat the count.
The victory opens up an almost unlimited number of possibilities for Crolla. He is certain to be inundated with interview and endorsement requests whilst he relaxes and reflects on his achievement. Once he turns his mind back to the gym - which won’t be long given Crolla’s love of the sport - his next step will be interesting. He could attempt to create a reign as a champion and build a huge following at the Manchester Arena. He could jump straight into a massive cross city unification fight with WBO champion, Terry Flanagan. WBC champion,Jorge Linares, is a travelling champion and seems the type to accept the assignment. Alternatively there are all British clashes to be made within the Matchroom stable. A fight with Kevin Mitchell (who may well become mandatory challenger should he beat unbeaten but unknown banger Ismael Barroso in December) would be an attractive spectacle and Luke Campbell will be ready for the world scene before too long.
Last year, Crolla spent Christmas recovering from a fractured skull and broken ankle, unsure of whether he would ever box again and wondering where his next pay check would come from. This year he can relax, safe in the knowledge that his familiy's future is secure.
One journey may have come to an end but the next one is about to begin.
Alvarez beats Cotto on points
LAS VEGAS (Nov. 21) - In one of the most anticipated fights of the year, Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs) and Canelo Álvarez (46-1-1, 32 KOs) thrilled fans from start to finish with high-intensity action just as promised, but it was Canelo that persevered and was crowned the new WBC, Ring Magazine and Lineal Middleweight World Champion with a unanimous decision win after 12-rounds.
Entertainment and sports figures including JAY Z, Beyonce, Mark Wahlberg, Nicey Nash, Mario Lopez, Paulina Rubio, Kate del Castillo, Michael B. Jordan, Sammy Hagar, UFC Bantamweight Champion Holly Holm, Kelly Rowland, Charles Barkley, Erick Aybar, Angie Martinez and former and current fighters Evander Holyfield, Andre Ward, Zab Judah, were all in attendance to catch the excitement live in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
"I have a lot of respect for Miguel," said Canelo Álvarez following the fight. "He is a great champion and a great fighter. We knew going into this fight that it would be a difficult journey, but I feel that I was the faster and stronger fighter tonight. I wasn't hurt by his punches. I want to thank my trainers, they are like my family and the best people I know and I couldn't have done this without them."
Álvarez continued, "I'm not afraid of any fighter. Gennady "GGG" Golovkin is a great fighter, and he is my friend. I have respect for him, but if we do fight, it's going to be at my weight class. I'm the champion, and I don't have to do what he wants."
"I was fully prepared for what Cotto was going to do in the ring, whether that was take a defense stance or be the aggressor," Álvarez said lastly.
"We are very proud of Canelo today," said Eddy Reynoso, trainer for Canelo Álvarez. "As we all know, he started from the bottom and now he is the champion. I was never worried about him from the first round through to the 12th round. He has great defense strategy, but I was hoping that he would have finished Cotto sooner. I know that he was looking for the knock out and as a result didn't throw as much as he should have to put Miguel on the canvas. We have a lot of respect for Miguel, he is a great fighter, and we have tremendous respect for Freddie Roach as a trainer."
"I knew he was winning," said Jose "Chepo" Reynoso, trainer and manager for Canelo Álvarez. "He went into this fight with a clear head and a full heart and that is what he needed to be successful tonight. I am proud of him, proud of his simplicity to admit that we were once no one and now he is the middleweight champion. I wish he would have put more pressure on Cotto from the beginning, but I knew he was enjoying himself. He showed how beautiful the sport can be when you fight in an intelligent way."
"This fight will take Canelo to a whole new level now - this is a new era in our sport," said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, at the post-fight press conference. "Canelo's next fight will be in May for the weekends of Cinco de Mayo and in September for Mexican Independence Day."
After the fight, Miguel Cotto said, "Wow...(then directed his attention to Freddie Roach and said) Are you okay? That's all that matters."
In Cotto's locker room after the fight, Roc Nation Sports founder JAY-Z said of Cotto's performance, "Great fight" and Juan Perez, president of Roc Nation Sports said to Cotto, "We are proud of you."
Freddie Roach, Miguel Cotto's trainer, said after the fight in Cotto's locker room, "We thought it was much closer than the score cards showed. It was a very competitive fight. Miguel's defense was unbelievable."
For the evening's co-main event, Francisco "El Bandido" Vargas(23-0-1, 17 KOs) was crowned the new WBC Super Featherweight World Champion, retaining his undefeated status after securing a technical knockout in the ninth-round over Takashi Miura (29-3-2, 22 KOs).
"I'm the champ, I'm the champ!" said Francisco "El Bandido" Vargas. "This is a dream come true for me, something I have been fighting for my whole life. I knew Takashi was going to be a tough opponent, that's why he is the champion, so I had to make sure I was prepared to face a fighter like him. I feel that my preparation paid off for this fight. I knew I had to be very aggressive, and I showed that in the first round so he knew that I would not be bullied. When I was knocked down in the fourth round, I felt even more motivated to win this fight. I made sure to fight the way I wanted, how I wanted and my style and now I'm the champion of the world! I hope all the fans enjoyed themselves tonight with my performance."
Former WBA and WBO Super Bantamweight World Champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (16-0, 10 KOs) made his return to the ring for the first time after signing with Roc Nation Sports and secured the win against Drian Francisco (28-4-1, 22 KOs) in a 10-round super bantamweight fight.
"I feel terrific after the fight," said Guillermo Rigondeaux. "He threw heavy but his style has nothing on mine. My style outmatched his. It's been 11 months since I've been in the ring and I definitely felt some cobwebs but I d like to see some other fighters be out 11 months and come back with a win. I definitely wanted to give the fans a better fight so I need to get back in to the gym, get more active to give a better performance. I promise that with the tools I have now after signing with Roc Nation that next time I'll be explosive. Thank you to my team for helping me get this win."
"Rigondeaux is not a fighter, he is a runner," said Drian Francisco. "He is afraid of getting hurt and doesn't want to fight. I felt pressured into being the aggressor during this fight because he wasn't fighting, he was running away. He is not a power puncher and won by points. I trained really hard for this fight and I feel like it was a waste of time because I didn't encounter a fighter tonight."
Opening up the HBO Pay-Per-View telecast, Santa Ana, California's Ronny Rios (25-1, 10 KOs) battled Jayson "Star" Velez (23-1-1, 16 KOs) of Junco, Puerto Rico for a hard-fought victory after 10-rounds to secure the WBC Silver Featherweight Title.
"I felt like I dictated the pace of the fight, and I felt like I was landing more power punches than him," said Ronny Rios. "He did throw a few body shots at me that hurt but they weren't significant enough for me to stop pressuring him and doing what I needed to do to secure this victory. He actually surprised me; I thought he was going to use the jab all night but he was definitely getting in the inside. This is a really big victory for me. I have a belt now, and I know that bigger things will come my way because of it."
"I was expecting that to be a tough fight, but I did my job," said Jayson "Star" Velez. "He had some good rounds, I had some good rounds. I think the deduction is what really got me. I did my job tonight but he was better at his job tonight."
In preliminary undercard action, San Juan, Puerto Rico's Alberto "El Explosivo" Machado (12-0, 9 KOs) faced Tyrone "Hands of Stone" Luckey (8-5-2, 6 KOs) of Long Branch, NJ in a six-round lightweight bout. Machado used his power to get a first-round knockdown
Puerto Rican favorite Jose "Chiquiro" Martinez (16-0, 11 KOs) held on to his undefeated status with a unanimous decision win over Oscar Mojica (8-1, 1 KO) of Dallas, TX in a six-round junior bantamweight fight.
"I'm proud of my team and myself," said Jose "Chiquiro" Martinez."I want to thank God and my family. This was a very tough fight, but I am just going to keep working to achieve more wins."
Zhang "Big Bang" Zhilei (6-0, 3 KOs) of Zhengzhou, China, a Silver Medalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, took on Juan Goode (6-3, 5 KOs) of Taylor, MI in a four-round heavyweight bout. Zhilei, an imposing figure, quickly took control of the ring and dominated the first two rounds. The taller Zhang came out landing hard straight left hands to the head of Juan Goode early on. Utilizing his superior height and reach, Zhang was able to effectively smother Goode's attack for most of the fight until the final round. Goode was able to land a hard right hand in the fourth, which dropped Zhang, but Zhang rose to meet the count and managed to hold on to win a unanimous decision.
"I feel very good that I am still undefeated," said Zhang "Big Bang" Zhilei. "I was careless during that knock down. I am going to keep fighting until I am a world champion."
Opening up the card, San Antonio up-and-coming prospect Hector "El Finito" Tanajara (4-0, 3 KOs) took on Uruapan, Baja California, Mexico's Jose Fabian Naranjo (3-2-1, 1 KO) in a four-round lightweight bout. Tanajara quickly dominated the pace of the fight with his aggressive attacks on Najaro and won the fight via first round knockout when Najaro couldn't make the count.
"I am happy that I got to fight on the undercard of Cotto-Canelo, one of the biggest fights of the year," said Hector "El Finito" Tanajara, Jr. "Because of this I knew I had to train for this fight and make sure I looked good in ring and today I accomplished it. This is a win for Mexico and I hope I started the trend tonight, victories for Mexico, go Canelo."
Fans in the Mandalay Bay Events Center were also treated to a special performance by Latin Grammy nominee Yandel prior to the main event, which also aired on the HBO Pay-Per-View broadcast. Las Vegas's own DJ Franzen kept the raucous crowd entertained in between rounds spinning hits from the DJ booth.
Fiery presser in Belfast for Frampton vs Quigg [VIDEO]
iFLTV present the Belfast leg of the press tour announcing Carl Frampton versus Scott Quigg:-
** VIEW COMMENTS HERE **
McGuigan: Frampton Army will turn Manchester into Belfast
iFLTV talks to Barry McGuigan talks about the process of making Carl Frampton versus Scott Quigg:-
** VIEW COMMENTS HERE **
Full press conference - Quigg vs Frampton [VIDEO]
iFLTV present the full press conference announcing Carl Frampton versus Scott Quigg at the MEN in Manchester in February:-
** VIEW COMMENTS HERE **
Frampton and Quigg head-to-head [VIDEO]
iFLTV were on hand today to film the first official "head to head" between Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg at their first press conference today:-
** VIEW COMMENTS HERE **
Ryan Doyle "At some point, me and Isaac Lowe will declare war"
In terms of sheer depth and excitement, this Saturday promises to be boxing’s stand out night of 2015. Miguel Cotto’s mega fight with ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in Las Vegas will grab the majority of the limelight but we will also see Arthur Abraham defend his WBO super middleweight title against Martin Murray in Hannover, Anthony Crolla attempt to wrest the WBA lightweight belt from Darleys Perez in Manchester and a number of other high profile match ups.
With some of the best fighters from around the world converging on one special night, the best fight of the evening might just be a battle between two men separated by just 70 miles of Lancashire motorway. Make sure you’re sat comfortably when Morecambe’s Isaac Lowe makes the first defence of his English featherweight title against Gorton’s ‘Ruthless’ Ryan Doyle on the undercard of Crolla’s fight with Perez.
In such an evenly matched contest as this, even the smallest piece of information or can be seized upon and twisted as the fighters seek to gain that all important psychological high ground.
Doyle,11-1 (6 KO’s), could be forgiven for banking on being the more battle hardened of the two. Prior to a surprising loss to Ian Bailey in September 2014, Doyle was seen as a coming force in the featherweight division. His unusual high pressure switch-hitting style enabled him to force mistakes and he demonstrated enough power to capitalise on any openings he created. The 24 year old showed grit to force his way through a gut check and earn a hard fought decision victory over Michael Ramabeletsa.and everything seemed to be going to plan. Then came that late injury ravaged stoppage defeat to Bailey. Doyle has seen a lot in his twelve fight career.
Lowe, 11-0 (4 KO’s), also cut his way swiftly through his early tests but had to wait until September before facing anything resembling a real test although he looked impressive when stopping Jamie Speight in nine rounds in September. The man from Morecambe looks extremely promising but has yet to face a serious challenge.
“To be fair - and I’ll be dead honest with you - I don’t think there are any advantages in this fight at all. I just think it’s a great 50:50 fight,” Doyle to Livefight. “Obviously Isaac lowe is the champion for a reason. He did a good job on Jamie Speight - who’s a good durable opponent and he knocked him out - and I don’t see myself having any advantages. I just think it’s a really good fight.
“Obviously Isaac’s a come forward aggressive fighter and I’m exactly the same. At some point in the fight it’s all gonna go out of the window isn’t it? Whatever they say to Isaac or whatever my trainer says to me is gonna go straight out of the window and we’re gonna go toe to toe. There’s no point in me saying it’s gonna be a nice boxing match because it isn’t! At some point we’re gonna declare war.
“The thing with this fight is that there’s no need to hype it. A lot of people need to talk and bad mouth each other but we don’t need to. You get what you see with Isaac. He’s a come forward aggressive fighter who can punch. I’m exactly the same. A few people have said that it isn’t gonna go ten and that either I’ll knock Isaac out or he’ll knock me out. It’s one of the two. These are the fights that we wanna get in to.
“Isaac’s the unbeaten fighter whereas I’ve got a loss on my record now. I feel there may be a little more pressure on Isaac because he’s unbeaten but I’m gonna turn up on the night having trained as hard as I can and what will be will be.”
Doyle has fought just twice in the 14 months since the defeat to Bailey. Injury wreaked havoc with his plans to get straight back into action but he managed to build a little momentum with an eight round workout just last month. With the Lowe fight agreed, Doyle was forced to fight in a more conservative manner than usual. He was extremely unlikely to lose the fight with Simas Volosinas but it wouldn’t have been any surprise had his brittle hands been wrapped in plenty of cotton wool as well as the usual bandages and tape. Doyle accepts that the Bailey defeat set his career back by around a year but realises that beating Lowe would catapult him right back to where he stood last September.
“Eight rounds and then straight back into work on the Monday. Great!,” Doyle laughed. “I was happy with the performance. I was a little bit nervous going in to the fight because everybody knows I cut dead easily. I’ve got skin like tracing paper so I had to box. The opponent was a game lad. I had to box but I think that was good because it showed a different side to me. Everybody knows me as a come forward aggressive fighter and I used a completely different gameplan and it worked.
“I’m my own hardest critic. I make things hard myself. I’m not taking anything from Bailey or Ramabeletsa but I could have made those fights a hell of a lot easier. It’s my own fault. I seem to choose the hard way all the time.
“It’s too good a chance to turn down. It’s at the Manchester Arena which is only ten minutes from my house and it’s on a great card. I haven’t had too much notice - around four weeks - but it’s too big an opportunity to let go. I would have liked a few more rounds here and there or maybe a couple more fights but you play the cards your dealt don’t you? It’s great. I couldn’t ask for any more.
“In an ideal world this would have been last November. Twelve months ago I was at the front of the pack of featherweights who were ready to start challenging for titles. I was banging on the door. Obviously, with Bailey beating me it put my right at the back of the queue. I had a little comeback fight but broke my hand again and then came back into an eight rounder and here I am. I’m in a good place now. I haven’t got that fear factor of losing now.”
Doyle’s determination has been boosted by some new surroundings. After starting his career at the legendary Champs Camp in Moss Side, he decided to switch to Bobby Rimmer’s gym in Denton following the Bailey reversal. Doyle isn’t one of the fighters fortunate enough to be able to concentrate purely on his boxing career and his need to hold down a job made it extremely difficult for he and Rimmer to get in the quality of work they needed to. The pair parted ways on friendly terms and Doyle now finds himself training at Oliver Harrison’s gym in Salford.
“When I first started up with Bobby, I was working at night and training during the day. I changed my job and ended up working during the day. It’s unfair on Bobby. He was working all day and I wasn’t getting there until six at night it’s a long day for both of us. We just came to a mutual agreement in the end. It’s just one of those things. There’s no bad blood at all. Now, I’m down at Oliver Harrison’s gym and working with Dave Murray who’s done a lot with Joe Pennington at the Northside gym. He was doing some work with Bobby but seemed to break away and do his own thing so I’m under his and Oliver’s wing now.
“Oliver’s a great trainer. He comes out with stuff you wouldn’t even imagine and then you execute it in training and it comes off. The gym’s buzzing at the moment. You had Rocky Fielding training for the Callum Smith fight and you’ve got Martin Murray getting ready for Arthur Abraham. Two massive fights and it’s great just to be in the gym mixing with them and getting ready for my own little domestic title fight.”
Welsh Fight report: Evans comes through scare, mixed fortunes for Liverpool stars
Livefight ringside in Llandudno, North Wales
By Michael J Jones
VENUE CYMRU Llandudno last night witnessed an action-packed night of boxing courtesy of VIP Boxing Promotions. Top of the seven-bout bill, Holyhead's Mark Evans overcame a surprisingly tough Simas Volosinas to win a clear eight-round decision to send his army of supporters home happy after a tense contest.
The little-known Lithuanian entered the bout with a 6-37 record but was having his 14th fight of the year compared to Evans' second and also had a 5lb weight advantage over the 126¼ Welshman.
Those two factors may have contributed to “Little Marky's” shaky start as a counter left put him down late in the first. He took the referee's count and seemed to have recovered but another jolting jab shook him early in the second as the visitor showed more power than expected.
Evans though, loudly cheered on by the home crowd, kept his boxing together and from the third never looked back. Evans jabbed well and would follow up with a swinging right hand and left hooks. The younger Lithuanian's work-rate dropped and he was reduced to following the 34 year old Welshman around the ring for much of the contest.
By the fourth, Evans was in control and boxing well. A big right detonated onto Volosinas' chin but he took it well and tried to return fire. Early in the fifth, Evans was warned for head-work but still remained in firm control and continued out-boxing his foe.
In the sixth, the Holyhead boxer again received a warning this time for low blows. It seemed a tad harsh to this writer and the crowd angrily voiced their displeasure to referee John Latham. Evans didn't let the warnings interfere with his boxing though and banked another clear round.
In the seventh, Volosinas tried to come forward again but was met with a stunning lead left uppercut which snapped his head back on the ropes. He did land a little left-right on Evans who took it well without flinching. Towards the end of the session, Evans would get his third and last admonishment from referee Latham but it was unclear this time what was the reason.
Before the eighth and last round, both men embraced warmly. Evans, knowing he must have been a mile ahead, got on his toes and kept out of harms way. The Lithuanian kept the pressure on but little landed as Evans got the nod by 78-73. My card read 79-74 and, barring the first round and a half, Evans, who finished with some swelling around his eyes, was solid last night and boxed very well.
This was the winners' second fight under Liverpool's Dave Tonks and he plans to continue his career as a featherweight from now on. He weighed just a quarter pound over the 126lb limit and looked strong through-out against a cagey and awkward opponent.
Evans is now 11-3-2 (1) and claimed the vacant super-featherweight boxing classic belt. A match with Paul Economides for the Welsh title at his new weight would be a great fight.
Opening the card at Llandudno, Lancashire's welterweight prospect Steve Brogan scored his first inside-schedule victory after a dominant display against experienced Danny Donchev. The fight was slow to start but a Donchev right-hand appeared to wake Brogan up and he came right back with interest.
Some good body-shots and a finishing flurry bagged “Serious” the first but in the second he swarmed all over the increasingly-uncomfortable Donchev and was soon hurting him to body and head.
A big right was the beginning of the end before a two-punch combination floored Donchev for the first time midway in the second. Danny was down again soon after but it was ruled a slip. In the dying seconds, the 40 year old was downed again from another flush right. The ref waved the round over as the bell had sounded but many of the crowd thought he had waved the mismatch as complete.
Although the fight officially continued, Donchev retired and didn't come out for the third. Later he was spotted exiting the venue with his left arm in a sling but none-the-less it was a good win for the Liverpool-based Brogan who is now 5-0 (1). Donchev was engaging in his 91st bout.
The 31 year old Brogan weighed 144lbs compared to Donchev's 150.
Next out was the returning Tobias Webb who won a competitive encounter with fellow Welshman Jamie Ambler to keep his career alive.
Webb had suffered defeat last year to man-of-the moment Callum Smith and later Liam Cameron so was desperate for a victory. Despite being out for some eleven months, he started faster and landed some flashy left and right hooks to the body of Ambler.
Both were tall and rangy types but Webb sported the faster hands and in the second, when he started bringing the body-shots up to the head, it looked like a stoppage might have been on the cards.
However, the pace slowed and gritty Ambler started coming on. The fourth was a far closer round as Ambler forced the action and Webb was prone to holding. Ambler kept the heat on through the fifth too, swinging away to head and body with Webb reduced to single shots on the counter.
In the last, Webb resumed his earlier dominance, landing a big uppercut to Ambler's chin but the Aberystwyth man wouldn't lay down and kept hurling punches at Webb as the bout concluded in a lively fashion.
I gave the fourth and fifth rounds as even but referee Steve Gray was not as impressed with Ambler's contribution to the contest and marked every round for Webb for a 60-54 score.
Webb, who weighed 173lbs, raised his record to 16-3-1 (2) and looks ready for another title shot of some-sort next year probably back at his old weight of super-middleweight. Ambler (a pound heavier at 174) dipped to 12-63-2 and is still hard as nails.
Liverpool southpaw Adam Ismail impressed with a resounding four-round points victory against game Danny Little. Ismail, a youthful-looking 30, found his rhythm early against his crouching opponent and kept it simple.
Ismail would throw out his right jab, follow through with his left before stepping in with the right-hook downstairs. The much-shorter Little's best shot was his elbow which he kept ramming in every time the two men clinched. It was a bit surprising he never got a warning for the tactic as it was clear to see on at least four seperate occasions.
Ismail took a predictable 40-36 decision and is now 9-0 (no knock-outs). He weighed 155lbs to Little's 156. Ismail looks a good prospect but could do with throwing his punches with more authority and learning a few moves inside. The talent is certainly there and he dominated without ever really getting out of second gear.
Next out was the eagerly anticipated debut of Wales' Ryan Gibbs. Earlier this year, Gibbs started boxing again to lose a few pounds but got the bug and made the decision to turn pro at 24. A stable-mate of Mark Evans, Gibbs was a good amateur and the support he received was unbelievable for a pro débutante; many much-more established boxers would be envious.
Opponent for Gibbs was London-based Spaniard Christian Hoskin Gomez who entered the bout with a mediocre 1-8-2. Like many other times in boxing though; nobody told Gomez he was the underdog and he came out firing with relish.
Gomez started the first in a frenzy, Gibbs shipped several clean head shots and couldn't seem to get out of the way. Gomez, just 20-years-old, punished Gibbs almost at will the Welshman simply couldn't get off his own shots in return.
Having banked the first, Gomez continued his attack into the second. Thumping body shots slotted home before big rights and left hooks all scored. Gibbs could sense the fight slipping away and bravely came forward to trap Gomez in a corner to unload some useful body shots of his own.
In the third, Gibbs finally got his jab working and had finally appeared to have settled. An eye-catching left hook scored for the Welshman as well as a right moments later. Gomez was game though and shook the punches off to rally back. Both exchanged big rights off the ropes as another exciting round was completed.
It was anyone's fight coming out for the last. Both were desperately tired but kept slugging away. Gibbs scored a good right off the ropes and followed up with another flurry downstairs but as the final bell rung one sensed the decision could have gone either way.
While I opted for Gibbs by 39-38, referee Steve Gray gave the same score for Christian Hoskin Gomez. There's no argument here about the result; it really was a tough, hard fight where a draw may have been the fairest result after the contribution by both warriors.
Gibbs will be disappointed but a loss in a great fight to a decent opponent is worth much more than a one-round knock-out against a no-mark. He showed plenty of potential and will have greatly learnt for the experience. This was one of the best four-rounders this writer has ever witnessed and huge credit must go to both men.
Gibbs weighed 165¼lbs while Hoskin Gomez, now 2-8-2, was 169.
The next bout saw Liverpool's talented Andy Colquhoun look to bounce back from his first defeat in a match against young Ryan Fields. The welterweight six-rounder looked a good match on paper with Colquhoun 13-1 coming in and Fields a solid 6-2-1.
Fields started the match throwing plenty with his Scouse rival content to take a look on the back-foot. Colquhoun, with Jamie Moore in his corner, got to work in the second and landed a decent left hookbut the bustling Fields took it well and continued working hard.
The pattern was thus set with Fields giving the work-rate and Colquhoun looking to counter with harder single shots.
The fourth was another close session in which I leaned towards the Liverpool fighter courtesy of two big rights at the end of the round. The fifth I marked even as both fought on even terms. “Chico” scored with a right-hand bomb while Fields returned fire with a thudding left hook.
Colquhoun was purposeful in the last as Fields finally appeared to slow. Fields whipped in two good body blows but shipped a a left hook counter from Colquhoun. Both came alive at the close with an extended burst of punches to conclude a good fight.
The scorecard of 59-56 in favour of Fields was fair. Although I edged the bout to Colquhoun on his heavier, cleaner punches, Fields was always landing more it was just a question of what you liked between the two men.
Colquhoun scaled 147¼lbs while Fields was 145¼. A rematch over eight or ten rounds would be pleasing to see in the near future.
Completing the bill (just before the main), Plymouth's Chris Adaway and Liverpool's Tommy Carus boxed to a six-round draw. Styles clashed from the off with the southpaw Carus looking to work behind the jab but the wild rushes of Adaway constantly making for mauling and clinches.
Adaway landed some good shots on occasion but overall I felt the flame-haired Carus kept his boxing together a shade better and deserved the decision. However the often-messy fight was scored 58-58 meaning Carus is now 7-2-2 while Adaway is 4-9-2.
Carus was 141¼lbs while Adaway was141. In his last fight, the 23 year old Carus had held former amateur star Tom Stalker to a draw.
It is always tough to score close, debatable fights. For example, I had to think hard how to score the opening rounds between Evans and Volosinas. Evans had won the round clearly before getting dropped in a flash knock-down. I marked the round level but many would have given a 10-8 round to the Lithuanian. I find that outrageous as the visitor had barely landed a blow before the sudden knock-down.
Similarly, the Fields-Colquhoun bout saw a nip-and-tuck affair with neither winning a round decisively aside from a strong opening round from Fields. It is however rare in which a clear decision is rendered for the man you had losing but one still has to concede the verdict is more than fair.
By far the best support on the night was for Welsh duo Mark Evans and Ryan Gibbs. All of the passionate crowd were whole-heartedly into both their heroes' fights. The seated fans around me were aghast at the Gibbs decision but it was fair even though Ryan was the house fighter; it really could have gone either way.
During the Evans fight the crowd became increasingly incensed at the the referee warning the Welshman about various infringements leading to the lady behind me screaming “knock him f**king out....then knock the ref out too!!”
Through the whole eight rounds of the Evans fight the crowd chanted “Oggy oggy oggy” for their hero.