Chester duo suffer losses due to experience
Chester duo suffer decision losses as experience tells..
Michael J. Jones at Northgate Arena, Chester, March 3
CHESTER fight fans were left dismayed on Saturday night as local heroes Chris Goodwin and Paul Economides suffered ten-round points defeats to more experienced opposition.
In the first ten-rounder, Chris “Gunner” Goodwin tried to capitalise on his two recent Masters title wins by taking on battle-hardened former British champion Carl Johanneson. The bout doubled as an eliminator to Anthony Crolla’s British crown and many neutral observers pointed beforehand to Johanneson’s superior experience and power and predicted a painful night for the local prospect. The contest however, proved to be more of a high-octane chess-match as the younger man looked to smother his more experienced foe and land eye-catching flurries to the body. The Leeds man hunted his less-experienced rival down, clubbing whatever target became available. The rounds were often hard to score as the two fighters mirrored each other; both firing bursts in close and having successes. While Johanneson threw more punches and generally landed the harder shots, Goodwin showed faster hands and better defence.
Goodwin, ten years younger at 23-years-old, looked on a suicide mission in the first as he stood right in front of his heavier-handed opponent and exchanged in close. Both men struggled to land cleanly but kept up a fast pace as they would the entire fight.
In rounds two and three, red-headed Goodwin kept up his tactics of staying in close and they looked to be paying off as Johanneson continued to miss frequently with his powerful, but wide, hooks to head and body. By the close of the third stanza, the Yorkshireman was getting closer with his punches. Goodwin kept his boxing together; despite losing his mouth-piece on three separate occasions.
By the fifth round, with Goodwin appearing slightly ahead, Carl stepped up his punch output a little more to enjoy his first clear session. Johanneson’s left hooks to the body sunk in often as Goodwin started to feel the pace catching up with him.
The fired-up Leeds man kept up the attack in the next, catching his fatigued foe with more eye-catching shots to head and body to the point where a stoppage looked more than likely. Goodwin by now was hardly throwing anything in return as Carl bagged another clear round.
Sensing the fight slipping away Chris got back on his toes in the seventh and enjoyed some success on the back-foot. The Chester fighter landed a great over-hand right flush on the chin of Johanneson a couple of minutes in but Goodwin is no puncher and Carl could walk through these shots without any worries. At the end of the round, Goodwin slipped five straight punches off the ropes and seemed to be gaining his second wind.
The last three rounds were very close and could have gone either way. The former British champion, kept up his relentless pressure but Goodwin stayed with him all the way. The eighth was very closely-contested as the tense battle got messy again, both guilty of hitting and holding with heads coming repeatedly together in clinches.
In the penultimate round, Goodwin was on his toes and timing punches well to the head of Johanneson. Carl manoeuvred his slippery foe to the ropes a minute in only to have the younger man turn him and hammer home a fast one-two. Carl continued to press home, looking for the big shots but was missing again, walking onto a superb jab towards the end of the round. Shaven-headed Johanneson landed a powerful right in reply and still seemed dangerous.
Before the last it seemed to this writer that Goodwin was edging a close fight but it was Chris that came out throwing flurries of punches as the round got under-way.
Goodwin punched well to the body as Carl continued to hit thin-air in return. The Chester boxer carried on the attack to the final bell where the two embraced warmly.
It was a good fight with many even rounds that could have gone either way. Before the final decision the MC made sure the fighter’s contribution to an absorbing contest was acknowledged. While one judge had the local up 96-95, the other two had Johanneson the victor by scores of 97-95 and a far too wide 99-93. I had the Chester prospect up by a couple of points on my card but it was one of those fights open to a variety of interpretation; whether you liked Johanneson’s work-rate or the younger man’s body-attack.
For Carl Johanneson, expect him to get a shot at champion Anthony Crolla before too long, providing the champion gets past Liverpool’s Derry Matthews next month. The Leeds banger has definitely slowed a shade but will almost certainly give the Manchester fighter a test. As for Goodwin, he showed the fitness and durability of a contender but needs to work on his offence more. Most of his attacks were to the body and judges will always penalise him in close fights for not landing heavier head punches. Having said that, Chris can feel a little unfortunate to not at least get a share of the spoils in his own backyard. Johanneson moves to 32-5 (20) while his beaten foe dips to 14-2-1 (0). Both scaled 9st 8lbs.
In the co-feature Paul “Spartan” Economides was matched with tough journeyman Dai Davies for the vacant Welsh featherweight title. Although Merthyr Tydfil’s Davies was a former two-time Welsh champion coming in, Economides was the firm favourite before the first bell. North Wales’ Paul, 25-years-old, had shown steady improvement in the last few years and was coming off two consecutive Masters title victories in moving to 12-2 (0). Davies however, had an awful-looking 8-18-1 (1) record, including 13 losses in his last 16 fights dating back five years.
This fight was a good example of how little records can matter in this game as Davies completely out-boxed the younger man to win his third Welsh title. Dai Davies is known to blow hot and cold but on this night he was on fire.
Economides, slightly the shorter man, came out rolling his shoulders and moving his head but in no time Davies was picking him off on the back-foot. A sharp double left hook to body and head caught the eye as the older Welshman won the first with ease.
The Merthr Tydfil man kept his guard high to win the second too. Too often Economides would walk straight in without jabbing or feinting and would get hit with sharp counters in reply. Davies would then skip away before Paul could retaliate. It was a pattern that would stay for most of the fight.
Economides, a lb lighter at 8st 13lbs, enjoyed a better third as he finally started cutting the ring off a little more and landed a few good punches downstairs on his fleet-footed foe. Davies still landed a few clean counters but was generally outworked.
Back came the grizzled Welshman in the fourth though; jabbing well and making the younger man miss time and again. Two clipping right-hands landed on Paul’s unprotected chin and he stumbled briefly, more off-balance than hurt.
Davies continued to tear up the script to win the fifth clearly too as it was now becoming increasingly apparent the house fighter was running out of ideas against his sharp-boxing tormentor. Paul came for the sixth determined to stop the rot as he upped the pressure and the crowd were soon treated to the best action of the fight. Economides landed a few cuffing shots but walked onto a flush uppercut by the ropes. Economides shrugged it off and kept the pace hot. The two exchanged hard shots before the bell ended the best round of the fight.
In round seven Economides seemed to be gaining a foothold for the first time. The shorter Welshman pressured Davies well and for the first time the older man wasn’t throwing nearly as much in reply.
The eighth session was even but in the ninth Davies picked up the pace again and suddenly seemed in a better class than the bemused younger man. Crisp jabs, body shots and jolting uppercuts all landed as Economides followed listlessly. The next brought more of the same, Davies’ noisy supporters even chanting “easy, easy” towards the bell.
In the last Economides needed a knockout but with no stoppage victories in fourteen previous contests, it looked unlikely to occur. Paul bravely pressed the action but, despite a few decent body-hooks, he was again picked off with ease. As the referee raised Davies hand, Economides angrily kicked the corner post, disgusted with his performance.
The bout was scored 99-91 for the new champion, I had it a little closer at 97-94 but I have no problem with the ref’s margin as the rounds I gave Economides were all closely contested.
Economides can definitely come again but must learn to jab or feint his way in to set up his attacks; a lot of his work was too predictable to an old-hand like Davies. Paul was unlucky to find Dai Davies in top form on this night; it’s probably the best performance of the older man’s 22-fight career. It’s hard to predict either man’s immediate future but a rematch down the line would be welcome; it was an entertaining battle between two proud warriors.
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