all photographs courtesy of Scott Rawsthorne (@Unknown_Boxers) & MtK Global
Liam Walsh made a triumphant return to the ring on Saturday night, 9 days shy from it being two years since he last stepped foot through the ropes. It was clear to see that the 721 days in prizefighting exile weren’t sat on the sofa eating as Liam looked in tremendous shape and got back in the swing of things relatively quickly.
Making his way to the ring flanked by his fighting brothers Michael and Ryan, Liam was welcomed by the raucous Farmy Army, all in agreement that it has been far too long for a man of his talent to have been out the ring for so long. Having been a fan of the Walsh brothers long before I started writing, it took every part of me not to join in the “Walshy” chants that were booming from the crowd. It gave me goosebumps though, I was happy to see this true servant to the sport back under the lights where he belongs. The man with the daunting task of being in the opposite corner was Raynaldo Cajina.
If there was going to be any nerves or ring rust, they were going to come in the first round. And if there was – there was very little. From my perspective it took Walsh a minute or two to find his range and in those two minutes, he was caught with a few shots that he wouldn’t have normally taken. But once he was in his groove it was all one way traffic. Working both the head and body well, Walsh found success wherever he decided.
The second was eventful, with Walsh continuing the barrage of punches. The faithful Farmy Army believed that their man had scored a knockdown mid way through the round, as did I, but referee Lee Cook gave Walsh a telling off. In the build up to the knockdown Walsh had made his man spin and turn side on through some exceptional footwork and making Cajina miss. When the blow that put Cajina on the canvas landed he was side on to Walsh. My only guess is that the ref saw Cajina turn his back before a wanted to call a break but hadn’t.
The writing was on the wall and in the third it came. Continuing his explosive body work, Walsh had Cajina doubling over trying to protect his midriff form the onslaught it was taking. He couldn’t protect it for much longer. Walsh landed a sickening blow to Cajina’s gut which left the well travelled journeyman folded up like an accordion on the canvas unable to answer the ref’s count.
Walsh is back!
Ahem… excuse me for a moment
video interviews by Chris Waddams
Danny Dingum will want to forget his fight against Rafal Jackiewicz quickly, but he’ll do well to use it as a lesson. Throughout the contest Jackiewicz was using his high foul protector as a ploy to complain about low blows from Dignum and referee Lee Every fell for it.
It wasn’t the old man trick that Dingum will need to learn from, it was the “ghost knockdown” he suffered. Clipped in the closing moments of the third, Dignum’s legs went to jelly and Jackiewicz pounced and put Dingum down through a combination of shots and a slight push. To everyone at ringside it seemed that the away fighter had at least bagged himself a 10-8 round only for the referee to say it was a push that floored the bewildered Dingum. If there is any positive to take from this moment, it’s that Danny showed his ability to recover from being hurt. In a way the ref not giving him an eight count left him open for punishment sooner, but Dignum’s powers of recovery served him well and he managed to get to the end of the round.
Apart from the constant calls for low blows that were obviously frustrating Dignum, the rest of the fight was pretty straight forward for him and he got a 79-75 points victory from Lee Every, who should watch this fight back himself and brush up on certain aspects for next time.
There was a rare stoppage win for Shaquille Day who blitzed and bamboozled his opponent Jonathan Valero into submission in three. Valero took a knee towards the end of the third after taking a peach of a hook to the jaw. Referee Chas Coakley waved the fight off with Valero protesting that he was OK to continue, but the writing was on the wall that he wouldn’t be able to see out the 6 rounds and I for one would rather the ref stopped it then than allow Valero to carry on and be knocked out brutally. Day now has a Southern Area Title fight to look forward to in July.
Sam Gilley scored a highlight reel KO against Fernando Valencia – a man who has been in there with the top prospects in the UK and only stopped once before by Bradley Skeete. Gilley did it quicker than Skeete by a round and has put out his marker to all the other prospects at Super Welterweight and Welterweight and he’ll no doubt be keep an eye on the Southern Area Title fight that between Shaquille Day and Louis Adolphe in July.
Liam Conroy made a spectacular return from his unsuccessful challenge for the British Title, stopping Elvis Dube in two. The KO win sets up a WBO European Title fight against Steven Ward in just over a month which was announced Sunday Morning. Conroy will feel a loss against Joshua Buatsi doesn’t stop him being next in line for the big titles and will believe he is “The best of the rest”. A big win against Ward will cement that title a little more.
Harlem Eubank took an impressive points victory in his first fight of 2019 and is looking to keep busy for the remainder of the year.
There were also victories for Gino Kanters, Lenny Fuller, Louis Isaacs, Jamie Whelan, Alex Bellingham and Lewis Smith.
Another great show from MTK, who are constantly setting the bar higher and higher for “small hall” shows. Other Promoters should take note before they fall by the wayside of the growing juggernaut of MTK Global.
Photo credit to Scott from Unknown Boxers