MtK again put on a stacked card, again bridging the gap between fights that would go down as small hall classics and those you’d expect to see on “big” cards. Normally a tantalising bout between two unbeaten, well supported prospects for a Southern Area Title would headline a card in this sort of setting but MtK continue to push the boat out and the mouth watering Area Bout found itself playing not even second but forth fiddle on this card bursting at the seams with fan friendly fighters and fights.
The main event of the night saw local boy Danny Dignum take on Conrad Cummings for the vacant WBO European Middleweight Title. This was Cummings forth crack at the WBO European title, having won it twice before. In contrast this was Dignum’s first title fight. Experience favoured the North Irishman, but you’d never have thought it once the action started.
Some may have thought Dignum would have been a bit nervous in his first big fight, especially against someone with Cummings experience. 30 seconds in and it was clearly an even fight. Dignum had already bloodied Cummings nose. A busier, higher work rate saw Dignum take control. Cummings moved his head a lot but would stop and try and land his own shots and it was at this moment when Dignum landed his best shots.
The fight was action packed, Cummings always forward coming, pressing the action, Dignum punch and moving, keeping the range. Talking to some at ringside it was a common opinion that if Dignum had a harder punch he’d have stopped Cummings in the first few rounds. It was also a common opinion that the fight could turn if the right punch was to be thrown, such was some peoples concerns over Dignum’s ability to take a punch.
Dignum’s punch resistance wasn’t ever called into full question, such was his defensive skill shown this night, but when the punch did land, he took them well. As did, supposedly, Cummings.
The finish came 30 seconds into the 5th round when Dignum landed a beauty of a left hook that scrambled Cummings senses and made his legs go to jelly. Referee Howard Foster quickly jumped in and stopped the prone Cummings from taking any more damage, which was a very good call. People would have forgiven Dignum if he’d ran off celebrating his first title win, but such was his sportsmanship and concern for his opponent that while Howard Foster was holding Cummings making sure he stayed on his feet after he had waved it off, Dignum went and checked on his beaten foe before he returned to his corner and celebrated. A fan friendly bout that will have left the York Hall faithful buzzing on their journey home.
“FUD! FUD! FUD FUD FUD FUD!” Went the drum from the Farmy Army, but such was the support of the man in the other corner you couldn’t tell who was chanting for who. Both sets of fans either called “WALSHY” or “MAXI” at the end of the round of drumming. York Hall was bouncing and neither man was in the ring yet.
The bout before was rounding up, which isn’t to say that bout was a boring one. The fight between Chantelle Cameron and Anahi Ester Sanchez was waiting for the result to be announced by the MC (more on that fight to follow)
Both Liam Walsh and Maxi Hughes are creditable operators, Walsh with only one loss on his record to Gervonta Davis and Hughes losing a handful of bouts against some of Britains best at Super-Featherweight and Lightweight. This was for the vacant WBO European Lightweight bauble, a title that Walsh held and defended back in 2012 and 13.
Walsh took control of the bout in the opening rounds, taking the centre of the ring and dictating the pace with his jab. Walsh of course hadn’t been as active as his opponent and the possible game plan of Team Hughes was to take Walsh into the mid to late rounds to get the win.
Hughes’ fans cheered every success and there was some beautifully timed shots that landed flush. There was also many shots that were wide of the mark, but they were cheered as though they’d landed on the button.
The middle rounds were Hughes’. Whether it was Walsh’s intention to prove he could take Hughes’ best and keep going, or a bit of ring rust from only being under the lights for a total of 9 minutes in the past 30 months will be a question only he can answer. Hughes didn’t care – he pulled himself back into the bout with some eye catching uppercuts that landed square on the chin of Walsh. Each one that landed was greeted by louder cheers from the bouncing Hughes fans. Each one that landed was also greeted by a sinister smile from Liam Walsh. Hughes might have won a few of the middle rounds with his big eye catching shots but the psychological battle was being won by Walsh – whatever Hughes could throw, Walsh could take and then give back some more.
By the 8th round Hughes began to look tired and his fans were finding it hard to find anything to cheer. Walsh had taken back control of the bout. The ninth and tenth saw even less success for Hughes and more dominance from Walsh. If the game plan was to take Walsh to the latter round it had backfired. Walsh looked like he could go for 15 rounds and Hughes finished the rounds blowing hard.
When the fight finished Hughes looked a beaten man. Liam was hoisted up by his brother Michael and it was the Farmy Army having a song and dance, not those in support of Walsh.
The official verdict was 96-94, 97-93, 98-92 all in favour of Walsh who is now a two time WBO European Champion. Hughes shouldn’t be disheartened by the loss, as many would have crumbled under his pressure in the middle rounds. Both men showed their respect for each other after the results were read and both men should be applauded for their part in a brilliant fight.
Chantelle Cameron is a woman that will not be denied. Already the WBC mandatory challenger at Lightweight, the Northampton native was looking to become a two weight WBC mandatory challenger when she took on Anahi Ester Sanchez in a Super-Lightweight final eliminator for the big green belt.
The fight started with the better work was coming from Cameron even though early on she seemed to struggle with Sanchez’ speed, causing Cameron to have to take a shot or two to land her own punches. Once the speed was tamed, it was all Cameron.
Working both head and body well, Cameron took control of the fight and started showing her power and dominance through the middle rounds. Sanchez was put down in the 9th and her corner protested the count saying it was a push, but Cameron landed a beauty of a shot to the stomach which was what put their fighter on the canvas.
Sanchez was in full survival mode in the final 2 and Cameron smelt blood. Landing some beautiful shots and buckling the knees of Sanchez towards the end of the round. Sanchez held on and heard the final bell but was a beaten woman.
The fight was fought at a very good pace with both fighters willing to take shots to land their own. If this is the new game plan for Cameron and her team, it’s one they might want to reconsider when they get their crack at a world title against either Jessica McCaskill or Katie Taylor, as it may backfire on them.
Michael McKinson is a very talented boxer and it showed in this outing, taking on the highly ranked Luis Alberto Veron. But it was a missmatch. Veron’s ability did not warrant his high ranking and McKinson just oozed skill and timing, dropping his outclassed opponent twice – once in the first round and once in the fifth. It was all one way traffic and McKinson gets a win that will propel him even further up the WBO World rankings. Now 18-0, I would like to see McKinson fight some of his domestic rivals but I can understand why some will avoid him like the plague.
The fight of the night was undoubtably for the Southern Area Super-Lightweight Title between Daniel “Danny Darko” Egbunike and Billy Allington.
Allington started faster than his slightly less experienced opponent and had Egbunike hurt in the second, trapping him against the ropes. But Egbunike weathered the storm and got himself back into the fight through the middle rounds.
Both men were ferociously supported by the crowds they brought along and every bit of success was cheered to the rafters. If you’ve never experienced York Hall, this would have been a fight to break your duck to.
Both men were giving it their all, but Egbunike started putting his mark on the work, having that exclamation point to finish the trades.
The right man won the fight and with every scorecard you have to realise that it’s down to the person opinion. For this fight the refs opinion was to award the result to Egbunike 97-93, which could be seen as a disservice to the hard work put in by Allington. 96-94 or even 96-95 would have been a fairer result in my eyes but Egbunike was the rightful winner.
There was also wins for Liam Wells, Frank Arnold, Alex Bellingham, Jack Martin, Aaron Prosper, George Fox and Dan Azeez ahead of his big fight against Dec Spelman next month.