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picture courtesy of Scott Rawsthorne @Unknown_Boxers

The IBO World Title fight between Alex Dilmaghani and Francisco Fonesca topped yesterday’s York Hall bill, televised on Channel 5. There was a sizeable undercard on the Hennessy Sports promotion, with stand out performances from Craig ‘Smiler’ Woodruff, John Joe Nevin and Samuel Antwi among others.

Woodruff roughs up Marsden – 6×3 Super Lightweight

It wasn’t the most high-profile bout, but we picked out Craig Woodruff’s clash with Connor Marsden as one of the most competitive on the schedule in our preview. It turned out that way, with ‘Smiler’ bagging an impressive away victory via stoppage.

Woodruff turned things scrappy in the first round, getting in close to Marsden and dipping low at the waist to evade much of Marsden’s offensive work.

The slightly messy way the fight turned up suited Woodruff to a tee. He used head movement and an effective recurring uppercut in close, noticeably snapping Marsden’s head back in the second. The Londoner was starting to look ragged.

Marsden went into the third not using his rangy build to full effect. Leaning forward slightly into his stance left him particularly open to the uppercuts fired by his Welsh opponent, which kept finding the mark.

An accumulation of hard shots, which Marsden was effectively leaning into, left the Londoner on the floor in the third.

There could have been another knockdown, but Marsden pulled Woodruff down with him and the referee seemed the think it was a clinch-gone-wrong. With the two men back on their feet, Woodruff let rip again and forced Marsden back.

The finale in the third round was dramatic. The towel came in but the referee, with his back to the corner, didn’t see it and another volley from the Welshman left Marsden back on the canvas, he was awarded the TKO despite the towel.

The Welsh travelling support were overjoyed and Craig Woodruff reinforced his game reputation.

Fans of the Londoner will hope Marsden can re-group and make better use of his rangy build next time out.


Nevin knocks down Fonseca – 10×3 Super Featherweight

In the co-main contest, accomplished amateur John Joe Nevin, of Mullingar, Ireland, took on Freddy Fonseca, brother of Francisco, who fought to a draw in the main event. Francisco reappeared, having not long left the ring himself, to help in his brother’s corner.

Nevin was patient in the opening stages, his supporters tried to roar him into activity but he stuck to his guns and his patience paid off. The southpaw Irishman caught his Nicaraguan opposite number with a tremendously well timed right hand in the second, sending him to the canvas with a thud.

Fonseca recovered himself quickly though and tried to work his way back into the fight, but Nevin’s patient work maintained his lead.

The Nicaraguan took a few rounds late on, but Nevin stayed disciplined and measured throughout the contest and sealed a unanimous decision win 92-97, 92-97- 90-99.

The timing of the ‘True Sensation’ Samuel Antwi – 6×3 Welterweight

Another of the night’s highlights was Samuel ‘True Sensation’ Antwi, who showed immense timing in beating tough Mexican globe-trotter, Fernando Valencia.

Antwi found a home for his hooks early on and kept finding them. His teak-tough opponent repeatedly beat his chest and beckoned Antwi on to deliver more punishment, but the Stockwell men stayed patient and timed his replies to perfection. A lesser man would have been stopped but Valencia showed immense heart and durability to walk away with only a points loss.

Huge support for huge Lucian Atana – 4×3 Heavyweight

In the night’s only heavyweight contest, Romania’s Lucian Atana towered over Phil Williams. The Romanian was amazingly well supported, with shouts of LU-CI-AN ringing round York Hall for the whole, short, duration of the bout. Williams landed one shot of his own but spent the round, understandably, with his gloves round his ears.

The referee stepped in before the end of round one to end a contest that looked like a dangerous mismatch, Williams already looking a little the worse for wear.

Good signs from Ghadiri – 4×3 Featherweight

In a four round featherweight bout, Alizara Ghadiri, from Iran via Islington, took on Bayardo Ramos. Ghadiri climbed into the ring in impressive shape and threw every punch with intent to move to 2-0 with a shutout points win. At first glance, he seems one to watch.

Lots to learn for Hennessy Jr. – 6×3 Middleweight

Michael Hennessy Jr’s six round contest with Richard Baba was an oddity that proved only one thing, Hennessy has a lot to learn. His boyish features were accompanied by plenty of in-ring naivete and, despite very tentative match-making, Hennessy didn’t really trouble his opponent.

In several rounds Baba dropped his hands entirely and invited Hennessy to throw shots, which the Sevenoaks novice duly did. Baba let them land, with no attempt at head movement. At one point in the third round Baba launched a frenzied reply and, for a moment, it seemed like the fight might get interesting. It didn’t though, and Hennessy finished the contest with a 60-55 win and a long list of things to work on.

Smith gets the job done – 6×3 Super Lightweight

Lewis Smith, well supported by Charton Athletics ‘Covered End Choir’, took on ubiquitous Blackburn journeyman, Naheem Chaudhry. Chaudhry took to clowning from the third round onward, seemingly unimpressed by Smith’s power he dropped his hands, chattered away and even threw in an Ali shuffle.

Smith looked in great shape, though there were questions raised as to whether he had actually shed too much weight as he struggled to get fully into gear in the opening exchanges and seemed to lack venom in his punching.

The bout raised the question: would Smith have more ‘oomph’ as a welterweight?

Waiting for the inevitable: Woodruff has stopped Marsden/ picture by George Storr @George_Storr1

Struck by ‘Rhys Lightning’ – 4×3 Super Featherweight

Rhys Edwards, on the other hand, had plenty of venom in his showdown with Vladislav Davidiatis. The Welsh super featherweight was sharp from the off, working a nice jab and making good use of angles, with an impressive punch selection.

Davidiatis looked out of his depth immediately though and never got into his stride. Edwards overwhelmed his opponent with intensity and angle-changes, knocking him down with a crisp body shot in the third round. He returned to his feet but another barrage saw the referee step in to call a halt to the contest in the third of four.

Underwood underperformed – 4×3 Middleweight

In the first bout of the evening, Billy Underwood faced Bulgaria’s Danail Stoyanov. The Londoner seemed completely fixated on throwing his straight right hand in the early stages, perhaps wanting to prove a point regarding his power, as so many fighters do want to early in their careers.

A more varied punch selection and a more active jab would have served Underwood better. He got the job done though and doubtless learned on or two lessons. Appearing at middleweight, he looked as though a drop to super-welterweight might be the best solution to the power-worries indicated by his style.

Biea beats Berman – 4×3 Super Welterweight

Flavius Biea, like Lucius Atana, another well-supported Romanian, fought his way to a competent win at super-welterweight. He didn’t wow the crowd though and had his best round in the opener, when he looked sharp and fluid. He never looked like stopping his opponent, who was awkward and employed plenty of unorthodox head movement to stay clear of the worst of Biea’s work.

From there on, Biea seemed to settle and get, if anything, a little too comfortable against the unambitious Berman Sanchez. It’s another win for the Romanian though who moves on to 18-1.

That’s all folks

Overall, it was an enjoyable card. Channel 5 viewers missed an interesting spectacle when the cameras packed up and left before Woodruff and Marsden closed the show.


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