Main Event: “Hollywood” Joshua Ejakpovi vs Max Wicks
Southern Area Super Welterweight title eliminator
#TeamSouthpawJab member ‘Hollywood’ Josh moved a step closer to a shot at the Southern Area super-welterweight title with a victory over Max Wicks in London on Saturday. A cautious opening few rounds were punctuated by Ejakpovi’s sharper shots, which had started to trouble Wicks by the third and had bloodied his nose and blackened his eye in the fourth. Josh, appropriately- a southpaw, couldn’t miss with his well timed straight back hand, and enjoyed a dominant fifth session where he exhibited excellent footwork to move in and out of range at will.
Wicks made a more determined start to the sixth, only to have his nose bloodied further by those spearing left hands. Throwing caution to the wind, the visitor steamed forward in the seventh, catching Ejakpovi with several noticeable shots that opened a cut on the Londoner’s right eye. A shootout followed, and for a moment it appeared as though we would be treated to a competitive finish, only for the bout to be waved off with Wicks citing a hand injury. One feels this may have been to his benefit, as this final rally was surely most of what the visitor had left to offer. He falls to 6-3-1, Ejakpovi improves to 12-0 and will be eyeing belts next.
Main Support: Kaisy Khademi vs Pablo Narvaez
Afghanistan native, East London resident, Kaisy Khademi won a close 10-round decision over Nicaraguan import Pablo Narvaez, who gave an excellent account of himself despite the defeat. Both started well, with Khademi’s cleaner shot selection winning him the lion’s share of the opening sessions. Narvaez kept pace however, and by the fifth had dragged his man into a rugged, slightly messy contest which suited him better. The middle rounds were hotly contested affairs which saw Narvaez enjoy his best moments of the fight, outworking the local favourite who for the first time had to adjust to the visitor’s marauding tactics.
A return to ringcraft and boxing ability saw Khademi regain control of the contest in the eighth, refusing to be drawn into an inside scrap. Narvaez couldn’t negate the distance between them, and consequently the contest cruised to a rather muted finish. A 98-94 score saw Khademi move to 5-0, while Narvaez’s new record reads 9-10-7, but certainly does not tell the full story.
Friend of Southpaw Jab, Jamie Hughes (4-0) featured in his first six round contest, and tried to score his first knockout from the opening bell against Darryl Sharp (5-35). Big swinging hits seldom found their target, and after three unspectacular rounds, a much needed change was needed. Hughes answered the call, and started to build his attacks behind a previously neglected jab, eventually running away a comfortable points winner.
Andre Sterling moves to 8-0 (4) with a stoppage victory over debutante Zac Thompson, who had to weather a clinical storm from the get-go as Sterling established his authority early. By the third “Showtime” had Thompson where he wanted him, and a salvo of unanswered shots prompted referee Chaz Coakley to intervene. Scheduled for six, Sterling is set for tougher tests later in the year.
The only other knockout of the night came courtesy of debutant (1-0) Rylan Charlton, who faced winless Paul Ducie (0-6) over four. A competitive opener saw both men score with good shots, although Charlton came off better in the exchanges. Undeterred, Ducie marched forward in the next round, only to walk onto a peach of a counter right hand. Beating the count but on unsteady legs, referee Mark Bates ended around halfway through the second.
Daniel Khan (now 7-0) continued his education with another points win, this time against Taka Bembere (0-1) over four. On the front foot from the outset, Khan pressured throughout and ended with a flourish, pinning his man in a corner and letting his hands go. Bembere, never troubled by Khan’s punches, was nevertheless cleanly outclassed. Sean Phillips moves to 3-0-1 with a win over tough veteran William Warburton (26-137-10), coolly taking the first three rounds thanks to decent footwork and some good work to the body. Warburton tested the newcomer in the final round, with punching on the inside earning him a share of the spoils in referee Chaz Coakley’s 40-37 points verdict.
Ohio Kane (now 3-0) enjoyed a good win over Lewis van Poetsch (7-74-1). Kain, composed, built a clear lead behind an impressive jab and right hook to the body, but was kept honest by van Poetsch, who caught the Londoner with the occasional counter. Ohio, however, finished in control, switching between head and body and bloodying his opponent’s nose in the final round.
Denzel Bentley (5-0), spurred by raucous support, boxed his way to a comfortable points win against Christian Hoskin Gomez (7-34-4) over six. Powerful body shots early on were responsible for Gomez fading towards the end of the fight, but Bentley didn’t have things all his own way, reflected in a 60-55 score for the home fighter. Opener Craig McCarthy (4-0) began tentatively against Callum Ide (0-16-2), but took the first two rounds thanks to some eye-catching combos. An improved third for both men was followed by a spirited finish from Ide, but he couldn’t recover early lost ground in a 40-36 loss.
Derrick Ozase (5-0) comfortably defeated visitor Harry Matthews (15-30-2) over four. Wobbled in the second, Matthews had little answer for Ozase’s power, which he was cautious of throughout. Although the knockout didn’t come, the result was never in doubt as Ozase cruised his way to a 40-36 win. Frank Arnold (2-0-1) received a blemish on his record, after West Midlands native Brett Fidoe (9-48-5) forced a 38-38 draw after four rounds. Arnold started brightly, but was tested in the second half of the fight when Fidoe began to find his range. A surprise knockdown-ruled-slip in the third round jolted Arnold into action in the fourth, but his punches were met like for like by a fired up visitor who was unlucky not to take the outright win on my card.
Notes: Soon to fight for the British title, Asinia Byfield appeared in an exhibition bout. Conroy Downer vs Adam Williams, Ermal Dida vs Haroon Karim and Simon Corcoran vs Kristian Laight all contested on the monster Hellraiser Boxing bill.