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Night of the Underdog at York Hall as Season Kicks Off

Boxing is back at York Hall as Goodwin Boxing’s Pound for Pound show opened their new season. With a beefy seventeen fight card, a “cup fight” for added excitement, some surprising results and plenty of prospects, the new season got underway for the Goodwin stable. Well, once you’d got through security; and when you’re stuck behind a guy with a bag full of tools and a blow torch who doesn’t understand why he can’t take them in, it takes a little while.

There was Team Southpaw Jab interest in the shape of Ricky Heavens, and so we’ll start with him.

In his seventh professional outing, unbeaten super welterweight Heavens was facing tough Duane Green over six rounds. Green, who had a couple of draws and a win in his last five fights, was in green shorts while Ricky wore the red and white of his beloved Brentford F.C.. Tall, with long arms, it appeared that Ricky was going to box on the outside and pick off the game Green as he came in, which he did willingly. A straight right looked to have briefly stunned Duane in the first, but he quickly shook it off.

The tone was somewhat set, Heavens on the outside trying to set traps, Green coming forward increasingly aggressively with a high volume of shots. However, it seemed like Duane was growing into the fight, he really was up for it and the #TeamSouthpawJab man couldn’t find a rhythm or opening to let his hands go convincingly enough. As the fight wore on and Green laid into him with everything you’d expect from an away fighter of his experience; Ricky began to mark up, bleed and swell. Unfortunately, it looked ominous for his chances.

To his credit, Heavens- while bereft of new ideas, didn’t wilt. He continued trying to get back in the fight, and in every round he’d land a couple of lovely clean shots; amping up his noisy supporters. Green was a man with the bit between his teeth, though. Doggedly charging his man down and letting his hands go in close, nullifying Ricky’s reach advantage. The final bell went and we like to say at Southpaw Jab that we win together and we lose together, Saturday night with Ricky we lost. There can be few complaints about the 59-57 decision for a confident looking Duane Green, now 6-35-7 (0).

Gracious in victory, a rightfully delighted Green said, “it’s just come a bit soon for him, I don’t think he believed in himself enough.” Jon Thaxton, Green’s trainer, reminded that “there’s winning and learning, hopefully he learns.” The sentiment was one Heavens, 5-1-1 (0), is on board with, “I’m an honest guy, he won that fight. That wasn’t what I know I can do, but I’ll learn from it. I want to say a big thank you to all my supporters, I’ll be back better than ever before you know it.” Southpaw Jab are right here behind you, Ricky: onto the next one.

There were many competitive fights on the bill, and the away corner enjoyed more success than they were perhaps expected to. In his 201st professional fight, the entertaining and gritty Kevin McCauley heavily dropped and badly wobbled, across a few rounds, the 4-0 (0) going in, Tony Bange. McCauley, considering he fights out of Stourbridge, seemed to have more support with him than Bange, testament to his commitment to entertaining. This was, for me, the fight of the night as Bange showed incredible powers of recovery to rally back when all was lost. There was no way the home fighter could take this on points having been dropped and for the most part dominated by an on form McCauley.

Only, there was a way. In what must go down as one of the worst home decisions I’ve seen, Bange took it 38-37. There were probably a few robberies in Bethnal Green Saturday night, but none will have been booed loudly like this was. Apparently it was audible in the dressing rooms. Frankly it was a disgrace. While it was a good fight, a 10-8 round meant Bange was given every other round by the referee (whose name I will add when I find it it) which patently wasn’t the case. It left a sour taste in the mouth unfortunately.

More blue corner success saw David Birmingham outwork and confuse a, by the end, dazed and out of sorts looking Anesu Twala, over six. Twala started well but faded badly and the now 4-1 (0) Lewisham lightweight was lucky to hear the final bell as he threw so few punches over the last two rounds. In places his thirty seven year old opponent was teeing off on him. Whilst Twala did stand up commendably to the onslaughts and keep plodding forward, all credit must go to now 7-2 (3) Birmingham who deserved his points win. Though 59-57 was a little close for my liking.

The main event of the evening was the Fight Cup (Goodwin Boxing’s innovative knockout tournament) semi final between light heavyweights Duane Sinclair, 9-0 (2), and Dominic Felix, now 1-1-1 (0). With a combined age of seventy three, these men both know they don’t have too long in the game, and they didn’t hang about in the fight. Both rangy, Felix’s southpaw stance and back foot style caused a few tangles as Sinclair pressed keenly. When they found their range though, it was hugely entertaining. Sinclair had his foe wobbled in the first, but Felix fought back until in the fifth it kicked off properly and was all over the next stanza as Sinclair brutally dropped his man three times before it was waved off.

Super bantam Ryan Walker, 8-0 (1) went through the gears impressively in a decent scrap with Michael Horabin, 1-4 (0), settling for the points win after almost halting Horabin in the sixth and final round. Liam Dillon, 7-0 (1), appeared in Boxing News last Thursday, and his good week continued as he sealed his first early finish. The Chingford lightweight looked good, forcing 10-51 (5) Antonio Horvatic to his knee three times in the third before the Croatian refused to get up. Horvatic had been saved by the bell in the second, too.

Ramez Mahmood has the best moniker in boxing, the likeable maths teacher goes by “The Mathmagician”. Over six the featherweight controlled every round for a deserved 60-54 win over 1-15-1 (1) Edward Bjorkland to move to 7-0 (2). Paul Greenidge had without doubt the biggest support of the night (noisiest went to Ryan Walker’s fan’s horns!). The super middle showed good movement and fast hands to outpoint (40-37) awkward, rangy customer Callum Ide, 10-18-2 (0), in only his second fight. Greenidge moves to 2-0 (0).

Rounding up the rest: 7-1 (1) Daniel Mendes bested Pawel Strykowski, 1-2 (0), at cruiser on 59-56 over six. Huge heavyweight Ishamel Oladipo had to settle for a debut draw with 1-0-1 (1) Michal Lukacik. Yaser Al Ghena, 3-0 (0), won his welterweight four rounder with Lee Hellet, 0-6 (0), by decision- 39-37. Jon Palata didn’t get another stoppage as he was frustrated by 1-3 (1) Phil Williams. However, Palata did take every round of four to go 2-0 (1).

Youssef Khoumari went 5-0 (1) at lightweight, beating the tough Michael Mooney, 8-53-1 (3), 40-37. Debutant Denis Denikajev won every round against 4-82-2 (0) Quasim Hussain, as he stepped out for the first time. Adrain Redman, 3-0 (0) grew into his super middleweight fight with 5-38 (0) Darryl Sharp. Redman prevailed 39-37. Light heavyweight Ellis Zorro is now 3-0 (1) after a 40-36 win over Remigijus Ziausys, who dropped to 20-96-5 (10).

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