Disaster struck several times at the Hellraiser Boxing event at York Hall on Friday. Firstly, Philip Bowes was forced to withdraw from his British and Commonwealth Super Lightweight Title fight against Akeem Ennis-Brown on medical grounds. It was by far the most prestigious of Hellraiser’s headliners in recent memory.
The resulting low attendance offered a dreary and indifferent atmosphere, made worse by technical issues with the sound equipment at the venue. An immense shame, as the fighting itself was competitive and very watchable.
With the conspicuous absence of Bowes versus Ennis-Brown, Louis Greene and Berman Sanchez were elevated to the main headliner slot, and they provided a good contest which started fast, as both men worked at each other on the inside. Greene had the heavier hands and chose the better shots, and was starting to test the Nicaraguan’s chin by the third round.
Sanchez, who kept with the pace admirably, found himself permanently on the back foot in the fourth, and had started to hold by the fifth. A flurry of punches by Greene towards the end of the session extinguished his will, and Sanchez retired in his corner before the start of the sixth. Greene, who looks useful, has now won three in a row since losing to Larry Ekundayo for the IBF European strap.
Robin Dupre enjoyed a four round points win over Miles Willington, making it two wins from two for the year. Both men looked heavy but Dupre, smaller and lighter on his feet, boxed sensibly on the outside for the first two rounds. He upped his output in the third, and pulled away in the fourth.
Anesu Twala won an uninspiring contest over four against Chris Adaway, who kept the Londoner honest throughout. Untroubled by Twala’s punching, the visitor took the fight to him in the third, and Twala, who couldn’t time his punches to any effect, ended the fight with a damaged left eye and a 39-38 decision victory.
Still unbeaten, Charlie Shane gave a reality check to opponent Tom Barrett who was making his debut. Shane, looking for his first stoppage, was in control from the start, while Barrett was outgunned and a step behind throughout. By the end of the second he was marked up, out of breath and out of ideas, although displayed grit and determination to see the fight to the end.
A women’s contest between Zoe Hunter-Smith and Eftychia Kathoupouli was arguably the fight of the night. Both started well, with the smaller Hunter-Smith looking to outwork her opponent, while Kathoupouli used her physical advantages and punch power to good effect. Kathoupouli did enough to win every round, but she was made to work hard for the victory. The styles matched well, and the pair of them produced a spectacle that was befitting of the applause at the final bell.
The six round bout between Daniel Khan and Sean Davis, however, couldn’t match them. Khan, unbeaten in nine prior to this, started well, a quick jab being much of the difference between them. But as Davis warmed into the contest, the affair became scrappy and hard to score, and Khan appeared to tire as the end drew near. Davis won the fifth on my card and made a good contest of the sixth to take a share of the spoils in a 59-56 loss.
The switch-hitting Tony Vincent forced Josh Thorne to retire at the end of the third, having applied educated pressure from the outset. Thorne gave a good account of himself but was unable to avoid sharp southpaw jabs and stinging back hands, and was looking distressed at the end of the third. He was saved further punishment as the bell rang.
Sohail Ahmed also won by third round stoppage against Dylan Draper, his second victory over the same opponent. Draper appeared uncomfortable from the outset and Ahmed, sensing this, stalked his man in the second and delivered a left-hook-to-the-body, right-hand-to-the-head combination that wobbled him. Another right hand sent Draper to the ropes, and the following combination prompted referee Jeff Hinds to step in.
A crass, live-rapping ring entrance nevertheless inspired Alex Ananivi to a points win over Fonz Alexander over six. He was never in trouble and dictated matters with stern body shots, although Alexander had some success in the fifth. Ananivi ended the fight, however, in the ascendancy, with some lovely inside work.
Anees Taj opened his professional account with a TKO win over Imantas Davidaitis after a matter a of seconds. A sweeping right hand to the head dropped the visitor heavily. He rose to his feet, but looked unsteady, and was waved off after close inspection from the referee. Davidaitis has now been stopped in each of his last four.
Fellow debutante Ben Vickers earned himself a points win over Viktoras Ramza. Although Vickers had the upper hand throughout, he was made to work by Ramza, who hasn’t fought since last December. They traded right hooks in the final session, but Vickers followed his up with well-chosen punches to take a shutout decision.