Two of the region’s biggest boxers made steady returns to the ring at a show in Hartlepool on Sunday.
The first returning boxer was Sunderland cruiserweight David Dolan (pictured above).
The former British title challenger was making a comeback after losing his last two fights and not being in action since losing to Jon Lewis Dickinson at the Stadium of Light last July.
Before the fight Dolan’s coach Neil Fannen had promised a difficult fight and described it as ‘do or die’.
Thankfully for Dolan’s career it was ‘do’ as he got back on track winning the bout over four rounds with Eastern European Tayar Mehmed.
Mehmed had proven his ability to stick around on Sky in January in a clash with the highly rated Danny Price. Again today Mehmed stuck about despite receiving a nasty cut above his left eye in the early stages of the first round.
Dolan looked a bit slow and at times sloppy but, like Hunter, always controlled the fight; highly frustrating Mehmed in the process to ensure his career goes on.
Former European super-bantamweight Michael Hunter topped the bill in his first fight since losing to Jason Booth in 2009.
Hunter described his comeback as ‘unfinished business’ with the 33 year-old looking to mount one more title run. He fought Sid Razak, a journeyman from Birmingham, and comfortably won all four rounds with a 40-36 points victory.
However, if the Hartlepool born brawler was hoping to give the fans an explosive performance then sadly he’ll have been disappointed.
As expected Razak was a stubborn opponent and his defence was hard to break. The home-favourite dominated proceedings but perhaps suffered from ring-rust as he was caught with a few shots that he shouldn’t be letting through.
Overall though, the relief and happiness was plain for all to see as Hunter’s comeback went as planned.
The event – The Reincarnation – was held at Hartlepool’s Borough Hall in front of a packed North East crowd. It was Phil Jeffries’ first promotion event in Hartlepool and after such a success it would seem Jeffries will want to return.
Also on the undercard was Hartlepool’s Peter Cope Jnr. Cope’s contest against Fikret Remziev was very similar to both Hunter’s and Dolan’s in that he failed to really shine and show off his talents.
He still dominated and won all six rounds in a technical performance that included a huge following from the crowd who chanted ‘Peter Cope’s Barmy Army’ for the entire fight.
In other fights from the event Fishburn’s Gary Fox defeated Darlington’s Neil Hepper in a tight all North East affair. Two debutants from the region also got wins. First was Middlesbrough’s Hafiq Asif who had big support and defeated Graham Fearn. The other was Hartlepool local Greg O’neil, who got up from a first round knockdown to beat Simon Jenkinson on points.