Steve Wraith’s first ever professional boxing show went down a treat on Sunday as a six bout bill brought boxing back to Tyneside with a bang.
The main event of the day matched hometown hero Akash Hussein against Lubo Hantak after two opponent changes, in an exciting heavyweight contest.
Just over a year ago Hussein failed a routine medical because of problems with his eyes and hadn’t boxed since, after two career fights with one win and one defeat. He made his comeback today with a steady 39-37 points win against a tricky Slovakian with plenty of experience.
He won three of the rounds and the round he lost was most probably the first. After a nervy he was quite open to a stinging left hook coming in from Hantak. That could possibly have just been either ring rust or nerves or a combination of the two but Cash quickly composed himself to take over.
In a dominant display he felt comfortable enough to concede the centre of the ring. He invited Hantak onto him and worked away with the left jab showing good counter boxing and nimble footwork in the process.
It was a much-needed victory for Akash against a tricky opponent whose aggressive style showed that he came to win but Hussein’s class shone through.
The fight of the day, as predicted by Wraith (pictured above), was the home derby between Mal Gates’ trained David Lake and Martin Ward’s younger brother Tommy Ward (boxing under the name Taylor) who is trained by Neil Fannon.
In a thrilling contest, both boxers gave it their all for the fans as they stood toe-to toe and traded for almost four full rounds. The bout was stopped with just 30 seconds remaining after David Lake was knocked down for a second time in the round.
That should not take away from what was a great performance from both fighters. Taylor Ward took the first round. As he did at Phil Jeffries’ Summer Rumble show, Taylor showed phenomenal hand speed that Lake struggled to deal with and at the end of the round it appeared the bell had saved Lake as he was wobbled by a big right hand.
Lake showed great heart to recover though and appeared to make a comeback in the second and third, particularly in the second when a heavy shot to Ward’s body caused his gum shield to fly out. As the two stood trading both absorbed each others shots really well until Taylor turned up the heat in the fourth.
The massive right hand seemed to come from nowhere as the fight looked to be going to points. Lake fell heavily from the big shot but showed how well conditioned he is to get back up and continue after an eight count. Taylor sensed the chance for an early victory though and got straight back in and after catching Lake with a left, he once again fell this time to one knee.
The referee made the decision to stop the fight there with 30 seconds left but both David and Mal appeared to be a little angry with the decision. While Mal was fully appreciative that Ward was the better boxer on the day and would have won regardless he said professional pride meant his boxer wanted to finish the fight and said he would have been able to had the referee gave Lake an eight count for the second knockdown.
Mal had better news earlier though when his other boxer on the bill Anthony ‘babyface’ Nelson won every round in a points victory over Delroy Spencer.
Back at The Summer Rumble Nelson was explosive, finishing of his opponent in the second round. Today we saw a different side to Nelson as he had a composed display to box clever and get the four rounds under his belt in a very comfortable win.
Opening the show was Tyneside’s seasoned boxer Dougie Curran, who was boxing in his hometown for the first time in his 22 fight career.
Curran, who entered the ring in comical fashion wearing a gas mask, had a sensational performance against Leeds-based Leroy Smedley.
The Bullet had predicted a second round stoppage against Smedley and despite being wrong it was only by the one round. In the third Dougie caught Smedley with a devastating right, sending Smedley down. After an eight count Dougie went straight back on the attack and the referee was quick to step in after one minute and eight of the round.
Elsewhere, crowd favourite Shafiq ‘Chubzy’ Asif won all four rounds against veteran journeyman Johnny Greaves. Chubzy stayed very composed and stuck to his game plan despite the dirty tactics of Greaves to try to put him off his game. It was nothing serious from Greaves though and anyone who has seen Greaves before will know it is all light-hearted stuff.
Sadly it wasn’t all plain sailing for the home fighters as Debutant Davey Ferguson (boxing under the name of Karl) was beaten by the experienced William Warburton. Warburton made good use of his height and reach advantage throughout the fight and clearly threw Ferguson of his game plan eventually resulting in the referee calling time after 2 minutes and 50 seconds of the third round.