Despite the poor weather conditions, a sizeable crowd gathered at the 3 crowns Hotel in Llantrisant to witness day two of the 2018 Welsh Open Boxing Championships.
The first contest of the day was a Youth 64kg Quarter Final between Penyrheol’s Shane Taffetsauffer and Travis James of Maelor ABC.
Taffetsauffer in the red corner, enjoyed a significant height and reach advantage over his stocky southpaw opponent. Immediately the advancing James was picked off at range and caught numerous times with the right hand. Taffetsauffer banked the opening round whilst operating nicely off the back foot. James quickened his feet in the second round and landed a nice right hook but then walked on to a razor sharp left jab-right hand combination that prompted Referee Tony Collins to issue the afternoons first standing eight count. Taffetsauffer sensed the end was nigh but was met with resistance as both lads traded furiously to end the round.
James, after surely being told he needed a huge final round went straight on the offensive yet left himself open to that dangerous right hand. A series of thumping shots saw Mr Collins intervene for another 8 count and soon after correctly halting the contest to prevent Travis James from taking more punishment. The impressive Taffetsauffer moves to within one fight of the 64kg final.
Next up was another youth contest, this time a semi-final at 69kg, that featured Hywel Cooper of Pontypool and Connor Burns from Llandudno. There was definetly a clash of styles in this bout as Burns looked extremely comfortable boxing on the back foot, whilst Cooper came forward applying pressure. Cooper was certainly proving his toughness, however the man from South Wales was taking plenty of shots as he moved forward. Burns had made the better start, yet hard body shots from Cooper seemed to have payed dividends as both lads began to slow. Cooper despite giving it is all had collected a significant amount of facial damage from Burns’s selection of counter punches. A Burns left hook brought a standing 8 count from Referee Gary Meredith and put the seal on a very impressive performance. Credit must go to the game Hywel Cooper but it is
Connor Burns representing Llandudno that will be competing in the youth 69 kg final.
Third contest of the afternoon was again a semi final, this time in the elite 56kg category. Lewis Green of Port Talbot Bulldogs and Dominic Rowe (ANA) wasted no time feeling each other out as punches from both men began to land from the off. Green looked very stylish as he comfortably used the ropes to his advantage and found a home for a lead back hand that he delivered very well indeed. It was the right hand that snapped Rowes head back and forced an early standing eight count from Referee Phil Parry. Rowe looked more stunned then hurt though and by the end of the opening frame had began to score himself. In fact a flush left hook just before the bell led to Mr Parry also giving Green a count. A superb second round thrilled those in attendance as the contest swung back and forth. Green was still landing his nice right hand but the man from Port Talbot was taking more in return as Rowe came roaring back with his favoured left hook. The third round saw much of the same with both men not letting up for a second. It was unclear whether or not the judges would prefer Greens boxing or the more direct style of Rowe. There was no complaints from anyone though as ANA’s Dominic Rowe advanced to the final against Joshua John, What a contest that will be
Its never an ideal situation when two fighters from the same gym are drawn together, as was the case in bout 4 between Andrew Wilson and Jerome Warburton of Duffryn. However any friendship had to be momentarily put aside as both squared off in the quarter final of the 69kg elite category. Again we would witness a clash of styles as Warburtons back foot southpaw skills was pitted gainst the aggressive orthodox style of Wilson. The first round was rather uneventful as both men who probably knew quite a bit about each other feinted and probed for superiority. Amateur boxing can often be about impressing the judges and as we entered the second round it was hard to see who had the upper hand. Wilson began to target the body and was countered with flashy quick counters from Warburton. The third round was also extremely close as Wilsons aggression payed off at times, yet was also used against him by Warburton who was clearly the more accomplished technician. This writer felt the contest could have gone either way ,yet the judges preferred Jerome Warburtons work as he collected a Unanimous decision over his Gym mate.
The coaches From Duffryn immediately switched over to the red corner as bout number 5 featured another of their 69kg boxers in Sean Yaxley. Opposing the touted Yaxley and also taking part in his second bout of the weekend was Tom Bradford of Merlins Bridge ABC. Yaxley looked razor sharp in the early stages as the hands low relaxed style, so popular at elite amateur level allowed him to continuously land left hooks and straight right hands. Yaxley dazzled with swift combinations and it was a left hook, right hand left hook that had Bradford in a significant amount of distress as the first round ended. The man from Merlins Bridge was doing the very best he could but was powerless to prevent Yaxley from scoring with another flush left hook right hand combination. Referee Eddie Dyer issued a standing 8 count as Bradfords legs buckled. It was testament to the toughness of Bradford that Yaxley took his time in the third, content to box on the back foot. However the slight reprieve was not to last as Yaxley scored with a sickening counter right hand that forced Mr Dyer to issue the second eight count of the contest. After taking a close look at Bradford he was deemed in no position to continue and Sion Yaxley advances to meet fellow Duffryn fighter Gerome Warburton in the 69kg semi finals.
A young man who has already secured plenty of Amateur accolades, Jamie Janes of Splott was up next in Bout number 6. In the opposing corner in this youth 64kg contest was Pantsides Ethan Bull, who on his day is more then a match for any fighter at this weight. As expected the contest started with both lads trying to find the range with a probing jab. Bull was content to sit back behind his height and reach advantage and allow Janes to come on to him. Janes took the first round as he landed the more eye catching blows, especially a lightning quick right hand. Janes cut the ring off exceptionally well and eventually caught Bull with a big right hand, Referee Mr Stan Griffiths correctly issued an eight count to Bull, who was led back to his corner after failing to convince the referee he was fit to continue. No shame in losing against a high level operator and I’m sure Ethan Bull will bounce back from this. Meanwhile Janes advances and looks very special indeed.
Following an interval it was the turn of the youths in the 75kg category, as Pembrokes Dylan Scott met Callum Lee of Premier. Lee was in no position to hang around as he immediately bombarded Scott with left hands out of the southpaw stance. A standing 8 count was issued to Scott From Mr Parry and was soon followed by another, as the young man from Pembroke seemed to be in very deep waters. The end came soon after as clean shots from Lee found their target and left Mr Parry with no other option then to halt the contest in the first round. Callum Lee will box in the 75kg final and will go there with bags full of confidence.
Bout 8 was certainly a contest this writer was looking forward to was the 69kg elite quarter final between Premiers Jack Lovell and Port Talbots Connor Mcintosh. After beating Tom James and Ryan Mccarthy respectively the day before ,both of these well matched boxers were tipped to deliver a highly intense skilful contest. Both boxers sensibly began to work behind their jabs and very much displayed the art of boxing in its finest form. Mcintosh landed a well timed straight left but there was little to separate the boxers in the early stages. This highly tactical encounter continued into the second round. Lovell landed a series of hard straight shots that seemed to momentarily stiffen Mcintosh’s legs. Both fighters were certainly prepared to unload with power shots at any given time as the third round began. Mcintosh boxed very well on the back foot and was timing Lovell as the man from Premier ABC lunged in. Predictably the judges couldn’t agree on a winner in what turned out to be a fascinating encounter
Lovell emerged as a split decision winner in a fight that could have quite easily made a worthy final. Credit goes to both men who both have bright futures in the sport
The action continued to come thick and fast as soon enough two other fighters, well known on the circuit, Connor Oliver(Cwmcarn) and Jake Tinklin(Pantside) entered the ring to contest the next Quarter final at 69kg. Tinklin , on the previous day had come through a tough contest against Arran Games with Oliver receiving a bye, so it would be interesting to see what effect this would have on the contest. Its fair to say both have improved dramatically since boxing at senior level with the early stages of the bout suggesting we would see a battle of the jabs. Oliver began tentatively as Tinklin settled the quicker and began to land with authority. Oliver has superb physical attributes but his jab was not deterring Tinklin who began landing to the body in the second round. A number of right hands whistled past Olivers chin as Tinklin built up an early lead on the scorecards.
Oliver needed a big third round and showed plenty of fighting spirit that has earn’t him fight of the night on more then one occasion. Tinklin was looking very strong indeed though and the Pantside fighter showed he can punch as well as box. Referee Mr Tony Collins gave Oliver a standing 8 count following a succession of hurtful punches to head and body. Tinklin didn’t let his opponent off the hook and forced another 8 count soon after. Despite Oliver pleading to continue Mr Collins had seen enough and stopped the bout soon after. Jake Tinklin will face Jacob Lovell in the next round in a fight that can not be anything but explosive.
The noise levels at the 3 Crowns Hotel rose a fair few decibels as the next contest at 75kg featured two very well supported fighters in Joe Smith(Caerau Ely) and Joe Calzaghe Jnr(pantside). Smith clearly set out to pressure Calzaghe and bring the slick counterpuncher out of his comfort zone. Smith cut the ring off well and certainly made use of a few rough house tactics to inflict a heavy nose bleed on Calzaghe. The Newbridge stylist showed he also has his famous fathers toughness by taking Smiths best shots and landing plenty of his own. The third round saw a significant change of momentum in the fight as Smiths relentless pace began to slow. Calzaghe landed plenty of well timed straight lefts and uppercuts but it looked like his brave effort had come a little too late. The judges agreed that it had, as Joe Smith collected a unanimous decision and will meet Caerphilly’s Mark Davies in the semi finals . Credit to Joe Calzaghe Jnr who would have learnt plenty from this contest.
The final bout of the evening was also a 75kg elite contest, this time featuring Beau Besley of All Saints and Jake coombes representing Prizefighter. Besley circled the ring from the start and scored from range as Coombes initially failed to get close enough to land his shots. Besley was using a lot of energy moving about the ring and after slowing down the inevitable happened as Coombes connected with a right hook to the body sending Besley to the canvas. Besley failed to beat the count and Coombes by way of knock out advances to the 75kg semi finals.