Welsh Clean Sweep Ends Season On A High
Michael Ward Reporting from ringside
It was promoter Mark Prior on behalf of British Warrior promotions who was left”undeterred” following the withdrawals of Chris Jenkins, Alex Hughes, Kristian Touze and Geraint Goodridge.
We still had the chance to witness seven contests showcasing the wealth of Welsh boxing talent we are lucky to have right now.
First up we had an intriguing contest between two men who its fair to say are were not used to winning.However in boxing as we know Robert Studinski’s record of 3-35 and opponent Richard Harrison’s 2-22 ledger does not tell the full story of how tough and game these fighters are. It was the Llaneli based Pole Studsinski who found himself in the red corner in a fight both men would have fancied their chances in. Studsinski began the brighter immediately taking command on the front foot and landing dangerous looking left hooks that were connecting behind Harrison’s ear. A flush right uppercut damaged Harrisons nose which began to bleed quite heavily. Surrey Battler Harrison was slightly more active in the second round but he was still getting beat to the punch by the busier Pole. Studinski’s left jab was adding to the already significant nose damage suffered by his opponent. Sudinski seemed to be doing as he pleased, also working hard on the inside and landing the punch of the fight, a big right uppercut that snapped Harrison’s head back. Harrison was in survivial mode but looked like surviving to hear the final bell when he was caught by two viscious hooks from Studinski. Luckily the bell saved Harrison who finished on Wobbly legs. Trialist referee Chris Jones, who did a sterling job throughout the show handled the action, while Mr Reece Carter awarded a 40-36 points win to Robert Studinski. Now 40 years old and with new management Studinski, who weighed 12stone 5 lbs, will be hoping to get a few wins before hanging up his gloves. Harrison meanwhile looks to continue on the road with a number of fights already booked over the next couple of months.
Next up, and the first local to fight on the show was Mano of the fighting Lee Family. Lee had clearly been inspired by younger brother Sammy who on the same day had guaranteed himself a podium finish at the youth Commonwealth games. Jordan Grannum of Islington a holder of a 2-3 record was the opponent for Lee in this Super Welterweight contest scheduled for 4 rounds. Swansea stylist Lee with Gary Lockett in his corner began proceedings confidently Owning ring centre while flicking out his jab. Grannum who looked relaxed was content to bide his time and worked on the back foot with a high guard. Lee was taking his time, not taking unnecessary risks and cutting the ring of nicely as his opponent waited for an opportunity. Very little was coming back from Grannum as Lee showed glimpses of how he earns his “lightning” monicker by mixing his shots up very nicely.The pick of which was a left hook ,right uppercut combination. Grannum looked to drag the Swansea man into close quarters during the third, but Mano was more then up to the task and beat the Londoner to the punch comfortably. The final round saw Lee using his boxing brain, taking on board Lockett’s instructions and sticking to his his game plan. Grannums brief forays on the offensive were easily nullified by Lee who has clearly improved since Hooking up with the ex world rated Middleweight Lockett. Referee Mr Carter had the straightforward task of handing a 40-36 win to Mano Lee who will be more then ready to up the level of opposition in September/October time.
After over a year out of action,Newport middleweight Lee Churher understandably came to the ring chomping at the bit.Following a late withdrawal Kents ever reliable Sonny Whiting returned to Swansea to provide the opposition.Whiting huge at the weight, has the build to bother any fighter, with his height and reach. Churcher started the contest with his usual aggression and head movement while Whiting operated behind his left jab. First round was close with both men having early success but nothing big finding its intended target. Following instructions from Tony Borg Churcher quickened up his feet and feinted to draw the taller mans lead. A big right hand in the middle round plus some nice left hooks definitely won the session for the Welshman. Those heavy punches must have registered on Whiting as he was firmly on the back foot in the second half of the fight. Churcher was the fighter pressing the action and this pattern carried on until the bell tolled to end the fight . Referee Mr Williams rightfully awarded a 40-36 decision in favour of Lee Churcher ,who despite looking frustrated at the end, must have been very happy to get back to business with a win that took his record to 13-31.Whiting who also suffered a points loss to James Lilly in Swansea recently dropped to 5-20-2. Im sure Churchers team will be looking to keep their man active and rediscover the form that claimed wins over the likes of Barrie Jones.
The 4th fight on the card saw Abergevenny’s talented Kieran Gething face a potential bananna skin in the Form of Atherton centurion William Warburton. Gething showed aggression and ruthlessness last time out to knock out Rob Brown. Warburton however presented an entirely different proposition proving on his day he’s more then a match for any man in the division. Gething looked unfazed and confident as he came to the ring with former Commonwealth champion Jamie Arthur in his corner.Warburton not only holds two wins over Mano Lee but also had given Welshman Tony Dixon and JJ Evans all they could handle.
so Gething had to be on top of his game. Gething started very well, getting into range quickly and mixing up his attacks to head and body. Gething was quite rightly not allowing Warbuton to get comfortable and the Welshman’s impressive work rate took the first round. Warburton as always gave plenty back but was always second best as Gething also proved very hard to hit. The second round also went to Gething who despite being made to miss now and again, kept his composure to land plenty of leather.You don’t reach the 150 fight mark without having ability and Warbuton kept Gething honest with a series of left hooks. Gething did not drop the pace and occasionally changed to land crushing body blows which would certainly have dropped lesser fighters. Gething certainly enjoyed himself and his fan friendly style will surely lead to bigger things down the road. Warburtons effort was awarded with a share of one round on the card of Mr Carter.His 40-37 Tally sent The Super Welterweight fighter from Abergavenny Keiran Gethings record to 2-1-1.
The action certainly didn’t stop there.Action being the appropriate term to describe the fighting style of Tony Borg trained super Lightweight Lance Cooksey. This writer attended the last Warrior promotions event in Swansea, in which Cooksey made a mightily impressive debut, winning every minute of every round against Michael Mooney. The man looking to prevent the popular Rhoose man making it 2-0 was busy Swindon journeyman Joe Beeden. Cooksey was greeted by one of the loudest cheers of the night, as his crowd pleasing style had certainly impressed the welsh boxing fans. Cooksey obliged his fans with a rampant start which quickly forced Beeden into holding and spoiling tactics. The best punch For Cooksey in the opening round was a razor sharp right hand that followed a double jab. Beeden was very much willing but was helpless as Cooksey forced the Englishman into his shell.The strength and power of The Rhoose Super Lightweight on any other day would have been too much for a fellow fighter.Full credit goes to Beeden as he hung in there despite a continuous Cooksey barrage from both hands.Mr Carter scoring on the outside for Chris Jones again had an easy decision to award every round To Lance Cooksey. Watching from the outside Cooksey looks a fighter that has had way more then just his two professional contests to date. Expect Lance to continue the impressive progress he’s made under Tony Borg, and to up the calibre of opposition in the Autumn.
Next to make their way to the ring was the very popular Swansea southpaw Ricky Owen. Last seen in a professional fight way back in 2011 it would be interesting to see If Owen still has the drive and skills to make one last push for title glory. The ever reliable Swindon Hard man Jamie Quinn provided the opposition for the come backing Owen ,who was eager to impress in front of his home crowd.As the bell singled the start of the contest, you really wouldn’t believe the exceptionally talented Owen had been inactive for six years.Fighting at Light welterweight now Owen looked very sharp as he probed with an accurate southpaw jab all the while controlling the tempo of the fight.Quinn is very good at what he does and Owen spent the first round using feints and footwork in an attempt to create openings against the Swindon Survivor.The second round was more of the same with Owen showing composure and ring smarts while Quinn was content to use the ring while wisely keeping his hands by his chin. Owen landed all the quality punches.A heavy right hand and lefts to the body were particularly eye catching, as was a nice right uppercut that found its way through Quinns tight guard.Owen very much used this opportunity to shake off ring rust and would have benefitted immensely by travelling the full distance in his comeback fight.Tough Quinn looked untroubled has he caught a lot on his arms and elbows. The 40-36 scorecard was a formality as both men were happy with their nights work at the end. During his post fight interview Owen stated he would fight again in September and theres no reason at all he cant be leading the recent resurgence of the sport In Swansea.
Finishing off the night in the main event was commonwealth Flyweight champion,Swanseas own Jay Harris. The title was not on the line as the Gary Lockett trained talent stayed busy with a six rounder against Ghanaian Michael Barnoor. The man from Accra was a bit of an unknown quantity but that part of the world simply does not produce soft prize fighters.Southpaw Barnoor also brought with him a record of 14 wins from 30 contests with 10 coming by way of KO Harris had to be alert at all times. When one thinks of the fighting men of Accra,Ghana the names Ike quartey, Ben Tackie and of course the great Azumah Nelson spring to mind. It was therefore curious when Barnoor ,who was very tall at the weight come out very upright with a loose guard. Harris payed no attention to his unorthodox opponent and got straight down to buisness. He landed his straight right hand, the most effective punch against a southpaw.It was clear that Team Harris had done their homework as Harris began to dominate a very tricky customer.The punch of the second round by far was a superb right cross following a pivot from Harris.The African remained unflustered and was hard to catch clean despite having his hands low and chin high. More good boxing came from Harris in the third round.The Swansea man was clearly enjoying himself but kept his concentration well and stuck to the task at hand. Barnoor resorted to clowning around in an attempt to force Harris to come towards him, but roared on by a sizeable section of the crowd Harris continued to land his punches. Harris’s best round for me was the fifth in which he showed impressive variety in his work to pepper his now less willing opponent along the ropes.The visitors only hope was that his Harris would tire and make a mistake in the last round.This clearly was not going to happen as in fact Harris continued to get stronger which must be a big positive for his coaches. Despite some last minute
bizarre showboating, Barnoor made it to the end of the contest, unhurt but thoroughly beaten. Mr Williams 60-54 points victory awarded to Jay Harris was a formality and Swansea will be very much looking forward to him defending his commonwealth title and possibly competing for greater accolades in the very near future.
So a Welsh clean sweep sent fans home very happy indeed. Welsh boxing is going from strength to strength and the deep talent pool of fighters we have will surely result in many exciting shows come the new season.