Bad news was good news for welsh boxing fans on Saturday night as Alex”Bad News” Hughes made a succesful return to the ring after a 18 month absence.
The aforementioned Alex Hughes closed the nights proceedings in emphatic style as he required only 2 minutes and 7 seconds to dispose of Greg O’Neil.
Some expected Hughes to get a few rounds under his belt on the comeback it was clear early on the man from Maerdy was in no mood to hang around. County Durhams O’Neil came to have a go but was outgunned as Hughes used his loose style to score at will. The writing was on the wall from the start as O’Neil turned away from what he claimed to be a low blow. He had time to recover, yet Hughes who even had time to smile to his fans,forced Referee Shaun Messer to intervene soon after following a series of lightning quick punches. A delighted Hughes who weighed 11st 13 takes his undefeated record to 11-0 and with Gary Lockett in his corner will surely be on course for a shot at a major title.
Starting off the bill was local favourite Angelo Dragone who was looking to get his second professional win in a row as he faced tough Swindon journeyman Joe Beeden.
Dragone impressed in the early stages using sensible boxing and not remaining patient against an opponent who has taken many good fighters the distance in his 62 paid contests to date. Beeden certainly gave it a go but it was Dragone’s cleaner punching and superior work rate that banked the early rounds. Dragone increased his shot selection in the third as he introduced his uppercut and some very nice body shots which discouraged Beedens forward advances. The pressure seemed to be taking its Toll on Beeden who used his experience to throw just enoguh punches to prevent referee Mr Jones from intervening. Camarthern’s Dragone who carries the nickname “the Italian Stallion” duly took his record to 2-0 as he collected a well earned 40-36 shutout victory from Shaun Messer who was scoring for Chris Jones. Dragone weighed 9st 11 with Beeden coming in at 9st 9.
Big things are predicted for the stylish Maredudd Thomas who proved he has the power end fights early in his last fight when requiring only a couple of minutes to dispose of Shane Harris at the famed York Hall in Bethnal Green. The Barry stylist repeated that feat here as he proved way too good for Torquay’s Shane Medlen. Thomas immediately got down to business and landed all the quality shots as Medlen unwisely chose to trade with his technically superior opponent. An eye catching right hand left hook combination from Thomas staggered the Englishman but it was the right uppercut that was causing all the damage. It was that exact shot that dropped Medlen, who despite rising to his feet was correctly saved from further punishment by referee Mr Jones. Maredudd Thomas ,really is a fighter to keep an eye on as greater tests await in the new year. Thomas weighed 10st 9 and moves to 4-0. Medlen weighed 10st 11 and drops to 1-1.
Cardiffs Jacob Robinson provided a highlight reel knockout in his last fight and had the chance to do so again as he took to the ring for his third professional contest. Opposition was provided by experienced Spanish based Nicaraguan Reynaldo Cajina. Cardiff Southpaw Robinson fights out of an extremely relaxed southpaw stance, and has certainly learnt to sit down on his punches more as he attempted to draw Cajina in early. The Nicaraguan visibly displayed signs of frustration as he was simply unable to land anything of note on Robinson. The Cardiffian who has Gary Lockett and ex world champion father Steve in his corner, contolled proceedings and inched closer to his opponent in the third. Robinson’s poise and concentration were both highly impressive as he easily avoided any sign of aggressive movement from his opponent. Cajina ruefully smiled in the last but will certainly not be in a rush to see Robinson again. A straightforward 40-36 points win was Awarded to the calm, collected and of course talented Jacob Robinson who barely got out of first gear.
The action continued to come thick and fast as Cardiff’s David White soon entered the ring looking to get back to winning ways following a frustrating loss in his last fight back at the same venue in August. It wouldn’t be straight forward for White though, as he faced Leeds’s Russ Midgley who had given another Welshman Kristian Touze a tough test a month ago. Its no secret what Midgley will do as he marched forward looking to get close. White showed a good boxing brain and impressive ringcraft as he used his feet and Southpaw jab to bank the first round. Midgley looked for the right hand in round 2 yet had no success as White effortlessly kept him at bay. White did his best work in round 3 as fast combinations snapped Midgley’s head back. White resisted the urge to get involved in a messy scrap that a lot of young pro’s tend to do. It was all White from beginning to end as he took his record to 2-1, delighting his supporters in the process. A potential Welsh derby with Kristian Touze could well be the next step in the new year for White. He weighed 9st 8 for this fight with opponent Russ Midgley coming in at 9st 4.
The noise in the crowd picked up a notch or two as the next bout of the evening saw the professional debut of local Welterweight Jacob Lovell. Following a stellar amateur career Swansea’s Lovell quickly hooked up with Gary Lockett and declared his intention to collect title belts as a pro. First he had to get by the highly experienced Michael Mooney, a veteran of 65 fights. From the start you just wouldnt have thought this was Lovell’s debut as he displayed skills that are usually seen from much more experienced fighters. Mooney was soon in a firm defensive mode and found himself being the recipient of some heavy body shots from the confident Lovell. Mooney was showing why he very rarely gets stopped though as he took a lot of shots on his gloves and elbows as Lovell continued to effectively cut the ring off very well indeed. Lovell listened to Lockett’s instructions and followed the game plan to perfection as he introduced uppercuts in round 3 and continued to score to the body with both hands. The man from Swansea didn’t let his standards drop in the final round, keeping his focus and concentration as he finished the fight on the front foot. A succesful debut for Jacob Lovell was confirmed with a straight forward 40-36 scorecard . He weighed 10st 3 with Mooney tipping the scales at 10st 2.
After an absence of over 4 years. Newport’s Craig Woodruff returned to action in Neath looking to get back to the high level he was at before. Some very impressive names grace the record of Woodruff including a certain Olympic gold medalist Luke Campbell. He faced a different style of opponent this time though, in the shape of Blackburn Survivor Naheem Chaudry. Woodruff had brought an army of supporters with him from Newport and the man nicknamed “smiler” started brightly finding gaps in Chaudry’s high held guard. Woodruff targeted the body in round 2 in an attempt to bring down the guard of Chaudry who in truth offered very little in the form of offence. Woodruff continued to dominate as he used his height and reach advantage to rack up the points. Chaudry complained to the referee regularly but failed to land anything of note on Woodruff who easily won every round earning a 40-36 verdict from scoring judge Kevin Parker for referee Chris Jones.
In the most exciting bout of the night, Lance Cooksey of Rhoose participated in an absolute slugfest with County Durhams talented and game Jordan Ellison.
This Lightweight encounter was scheduled for 6 x 3 minute rounds, yet the quick pace and hard shots landed from both men in the opener suggested the scorecards may be rendered obsolete.
Cooksey has an aggressive come forward style that never fails to thrill the crowd,yet it appeared to be his English opponent who settled the quickest. Ellison found a home early for his right hand and also the left hook as a nasty looking cut appeared by Cooksey’s left eye. A tough opening round for the Welshman who finally began to settle in the second round.
Ellison was still landing the right hand though, which again opened the cut by Cookseys left eye. Both men landed left hooks on each others chin in a keenly contested third round. Cooksey, perhaps spurred on by seeing his own blood upped the tempo and displayed his toughness and conditioning that has been perfected under the guidance of master trainer Tony Borg. The effective back foot boxing of Ellison was being seriously tested by the superior engine and work rate of Cooksey who had his best round in the 5th, with his relentless style appearing to slow Ellison down. An excellent contest showed no signs of slowing down in the 6th and final round as both men clearly felt the win was still up for grabs. After 6 rounds of non stop action Shaun Messer scoring for referee Chris Jones had it 60-57 to Rhoose’s Lance Cooksey who moves his record to 8 wins from 8 contests. Ellison more then played his part though and would be a welcome visitor to Wales again.The all-action Cooksey weighed 9st 11 for the contest and may well target a domestic title in the new year.
Another excellent amateur, Jake Anthony made an appearance on the card against Weston-Super-Mare hard man Liam Hunt. First observation was how relaxed Anthony looked as he advanced forward. Hunt always comes to fights and would have fancied his chances to upset his Welsh opponent, until he was caught with some ruthless body shots in round 2. An accurate right to the temple set things up and a hard shot to the stomach from Anthony bent Hunt over .The body assault continued from Anthony and its testament to the toughness of Hunt that he somehow managed to survive the round. The punishment continued in the next couple of rounds with Anthony almost exclusively targeting the body. There would have been little complaint if the fight was stopped at this stage as Anthony showed no mercy to his badly hurt opponent. Remarkably Hunt seemed to have recovered in round 5 as he regained a bit of movement in his legs. Anthony was clearly after the stoppage win though and turned his attention to Hunt’s head as another right hand had the Englishman on the brink of defeat. The pace slowed a little in the final round as Anthony was content to get the first 6 rounder under his belt with plenty in the tank left to spare. The 60-53 points verdict for Anthony takes him to 4-0 and its no secret that he could well face Geraint Goodridge next for the Welsh title, as a lively rivalry on social media has developed between both men.
Welsh boxing fans went home happy following the final professional show in this country until the new year. Highly impressive performances from all the fighters in the home corner with a special mention to Lance Cooksey and Jordan Ellison who participated in a classic.
Article by Michael Ward