By Shaun Brown
In tonight’s main event at a sweltering York Hall, Mitchell Smith 9-0 (4 KOs) won the vacant English super featherweight title by outpointing the 9-1 Peter Cope with a unanimous decision win after scores of 99-90, 100-89 and 100-90 in this ten round contest.
With both men putting their unbeaten records on the line it was Smith who always looked the more dangerous and nastier of the two. The ‘Baby Faced Assassin’ was intent on hurting his opponent were as Cope often appeared to be caught in two minds as to what to do in the early stages.
As so often is the case when an orthodox fighter (Smith) meets a southpaw (Cope) there was the usual collection of untidy clinches. This added to Cope’s frustrations as he dropped the opening five rounds on my scorecard as the stronger and more varied Smith would often look to counter, push back or land a second vicious punch even if the first would miss wildly.
Ironically, Cope had his best round in the sixth despite suffering a delayed reaction knockdown to a left hand from Smith. Beforehand, Cope had landed three good straight lefts and managed to force back the aggressive tactics of Smith and looked to be winning the session before taking an eight count. To his credit, Cope went straight on the front foot and shook off the setback quickly.
Smith never looked to be in any danger. And confidence, something he isn’t exactly short of anyway, exuded from start to finish and he felt relaxed enough to let his hands drop by inviting Cope into traps, something that the 23 year old was wary of during the fight.
Despite many thinking Smith’s much talked about power would be too much, the 21 year old prospect had to take a huge uppercut from Cope in the ninth before landing a long right hand of his own. The heart and commitment from Cope was there to see right to the very end and despite the knockdown in the sixth he never looked troubled by the heavier hands of Smith.
Smith told ‘Scene last week that he may be venturing to featherweight or even lightweight in the future and the hot prospect showed a wide variety of work in his first title win to suggest that the future indeed is bright. Leading off with some unorthodox shots, countering cutely and dealing with a southpaw reasonably comfortably for the first time in the professional ranks saw Smith display many things that pleased not only himself but his promoter, Frank Warren.
“In 9-12 months he’ll fight for the British title,” Warren told Boxnation’s Steve Bunce. “He was loading up at times but when he starts picking his shots better he’s going to be some fighter. Down the road he’s going to get on to bigger and better things.”
“I trained hard for the ten rounds,” said Smith. “I had a lot of respect for Peter Cope. He’s tough, I caught with some heavy shots. After a bit I thought ‘You know what I’m just going to get the 12 rounds’. You never know in 12 months time I could have the British title.”
Frank Buglioni exorcised the demons of his only professional loss to Sergey Khomitsky in April by winning the Southern Area super middleweight title with a fourth round stoppage against Sam Couzens.
Buglioni, who now moves to 13-1 (10 KOs) seemed intent on getting that first defeat out of his system by punching his way through his opponent after landing a left hook to the body in the opening round which forced Couzens to take an eight-count.
However, Couzens fought fire with fire throughout the duration of the contest and exposed some of the vulnerabilities that Buglioni showed in the loss to Khomitsky by landing eye catching right hands which were often backed up with meaty combinations of his own. A heavier puncher may have got the ‘Wise Guy’ out of there with the shots he landed.
The second and the third round could have been scored for Couzens and the Titchfield fighter never took a backward step until Buglioni forced him back across the ring in the fourth with a right, left combination which pushed Couzens on to the ropes before referee, Bob Williams, waved it off after a flurry of unanswered shots.
Trainer, Mark Tibbs, had read the riot act to his charge at the end of the third round by bellowing “I’m embarrassed!” to Buglioni. The 168lb heavy handed prospect said afterwards “We’ve achieved new standards in the gym and we want to show that.”
Speaking of his performance, he said “We knew the body would be his (Couzens) undoing. It’s a step on the right track and I was glad to be back in there.”
Promoter, Frank Warren, told Boxnation that the popular 25 year old would be back out in September and in December. “He’s back in the saddle now,” said Warren.
Boxing fans at York Hall tonight were treated to a brief Romeo & Juliet recital before the colourful and extrovert Romeo Romaeo made his Boxnation debut.
18 year old Romaeo spent “too much time messing around” early on according to summariser, Barry Jones, who despite looking in reasonable control against Simas Volosinas 4-18 had to deal with a short overhand right which connected well from the Lithuanian in the second round.
Volosinas wasn’t in there to make up the numbers against the 4-0 (1 KO) Romaeo and continued to have success in the fourth but it was never enough to really win a round against the Bristol fighter based in Wales, who unsurprisingly cites Naseem Hamed as his hero.
After some Shakespeare, an awkward back flip into the ring, a cut and a warning from referee Jeff Hinds for using the back of his hand it was all rather style without substance for Romaeo. Glimpses of talent, glimpses of vulnerability but a good six rounds under his belt. But all talk, mainly from the teenager, about a fight with the more advanced and dangerous Mitchell Smith need to be stopped after tonight. He polarises opinion and the fans boos afterwards was all the evidence you need of that.
Afterwards Romaeo said “You either love me or you hate me but does it look like I’m worried? I wanted to go out and stop him but you can’t stop them all.”
Tom Baker looked every inch a super middleweight and said he was getting “stronger and stronger” after a huge uppercut ended any hope from the resilient Mark Till in the final round of their six round contest earlier tonight.
Baker, who moves to 10-0 (2 KOs), had to deal with a 2-9 Till who threw everything he had at his disposal before that devastating shot landed and was followed up by a flurry of shots that forced referee, Jeff Hinds, to wave it off thirty seconds into the final round.
Welterweight Bradley Skeete 17-0 (6 KOs) carried on his spitefulness from his stoppage win over Giuseppe Loriga, back in April, by stopping the 8-3 Steven Pearce in an eight round contest tonight
Skeete, who admitted afterwards that he’s a level below current British champion, Frankie Gavin had to deal with some accurate right hands from Pearce who looked keen to derail the 26 year olds future title ambitions.
With a mix of single shots and tidy work on the back foot to counter Pearce, a nicely timed uppercut sent Pearce sprawling before landing a right hand to prove beyond any doubt that the contest was over in the third round.
Much tougher tests lie ahead for Skeete, and if Gavin beats Leonard Bundu on Aug 1 for the European 147lb title then he can look forward to a probably shot at a vacant British title sometime in the autumn.
On his professional debut, former amateur starlet Kirk Garvey had to come through a tricky four round contest to take a 40-36 pts win over the forever swinging Vaidas Balciauskas.
Garvey, a 6ft 3ins light heavyweight had trouble dealing with the Lithuanian’s come forward approach combined with a mix of hit and hope. And the 24 year old got a helping hand from referee Gino Piccinino when the Londoner was clearly knocked down from a right hand in the second round. At times, unconvincing and nervous, Garvey managed to do enough to gain a win and will just be thankful that his first day at the office is over with.
Gary Corcoran will now turn his attentions to light middleweight after bulldozing his way past the overmatched Chris Jenkinson in three rounds tonight.
Former welterweight Corcoran, nicknamed ‘Hellraiser’ made a blistering start to the eight round contest to get his fifth win inside the distance after ten unbeaten contests. The 23 year old told Boxnation’s Steve Bunce afterwards that he felt much better and stronger at 154lbs and hopes to land some sort of title opportunity before the end of the year.
Louis Adolphe got his light middleweight professional career underway with a PTS 4 (40-36) win over Arvydas Trizno 18-34-2 (2 KOs) in front of the Boxnation cameras earlier tonight at London’s York Hall.
Adolphe, 22, looked the part in flashes with terrific hand speed and flashy combinations but did spend a lot of time joking around which his Lithuanian opponent seemed happy to take part in at times. Adolphe, a former ABA title holder, was a few levels and gears above Trizno and can feel a degree of satisfaction in getting his maiden win and getting four rounds under his belt at the same time.
In an untelevised bout, light welterweight Billy Morgan lost his second contest in a row when he lost to Michael Mooney over six rounds. Morgan now moves to 9-2 while Mooney improves to 6-12 (2 KOs)
Shaun Brown is the UK Editor at Boxing Scene and a contributor to Boxing Monthly. He can be contacted at [email protected] with any news, views or stories you may have.