By Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro
On Saturday night , at York Hall in Bethnal Green, was the first of two events to celebrate Steve Goodwin’s first year as a boxing promoter. Over the past year Steve has promoted some of the biggest and best events in the Capital for a long, long while.
It was his intention to put on two massive shows in March but fate stepped in to decimate the card for his first.
In the run up to the show Steve had fighters dropping out like flies, some due to injury others down to an inability to shift the required level of tickets whilst others suffered due to the lack of opponents - various opponents had to withdraw due to being stopped in their fights the previous weekend. To add insult to injury there were so many shows on this weekend that available opponents were rarer than hens teeth.
At the start of play instead of the anticipated fourteen bouts there were just seven. Saying that they were seven highly entertaining all action bouts.
Whilst the Toks Owoh - against a very late replacement Remigijus Ziausys, who took the fight with 24 hours notice and see him arrive in England on Saturday morning - was the headline bout I have decided to report the excellent, albeit shortened, event from show opener to final bout in that order as virtually every fight was worthy of headline status.
Phil Gill versus Jason Nesbitt
One thing you can guarantee when Phil Gill is in the ring it will be an all action affair. Sure enough that’s what the York Hall crowd were to get. Gill went to work hard and fast right from the opening bell, letting rip with both hands throughout the first round. His excellent ring craft barely allowed Nesbitt get any meaningful shots of his own in.
Gill didn’t quite get to dominate the second round quite to the level of the first as Nesbitt managed to find his range and let go with a couple of cracking right hands to the body. Gill didn’t drop the pace and just responded with even more fast powerful left and rights.
Round three was more even with both protagonists letting rip with shot after shot in quick succession, in fact this round could have gone to either way as both came so close to stopping the other at one point.
In the first minute Gill let rip with a cracking left-right body head combination but was unable to finish off the clearly shaken Nesbitt. From then on it was a punch trading war until the final seconds when Nesbitt turned the tables with a hard right to the body that really rattled Gill, Nesbitt turned the tables and started to let rip with both hands until the final bell.
The final round was much as before, with both pushing hard. Throughout the contest Gill had not only thrown more shots but also landed the most meaningful ones and was rightly pronounced victor by a 39-37 points margin.
Wayne Alwan-Arab versus Danny Dontchev
Danny Dontchev’s a great ambassador for the sport, doesn’t win that many bouts but always comes to fight. On Saturday night he lost again, this time to the unbeaten in twelve Wayne Alwan-Arab, albeit rather contentiously in my view as I felt he had earned a draw at very least if not the win.
Alwan-Arab dominate a good percentage of the first round but Dontchev gave more than just a good account of himself, especially in the final minute of the round where he pressured Alwan-Arab back onto the ropes and let rip with flurry after flurry of punches.
Alwan-Arab shot out the trap at the start of the second and started to really pressure Dontchev. It was far from one way traffic though as Dontchev dug in and really tested the young Hackney based Zimbabwean throughout. I see the round a draw
Round three see Dontchev starting like a rocket and step up the pressure on Alwan-Arab. Throughout the round Dontchev kept pressing as well as landing some cracking right hands. It was a very good round for Dontchev.
Round four was more of the same and a surefire upset win for Dontchev looked on the cards, that is until about midway through the round when Dontchev slipped as he closed in on a fast retreating Alwan-Arab. Surprisingly the referee continued the count started by the timekeeper even though it was a clear slip. The crowd showed their disapproval of the count and Dontchev protested but to no avail. Dontchev stepped up the pressure but time wasn’t on his side.
When the referee’s scorecard was read out - a shutout 40-35 points victory for Alwan-Arab - the crowd again showed their disapproval.
Eder Kurti versus Jodie Meikle
Woolwich based Albanian Super Middleweight Eder Kurti received a rapturous welcome as he made his way to the ring to face Scunthorpe’s Jody Meikle. The cheers barely subsided the whole bout as Kurti gave a magnificent display of boxing.
From start to finish Kurti pressured Meikle, letting rip with heavy lefts and rights to body and head. As early as round two Meikle was already bearing the scars of battle, with blood pouring from a nasty cut to the bridge of the nose.
Round three see Kurti set about Meikle with heavy rights to the head and body. Somehow Miekle managed to survive the constant onslaught, but at a cost as the cut on his nose had visibly worsened, so much so that the referee took a long hard look before allowing Miekle to come out for the fourth.
Kurti was magnificent throughout the final round to earn a 40-37 points victory.
Toks Owoh versus Remigijus Ziausys
Toks Owoh put on a beautiful, controlled display from start to finish. He barely seemed to break a sweat throughout and used his stinging jab to keep the forward pushing late replacement Remigijus Ziausys at bay.
Owoh kept the pace comfortable and appeared to be looking to get the rounds under his belt rather than go for an early finish. Saying that on a couple of occasions Owoh shaped up and looked set to shift out of cruise control and go for a knockout finish, alas it was only momentary as he would quickly revert to using the jab and occasional heavy right.
Whilst it wasn’t the sort of ‘dog fight’ performance long time fans of Owoh are used to, it was a very tidy and totally dominating one. As I had said there were flashes of ‘The Viper’ of old and am sure that should an opponent of right calibre be available in the future the warlord in Owoh will come to the fore and fans will be treated once again to the battle royales we have come to expect from him.
Dan Woodgate versus Jamie Norkett
It’s hard to believe that Minster, Kent’s Dan ‘Woody’ Woodgate has had only two professional bouts, his performance on Saturday night was more in keeping with a seasoned championship campaigner.
Classy and slick are words that come to mind to describe Woodgate’s performance against Newark’s Jamie Norkett. From start to finish Woodgate dominated proceedings and in the later rounds looked as if he could have finished the fight at will, having rocked the durable Norkett on various occasions.
Don’t go thinking Norkett hadn’t come to fight, he had, just Woodgate was in a class of his own and rightly deserved the 40-37 point victory.
Jamie Boness versus Louis Byrne
Bigglewade’s Jamie Boness had his hands full with Guildford’s Louis Byrne. Throughout the bout the pair went at it hammer and tongs. Rounds one and two I see in favour of Boness just because he landed the more meaningful punches.
Round three was a much closer affair, with each controlling the action at times. Round four was a cracker and see both going all out for an early finish. In the end it was Boness that had secured the win by a very close 39-38 points margin.
Met Sekiraqi versus Floyd Moore
The final fight of the night saw the much hyped debut of Harlesden based Kosovon Met Sekiraqi, against Fareham’s Floyd Moore. The reception Sekiraqi received from the three hundred plus Kosovons in the audience was so loud you would have thought there were three thousand of them.
To describe the first round as a war is another understatement, Sekiraqi seemed intent to behead Moore with massive haymakers. Moore on the other hand did really well to avoid decapitation and put in some excellent, and far more controlled, attacks of his own between having to defend against the banshie attacks. Late in the round Moore rocked Sekiraqi with a peach of a right but was unable to capitalise before the bell rang
Even before round two started it was clear this fight wouldn’t go the distance and sure enough after about fourty seconds down goes Sekiraqi after Moore landed a simply divine right to the head of the attacking Kosovon.
Sekiraqi made the count, just, and was allowed to continue. Less than a minute later he was back down on the canvas for a second time, following yet another a cracking right from Moore.
Again Sekiraqi made the count but this time the referee had seen enough and waved the fight off after one minute and fourty nine seconds of the second round, much to the annoyance of the Kosovon fans.
All in all it was an excellent event with exciting well matched bouts, now the Goodwin Juggernaut moves on to Gorsebrook Leisure Centre in Dagenham, Essex where part two of his anniversary celebration takes part on March 19th with the quadruple headlined ‘Essex Eruption’ event featuring Leon ‘Solid’ Williams, Yassine El Maachi, ‘Phat’ Pat McAleese, Tony Conquest, Ricky Boylan, ‘Saint’ George Jupp, Michael Grant, Michael Devine, Daniel Herdman, Michael Norgrove, Richard Hines, Kris Agyei-Dua and Danny Brown against quality opponents.