Burton bounces back+undercard report

09.06.04 - By Ben Carey: A crunching right cross from Barnsley’s Rob Burton dropped Leeds’ Lee Murtagh for the count at 2.30 of round 3 in the main event of this Koncrete Promotions show staged in the lush surroundings of Sheffield’s English Institute of Sport on Tuesday night.

In doing so Burton became a two-time Central Area champion, this time at light-middleweight, after surrendering this same title at welterweight following a lacklustre ten-round points reverse to Matthew Hatton only a month ago. This was a career saving win for an ecstatic Burton who can now look forward to some decent paydays, either in defence of this crown or a possible tilt at the English title.

Murtagh will be bitterly disappointed to have a thrown away a fight he was winning at a canter. In a battle of the southpaws, Murtagh’s lateral movement and stinging one-twos from behind the jab were cannoning off Burton’s head at will in the early going. A clash of heads in the opener left Murtagh with a gash to his forehead but not even that could interrupt the Leeds fighter’s smooth rhythm. Scoring well to head and body, Murtagh closed the first with an eyecatching 3-punch combination as Burton looked ponderous in comparison.

Burton did his best to slip Murtagh’s snappy jab in round 2 but paid the price for crouching low when nailed by an uppercut through the middle. The Barnsley brawler was clearly after a phone-booth style rumble, but with Murtagh unwilling to oblige him the pattern for this vacant title clash appeared set. The only discomfort Murtagh had experienced up till now was when his stool collapsed after he sit down at the end of the second.

Burton was being outboxed but continued to persevere. A straight left whistled by Murtagh’s chin who was proving to be a little too light on his feet. Murtagh, growing in confidence, was starting to mix it up well much to the delight of his corner who felt Lee had this fight in the bag. Wrong. Having handed Burton a boxing lesson thus far Murtagh was suddenly nailed by a cuffing right cross to the temple that collapsed him to the canvas towards the end of round 3. The finishing blow had effectively come out of nowhere. Sagged against the ropes, his face etched in pain, a dazed Murtagh never looked likely to beat Howard Foster’s count to give Burton a stunning victory. Burton improves to 10-7-2 whilst Murtagh drops to 17-8-1.

Undercard review

Sheffield ticket-seller Dean Walker got his career back on track after being stopped by Matthew Macklin inside a round with a workmanlike points victory over Nottingham based Russian Andrey Ivanov. Walker, with a facial resemblance to former super-middleweight prospect Dean Francis, swooped every round on Phil Edwards’ scorecard in this six-twos middleweight match-up.

Walker was too busy for his pensive opponent and experienced much success with his favoured left hook throughout the contest. The upright Russian’s laboured jab was an invitation for the Sheffield man to fire quick rights over the top and twice he timed this punch to perfection in round 4. Ivanov tried his best to take the fight to the local favourite in the last but was increasingly being picked off by chopping lefts and rights in addition to being clipped with an uppercut that bypassed his guard. Walker was originally to challenge for the Central Area title on this bill but an interruption in training caused him to withdraw from the main event. But not wanting to let his fans down, Dean declared himself able enough to box on the undercard. He is now 11-2-1 and would make for an entertaining dance partner for newly crowned champion Rob Burton.

Cruiserweight beanpole Neil Dawson upped his record to 6-0 and recorded the first stoppage victory of his professional career with a 3rd round win over journeyman Gregg Scott-Briggs in an all-action affair. Briggs (14st 8lbs) looked to make his 11lb weight advantage count in the opener and connected with several flush hooks as he bullied Dawson to the ropes and worked well inside. Dawson, refusing to be intimidated, fired back with straight rights but left himself wide open. Briggs took the opener on my card and a shocking upset looked possible.

Responding to the advice of trainer Chris Aston, Dawson utilised his superior height and reach advantages to keep Scott-Briggs at distance with the jab in round 2. The battle hardened Chesterfield war horse was breathing heavily now and walked into a perfectly timed left hook from Dawson which deposited him through the ropes and out of the ring. Scott-Briggs frantically attempted to untangle his feet from the ropes and made it to his feet, “Carry-On” film style, at the count of 8. Had this six-twos clash been scheduled for 3 minutes Dawson may have completed the job there and then.

The minute’s rest appeared to have momentarily recharged Briggs’ batteries. A clattering right hand and left hook caught Dawson bang on the chin who must address his defensive frailties if he is to step up in class. The Rotherham youngster was once again pinned against the turnbuckle but this time had the smartness to slip out of the way. With the action back in the centre of the ring this was Dawson’s fight as Scott-Briggs had punched himself to standstill. Demonstrating an impressive predatory instinct, Dawson connected with two left hooks, the second of which felled a gasping Scott-Briggs who sat unsteadily on the bottom rope. Despite beating the count, referee Howard Foster signalled the end of the contest at the 1.44 mark of round 3. Greg vehemently protested but looked spent after a gutsy opening. Dawson caught the eye in parts but has to improve his defence.

Dave Coldwell’s 19-year-old prospect Amir Ali delivered the most mature performance of his fledgling pro career with a dominating six-twos points win over Nottingham veteran Nigel Senior. Ali was just 9 months old when the 41-year-old Senior made his professional debut!

The sharp shooting Ali looks to have all the moves but has been content to box conservatively behind a pawing jab in his previous two contests against Jason Nesbitt and Peter Buckley. Those in attendance last night witnessed a significant improvement. Slashing left hooks and purposeful jabs, thrown with speed and authority, bamboozled Senior who marched forward behind a high guard. Showing increasing maturity, Ali looked for the openings and duly found them with some well placed digs to Senior’s mid section who for a 41-year-old keeps himself in excellent shape.

Senior continued to be picked off but stuck to his task, appearing more irritated than discouraged. A glancing right was a rare success for the veteran in the 5th. After a lightening start Ali had taken his foot of the pedal slightly but reserved his best for the final round. Turning his man brilliantly on the ropes the youngster let fly with right and left hooks displaying a killer instinct that will serve him well as he rises through the ranks. The Sheffield prospect had varied his attacks to head and body all night and looked a man in the ring after being tentative in his previous contests. He effortlessly romped to a 60-54 points win. Dave Coldwell is quietly optimistic about his charge and has good reason to be on the basis of this outing.

Sheffield cruiserweight Simon Francis advanced to 2-0 with a repeat win over Blackburn’s Gary Thompson, the latter retiring at the end of round 2 after sustaining a cut to his right eye. Francis had outpointed Thompson on his pro debut 4 weeks ago in Barnsley with promoter Coldwell insisting afterwards that he was capable of better. With original opponent Michael Pinnock pulling out Francis had the perfect opportunity to support his team’s claims and didn’t let them down.

Displaying good agility, Francis easily side-stepped Thompson’s lunges and scored with some piercing jabs in the opener. The Lancashire trier attempted to take the fight to Francis in the 2nd but was countered by a nice left hook as Simon sported a composed look about him. The accuracy of his blows were there for all to see when Thompson dabbed a way at a nasty looking horizontal cut just underneath his right eyebrow. Gary shot a concerned glance over at referee Phil Edwards but the referee was content to let the action flow. Anxious to avoid more of the same however, Thompson’s corner called Edwards over between rounds and the contest was waved over. It appeared that Thompson could have continued but wanted no further part of Francis.

2002 novice ABA champion Tyrone McInerny disappointed on his debut and had to make do with a 57-57 draw against Bristol based Maurition Judex Meemea. Reddened around his neck and shoulders and looking fleshy at 10st 11lbs, it would appear that McInerny has been training on the beach instead of in the gym. He seemed unprepared for the gutsy challenge of Meemea who was taking part in his second contest.

McInerny’s better accuracy, particularly with the left hook, was enough for him to shade the opener as Meemea, who boxes in a jerky an awkward style, took the fight to him. There is a distinct lack of finesse about Judex but what he lacks in skill he makes up for in determination. As McInerny was content to have a look in round 2, Meemea was the one who was prepared to work inside.

A right-left, followed by a right to the body was more like it from Tyrone in the third who briefly turned southpaw. A left hand appeared to dip the knees of Meemea but the man from Mauritius has a good appetite for a toe-to-toe battle. McInerny seemed frustrated that his opponent hadn’t arrived to make up the numbers and tried to step it up in the fourth. Both boxers wailed away with left hooks, most sailed off target, but Meemea was the one who showed the greater desire to work following the exchange.

A right uppercut jolted Meemea on the ropes in the 5th but for the main McInerny was stalking his man without cutting the ring off. I had the Huddersfield debutant in a slender 1 point lead going into the last, but with his stamina deserting him he allowed Meemea to grab a deserved draw thanks to a superb final round effort. McInerny grimaced after taking in a big gulp of air as Meemea steamed forward connecting with right and left hooks as McInerny backed up with his arms down by his side. Judex deserved something out his fight and duly received his reward when Howard Foster held both boxers arm aloft at the finish.

If McInerny thought he could get by on natural talent alone he was given a rude awakening last night. The good-value Meemea drew his second successive contest. A return between these two would be most interesting.

Article posted on 09.06.2004

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