Alio Undercard Round-up: ‘Midnight Train’ Chanturia records first round win

Brendan Galbraith - Gary Hyde’s new heavyweight signing, Vladimir ‘Midnight Train’ (12-1) exercised his lengthy spell of inactivity to make his first professional outing in Belfast with an easy first round TKO over Hungarian Sandor Forgacs.

Chanturia’s last outing was in a controversial loss to Vladimir Lazebnik in November 2008. Chanaturia’s manager, Gary Hyde conceded before the fight that Chanturia still needs to more time to improve his conditioning and this was indeed the case as the his charge weighed in 10 Ilbs heavier than his last outing..

Unfortunately, Chanturia’s original opponent, Tomasz Zeprzalka – who surprisingly extended Cuban prospect – Mike Perez the full distance, pulled out of the fight at the last minute. Hyde, who had already paid airfares for Zeprzalka had to move quick to secure another opponent as Zeprzalka did not have the necessary medical reports prepared in time.

Once, MC for the evening, the irrepressible, Harry McGavock, introduced both fighters, the referee issued his instructions and the crowd looked on expectantly to get their first glimpse of Chanturia.

Hungarian Forgacs was clearly the smaller man in the ring, giving away height and weight advantages and when the action commenced he was also out of his depth. Chanturia immediately pressured his foe, advancing with telling body shots. Midway through the round Chanturia connected with a glancing right uppercut and followed up with heavy blows downstairs. Forgacs went down on one knee and was slow to get up, prompting the referee, Paul McCullough to wave off the fight in the first round.

At a first glance it looked like a preliminary stoppage, exacerbated by Forgacs holding out his arms as if to complain about the stoppage – which only served to signal to the crowd that he could have continued. In fact, the referee asked Forgacs if he wanted to continue and Forgacs declined – leaving the referee no option but to wave off the fight.

Chanturia improves to 13-1 and manager Hyde hopes to step up the big Georgian’s conditioning work and get him back in the ring again next month, in a card in England or Ireland.

Middlweights Rick Boulter and Phil Townley produced an entertaining and open four rounder that started off with both men trading heavy head shots in the opening round, which I scored even. As the fight developed, Townley appeared to be more flat footed than Lincoln’s Boulter, who started to box more cleverly. Townley, was slow to come into the pocket and unload his heavy shots, whereas Boulter was slick enough to anticipate this by taking a backward step each time Townley advanced to counter well with the right hand. The second round was close, but I had Boulter edging it with the cleaner scoring shots. In the third and final round I felt Boulter had the measure of Townley and was good value for both rounds. On my scorecard Boulter was a decisive winner by three rounds. However, the referee raised Boulter’s hand at the end of the bout, to the dismay of Boulter and his trainer Carl Greaves who, protested with referee, Paul McCullough.

Featherweight, Paddy McGarrity made his pro debut against Wiltshire’s Dan Carr. In a scrappy affair that was ruined by Carr’s consistent holding, for which he was very fortunate not to get deducted a point, McGarrity prevailed to score a wide 40-36 win.

In a lively and evenly matched flyweight contest debutant Paul Kayes produced an excellent boxing performance to outpoint Frenchman Norredine Dahou. In the first session Kayes used excellent footwork to dart in and out of range to land good scoring shots and mixed this with excellent work behind his rangy jab. Dahou’s trainer, former WBC Super Bantamweight Champion, Thierry Jacob, was getting more animated as the round progressed and sent his fighter out as the aggressor in the second round which was more competitive. In the final two sessions Dahou found it difficult to find Kayes with his shots and the Downpatrick ran out a comfortable winner, 39-39 on referee, Paul McCullough’s scorecard.

In the show opener, light heavyweight Brian Cusack made his pro debut against Doncaster journeyman, James Tucker. Immaculata man, Cusack started off as the aggressor and worked well off the jab scoring heavy body combos. In the second round, Cusack continued the pattern - implored by trainer Paul McCullough to ‘double jab, right hand – left hook’ and clearly took the second round as well. However, Cusack did pick up a slight cut above his left eye – caused by a head clash. The third was a closer round as Tucker had more success countering Cusack, particularly in the first half of the third. The final session saw Cusack crowd his work, Tucker continually leaned into Cusack and the Belfast man would have won the last session even more clearly if he had taken a step back or to the side to unload his heavy hands. Referee Paul McCullough raised Cusack’s hand at the final bell. Brian Cusack makes a winning pro debut with a 39-37 win.

Overall, the Team Alio show at the Holiday Inn, Belfast was an excellent night’s boxing and the packed house were treated to four winning debuts from local talent including Ryan Green, Paul Keyes, Paddy McGarrity and Brian Cusack. Alan and Jane Wilton should be applauded for putting on yet another excellent show and handing pro debuts to four up and coming local prospects. Moreover, putting together small hall shows without the cushion of television money is going to be a burden to any promoter – so it was fantastic to see a full house at the Holiday Inn. Headliner, Luke Wilton looks set to compete for a title in his next fight and once Olympic Medallist, Vladimir Chanturia, gets into top condition, his manager, Gary Hyde will be putting his fighter in the mix for titles.

Sponsors of the Team Alio Promotion were Quinns Printers, Wilson Street, Belfast.

Article posted on 10.05.2010

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