Power - Napa British Title Fight Preview

01.11.05 - By Robin York: British Bantamweight Champion Martin "Too Much" Power makes the first defence of his crown against Hackney’s Ian Napa this Friday on a Maloney Promotions bill at the York Hall in the Bethnal Green area of London's East End. Power, born and based in London, will be looking to cement his place at the top of the British Bantamweight division with a convincing display against the former British, Commonwealth and WBU Flyweight challenger Napa..

Sky Sports will televise live in the UK.

The champion from Camden Town in North London captured the British title with a thrilling points victory over talented Dale Robinson at the Elephant and Castle Leisure Centre in May of this year.The fight was scored 116-113 by referee Paul Thomas, but could have gone either way and was not without controversy. During the bout, Robinson suffered a nasty gash from a head butt and the laceration bled constantly. The injury seemed to affect Robinson's game plan, as he was drawn into an inside battle, but later on the Huddersfield man was credited with a knockdown which should have been called a slip. So the luck of both men seemed to even out but it was Power’s work rate and intense determination that overcame the more precise attacks of Robinson.

Power, unbeaten in 17 starts, has been brought along perfectly so far by manager Frank Maloney. Before the Robinson title shot, Power had beaten experienced journeymen Dave Hinds, Anthony Hanna and Delroy Spencer as well as useful pros Stevie Quinn and Darren Cleary. Power's first serious test as a pro came against Rocky Dean who had a 7-3-2 record going in. But Power passed the test with flying colours, comfortably out pointing Dean 59-55 on the scorecard.

After a couple more routine victories, Power was matched with tough Frenchman Jean Marie Codet over eight rounds at the York Hall. Power collected an 80-74 points verdict from referee Billy Aird, but it didn’t tell the story of the fight. Codet fought with determination and provided Power with plenty of problems through out the contest. He caught the Englishman often with solid shots, and proved difficult to pin down behind his tight guard. But Power showed his class with his quick bursts of punches and effective body shots. It was just the type of experience the London man would need to have under his belt when stepping up to challenge Robinson.

Before his British title victory, Power won another excellent learning fight when out pointing late replacement Shinny Bayaar on the undercard of Ricky Hatton’s impressive victory over Ray Oliveira. Power was first scheduled to meet Noel Wilders in an all British showdown, but Wilders was unable to make weight. Then Ghanaian Joseph Agbeko disappeared a few days before the fight for no clear reason.So in stepped the tough Mongolian, Shinny Bayaar, who would take on Power over the ten round distance. Despite the obvious disappointment of a late change of opponent, Power kept a cool head to box sensibly and take a clear 99-93 decision from referee Keith Curtis. A photo gallery of the fight is featured on

So the champion has the determination and work-rate to go far in this business, but does he have the tools necessary to deal with a tricky, moving fighter like Ian Napa?

Big things were predicted of Napa when he turned pro. Despite a severe lack of punch power, the man known as "Dappa" has been able employ crafty skills to outpoint the likes of Delroy Spencer, Sean Green and Anthony Hannah. Former European Super-Bantamweight champion Esham Pickering described Napa as a ‘"little James Toney", which seems a perfect evaluation of the way Napa fights.

The Hackney man, two years older than his opponent at twenty seven, holds an impressive win over Nicky Booth, who went on to win both the British and Commonwealth Bantamweight titles, and a victory over Mark Reynolds, where Napa picked up the Southern Area Flyweight title.

In only his ninth professional outing Napa challenged Jason Booth for the British and Commonwealth Flyweight titles, but came up short and dropped a points decision. Booth had a record of 18-1 going in and his greater experience proved decisive against Napa, who’s chance at the titles seemed to come too soon.

Napa returned three months later to outbox Oleg Kiryukin over six rounds before challenging solid punching Peter Culshaw for the WBU Flyweight title. Culshaw, who can really bang, stopped the challenger in the eighth round to retain his belt, and Napa after the loss would not return to the ring for three years.

When he did comeback in May 2004, Napa faced another man returning to the ring, Danny Costello. After seemingly being out worked in the first round, Napa boxed smartly in rounds two, three and four to collect a 39-36 decision.

Napa continued to shake off the rust with wins over Steve Gethin and Alexey Volchan before taking on former Michael Hunter victim Marc Callaghan for the Southern Area Super-Bantamweight crown in June of this year. Napa, fighting above his most effective weight seemed to have done more than enough to win the title but Callaghan was named the winner with a 96-95 scorecard from referee Ian John Lewis.

Napa looked confident in the ring, picking his shots well and looking impressive with his short bursts and when Callaghan’s hands was raised he looked bemused by the decision along with many others. Despite that setback however, Napa has now got the chance to turn his career around against the improving champion Power. All the advantages seem to be with the champion as size, reach, work-rate and power all favour Martin Power, who starts as the favourite to retain.

Ian Napa will have to fight in quick bursts and target the body of Power, using his effective defensive techniques to avoid the champion’s attacks. But against a man bigger and stronger, that's a tough ask and while Napa will certainly be in the fight and prove a tricky opponent, you have to go with Power to make a successful first defence of his British title, possibly by late stoppage but more likely comfortably on points.

Article posted on 02.11.2005

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