By Peter Wells: It was meant to be all about local fighter Martin Gethin last night (Friday 21 September), but after his sponsors pulled out on Tuesday, Frank Warren came in to save the fight.
Thankfully it wasn’t all doom and gloom, Martin Gethin went on to win the title by stoppage in the 11 th round, and the 5 fights that took place at Walsall Town Hall gave the fans plenty to be excited about. Apart from an unfortunate injury and a slightly early stoppage, fans were given a great night of boxing and an interesting look at the future stars of Midlands boxing.
A first live fight experience is always great, and I was treated to a fine first fight when Dean Anderson and Harvey Hemsley kicked it all off in sublime fashion. Dudley’s Dean Anderson was the home favourite and with is Floyd Mayweather like body looked to have the more sting in his punches. Harvey kept coming, firing away to try and unsettle ‘Deano’ (4-1-1) going into the fight. Anderson’s quick and powerful one-twos came at the end of every exchange before the gutsy Harvey went back to work, focusing a lot of his punches to the body. Anderson showed his mettle in the ring, fighting fire with fire for four tough rounds. Anderson’s guard remained high throughout the contest to stop any of Harvey’s hard shots to the head causing any real damage. It was a hard fight to score but despite Harvey’s best efforts the harder and more accurate punches came from Dean Anderson, who was rightly given the decision by a score of 39-37, I had it 40-37 to Anderson. Harvey Hemsley drops to 0-2, but with more displays like that he won’t be waiting long for his first victory.
Next into the ring was Stafford born Grant Cunningham against his toughest opponent yet in Jamie Roness. The two Super Middleweights fought at much slower pace, but it was still a very intriguing contest. Cunningham seemed to do enough work to earn the first. Sadly the fight ended as Roness had picked up an injury to his shoulder forcing him to retire, giving Cunningham his 5 th win against no defeats. A very disappointed Jamie Roness drops to 5-4-1.
It was then up to Kyle Spencer to lift the crowd again, in his 3 rd fight against debutant Matt Vaughan. The tall Light Middleweight had a huge backing from the crowd, as a large group of supporters stood throughout the fight. Spencer had his opponent in trouble on many occasions throughout the fight, bringing cheers every time he sent Vaughan to the ropes. Vaughan to his credit fought hard, but could never really compete with the power that Spencer had from long range. Spencer seemed desperate for his first stoppage defeat, but never once lost focus, not allowing Vaughan a chance to land any solid shots. Still despite Spencer’s domination it was as entertaining as a one-sided fight can be. Spencer was given every round 40-36 and moves to 3-0, while Vaughan can feel pleased with his first performance.
In the final 4 rounder of the night, unbeaten Adam Corbett took on tough journeyman Jody Meikel. Corbett also had a very vocal support who cheered their man whenever he threw a punch back at his smaller opponent. Corbett was boxing well in the first, until a very wild swing of the right glove from Meikel had the West Bromwich man on wobbly legs. Meikel followed up with more thunderous shots but Corbett had his guard up well before recovering to end the round well. Still it was a big round for the underdog who took that confidence into the second. Corbett though hadn’t learned his lesson as once again he left his chin defenceless, once again paying with a big overhand right, two more big punches and the referee jumped in to a chorus of “boos”. The fight was indeed stopped slightly early but Meikel was looking sharp and it was already turning into a hard task for Corbett to win the fight. Meikel won only his 4 th fight, moving to 4-25 while a deflated Corbett dropped to 3-1.
Last up was a 6 rounder between Steve Pearce and Billy Smith. Pearce’s fans were by far the loudest, singing songs all through the contest. Pearce didn’t let them down fighting well on the front foot, sending his man to the ropes on several occasions every round. Smith a veteran of 137 fights knew all the tricks in the book, and used all the dirty tactics he could get away with on the inside. Pearce though never looked rattled touching his opponents glove every time the referee gave them a telling off. In the 5 th things started to look worrying as a punch from Smith was blocked by Pearce with his left glove, which left him grimacing and went on the back foot. Pearce couldn’t disguise his pain, switching to southpaw, but looking extremely awkward doing so. Pearce may have lost the 5 th but managed to fight through the pain in the 6 th and final round. Pearce was given the verdict by a score of 60-56, while I had it 59-55 to Pearce. Billy Smith drops to 13-122-2, while Pearce moves to 5-0.
It was indeed a grand night of boxing for Walsall, a great night’s entertainment before the news that Walsall’s very own Martin Gethin had won the IBF International title. Hopefully it won’t be too long until Walsall Town Hall hosts its next boxing event.