Martin J Ward D10 Maxi Hughes – (10 x 3 – Super Featherweight British Title Eliminator)
It wasn’t just the gallant Prizefighter lightweights that York Hall was treated to this Saturday night in the hallowed ballroom in the heart of Bethnal Green. Essex based traveller and lightweight prospect Martin J Ward 10-0-1 (5KO’s) was thrust into his first bona fide test against the once beaten and very capable Yorkshireman Maxi Hughes 13-1-1 (2KO’s) a man with his own designs on progression.
On paper it looked a real good test at the right time for former amateur star who has become somewhat lost in the depth of the Matchroom stable of late. Theory did not do the reality justice as Hughes tested the house boxer to his limits, dropping him in the 2nd and 4th rounds on his way to claiming share of the spoils in a majority draw.
Ward opened the fight in good form, looking sharp and poised as he flittered in and out of range, displaying the hand speed and variety that has seen him catch the eye since turning pro. Conversely, Hughes was compact and economical awaiting his opportunity in a nip and tuck round that went to Ward.
Disaster struck in the 2nd, with Ward looking to be in control until the fighters exchanged in the centre of the ring middle way through the round. Hughes landed with the right hand that looked to drop the Essex man heavy forcing him to cling for dear life on rubbery legs until the bell sounded. Ward recovered well in the 3rd, utilising his movement to reclaim his composure without the necessary output to win the round.
Ward touched down again in the 4th, this time controversially as he claimed to have slipped when confronted with a three-punch salvo from Hughes. From ringside Hughes seemed to land with the left hand, whether or not it had the force to floor his opponent is irrelevant, the knockdown counted and the game plan was working perfectly. This continued in the 5th, despite Ward regaining his composure once more, Hughes was boxing lovely and a mile ahead by the 6th.
From the 6th round in the bout began to change and followed a similar pattern until its closure. Ward seemed revitalised as Hughes tired and settled down to his raiding tactics, which had been the plan from the outset. There was little purchase on the punches as the Matchroom prospect seemed content to nick the rounds, scoring points with his shots rather than sit down on them, given what had happened when the pair traded. This proved a sound tactic, as Ward claimed the remaining 5 rounds, on my card at least.
The fight closed with a final round that typified the contest, Ward sharp and quick on his feet having success with the jab, but looking vulnerable when in range with the solid looking Yorkshireman surprisingly assuming the role of the puncher. The scores read 95-94 Ward, 95-95. 94-94 (I had it 94-94) a majority draw verdict that moves Martin J Ward to 10-0-2 (5KO’s) and Maxi Hughes to 13-1-2 (2KO’s). You have to feel for Maxi Hughes who I would have shaded if pushed, in what was a terrific effort.
This was an excellent contest, which I would like to see again and I have a feeling we will very soon.
Ohara Davies KO1 Ozscar Fiko – (6 x 3 – Lightweight Contest)
Tony Sims prospect Ohara Davies moves to 4-0 (3KO’s) continuing the impressive opening to his career as he detonated a big right hand that stopped the overmatched Romanian Fiko in the first round. It’s difficult to gauge the young Londoner at this stage, but within Sims gym being exposed to sparring with Ricky Burns and Kevin Mitchell no less, he is certainly in the right place.
Ajose Olusegun PTS6 Ivan Levickis – (6 x 3 – Light Welterweight Contest)
It’s almost four years since Ajose Olusegun now 31-2 (14KO’s) fought on these shores in that time he was stopped by Lucas Matthysse in 10 for the WBC Light Welterweight Title. It was very much back to the drawing board for the Nigerian born who returned against the awkward Latvian Ivan Levickis under the tutelage of Spencer Oliver.
As Bradley Saunders found out 3 weeks previous, Olusegan found it difficult to find the chin of a man whose intentions are to survive and to his credit he does it well. The former world level fighter struggled to find the range early and when on top late, struggled to find the necessary pop to get rid of the journeyman, no shame there. I’m not sure where Olusegan goes from here, but I feel his best days are behind him enjoyable fight though.