It would seem that finally, the landscape has changed for the better and the fans are to be treated to consistent, meaningful fights at not just World level, but European and domestic level also. With fights such as, Bellew v Cleverly 2, Fury v Chisora, Saunders v Eubank, alongside muted bouts featuring Kell Brook v Amir Khan and Carl Froch v James DeGale, the British public are salivating, with I’m sure the boxing world at large closely behind, reaching for their handkerchiefs.
What I love about this attitude the most is that it is contagious, and we are already beginning to see the trickledown benefits throughout all levels. One such fight, which my have slipped under the radar slightly, was the Commonwealth Light Welterweight Title fight between Tyrone Nurse 29-1 (5KO’s) and Dave Ryan 15-8 (3KO’s), which I had the pleasure of witnessing first hand in Leeds on Saturday night.
It promised to be an interesting encounter, between two fighters who have travelled very different roads on their journey to this point (Nurse, 7 fights unbeaten and Ryan holding a win over former World Title challenger Paul McCloskey in his last bout). A real crossroads fight, between two men on good form and in high spirits, both there to win. Exactly the fight a fan, such as myself wants to see.
Neither man disappointed in what was a fine contest.
Both men would start the bout in confident mood, but it was Ryan who had the better of the opening exchanges, dropping Nurse twice in as many rounds, when timing his left jab, a punch which worked for him all night, perfectly as Nurse came in. The latter knockdown, left Nurse hanging on briefly as Ryan piled on the pressure.
Ryan looked strong and purposeful, but it was Nurse who rallied in rounds 3 and 4, boxing beautifully, landing some eye catching punches with the right uppercut being the pick of the bunch. Ryan was not discouraged, but clearly marked up to the left eye and bloodied around the nose.
The fight continued in a similar vein throughout the middle rounds, both men displaying incredible work rate and will to succeed that it was difficult to score any round with any certainty. Every combination or period of success, answered in kind, with authority and desire, which saw the pendulum swing, minute by minute.
By round 9, Ryan’s eye was almost completely closed, showing painful bruising. But, it didn’t stop him hurting Nurse with a solid right hand, followed by a hard left hook, forcing Nurse back to the ropes and unleashing a massive salvo, albeit lacking in any real accuracy, to take the round in his favour.
Nurse showed tremendous courage, clearly down on all cards to respond with heart and more importantly class, utilising his superior movement in round 10 to land the cleaner punches and claim the round. The searing pace proceeded in to the 11th, with no sign of abating as the trend continued, the flashier combination punching coming from Nurse, with Ryan gaining his respect once more with yet another superbly timed left jab.
Both men closed the show, in a display worthy of the championship they contested. It was Nurse who finished the stronger however, unleashing a huge right hand, which would dip Ryan’s knees, with 30 seconds remaining. It would prove to be too little, too late as Dave ‘Rocky’ Ryan, now 16-8 (3KO’s) was announced as the new Commonwealth Light Welterweight Champion, by majority decision.
The final scorecards read, Howard Foster 113-113 | Ian John-Lewis 113-114 | Victor Laughlin 113-114, with the early knockdowns proving just a little too much for Tyrone Nurse, now 29-3 (5KO’s), to overcome.
This was a tremendous fight at its level and one that I would pay to see again, because it was competitive. There were no losers on the night, least of the all the fans. Tyrone Nurse will come back a stronger fighter from the experience, I have no doubt about that and Dave Ryan has his day in the sun that this performance alone deserved.
Keep them coming.