London’s Marianne Marston was mightily unlucky not to secure the World Boxing Union European Featherweight title on Saturday, losing by a close split points decision to Czech Republic’s Hana Horakova.
Marston got off to a good solid start, easily securing the first three rounds with quality jabs and stinging body shots, the fourth was a tad closer, Marston getting the nod in my eyes due to the quality of her work.
Early in the fifth Marston bore a pained expression and her movement became increasingly erratic, noticing that her opponent had a problem Horakova shifted up a gear and started pressuring the Londoner.
Marston put on a brave face and came right back in the sixth, doing just enough quality work to secure the round, even though the injury seemed to escalate in the seventh Marston more than held her own.
Going into the final round it was certainly close, Horakova shifted up another gear, throwing big rights at every opportunity, with just seconds to go the Czech girl landed a peach of a shot, rocking Marston, Horakova then threw everything she had at the off balance Londoner, but somehow Marston managed to stay on her feet until the final bell.
The fight was a cracker, a real close fought match, so no one was that surprised when it was announced that there was a split decision result, that came later as it was Horakova that had two judges score the bout in her favour and Marston just the one.
In a post fight interview with Sky Sports, Marston expressed her disappointment, that the injury, which had first surfaced during the final sparring session with Ian Napa just ten days earlier, had reemerged.
Main support, for the excellent Marston–Horakova title fight, see Tottenham’s Mark Prince in scintillating form, stopping Oleg Lopajeus in just two minutes and twenty seconds.
With two sensational early stoppage wins under his belt, since his return to the fray last year, surely it’s just a matter of time before the former WBO and IBF Inter-Continental Light Heavyweight Champion is back in Championship action.
Talking about returning stars, Canning Town’s George ‘Hit hard’ Hillyard was back in pro action after a four year absence.
Early on Hillyard’s pedigree shone brightly, easily dominating Kirill Psonko, as the rounds went on Hillyard backed off a little, happily countering the Lithuanian, then with just seconds to go in the final round the unbelievable happened, Psonko lands a peach of a right which sent Hillyard to the canvas, Hillyard made the count but in an instant Psonko threw a barrage of punches at the still dazed Londoner, leaving referee Ken Curtis no option but to stop the bout.
After the fight Hillyard made it clear he wants a rematch with Psonko as soon as possible, the word is that this will take place on May 31st.
Former Turkish amateur star Onder Ozgul made his welcome debut, some six months or so after his younger sibling Siar.
Right from start to finish Ozgul dominated the fight against Dmitrij Kalinovskij, working on the inside Ozgul tore into the Lithuanian with heavy lefts and rights. Kudos to Kalinovskij that he made it to the final bell, not many would survive the vicious exocets thrown by the man known in Turkey as ‘Little Mike’ due to Ozgul’s similarity in approach to that of ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson!
Former pro basketball player Manny Muhammad made the transition to pro boxing with ease, the big American with a laid back style boxed well to secure a 39-38 points win over Vaidas Balciauskas.
Turkish teen star Siar Ozgul continued his winning ways, with a sensational all action performance to take all the points over Tomas Samusas. Without doubt one of the finds of the year, Ozgul has to be one of the most exciting young fighters on the UK scene today, definitely one to watch.
Preston’s Suz Member had a disastrous start to his pro career, known as the knockout king on the semi-pro circuit big things were expected, however this time it was him who was to suffer a double knockdown, at the hands of Tadas Stulginskas, in under a minute.
After the second knockdown Member’s coach, the legendary Middleweight World Champion Herol ‘Bomber’ Graham, had seen enough and threw in the towel on the one minute and two second mark.
I’m sure that many of you had read, or had a least heard of the article in the Daily Mail that Robin Deakin was the UK’s worse boxer, due to his record of one win in fifty fights, the boxing world and more importantly promoter Dave Murphy rallied in his support.
However, his performance on the night, against Damian Lawniczak, didn’t do anything to prove the Daily Mail writer wrong. For whatever reason Deakin threw all ringcraft out of the window, it really was a poor performance so no surprise that referee Seamus Dunne scored it 40-37 in Lawniczak’s favour.
Bardney, Lincolnshire’s Nathan Decastro made a sensational pro debut, stopping Lithuania’s Paulius Butvidas in just one minute and five seconds of the first round.
Have to say this was a seriously impressive victory, Decastro was controlled in his approach, stylishly picking the shots to send the Lithuanian to the deck twice before referee Ken Curtis called a halt to the proceedings.
What can I say, former England amateur Captain Antonio Counihan was once again just plain sensational, this kid really is star quality and have to say easily deserved the shutout points victory over Marcin Filner.
The opening bout of the night see WBF Lightweight Champion Chris Goodwin in a non-championship six round warm up, against Poland’s Maurycy Gijko.
No surprise that Goodwin secured a shut out points victory and he really deserved it, dominating the proceedings from start to finish.
The event, which was the first to be sanctioned by the Malta Boxing Commission in the UK, was well supported, with around a thousand fans in attendance being treated to a night of excellent pugilistic action.
The only downer to the night was that Acourtier Events promoter Dave Murphy’s wife Sandy was in hospital in a critical condition, understandably Mr. Murphy elected to be at his beloved’s bedside.
The Acourtier team, along with the officials from both the Malta Boxing Commission and the World Boxing Union banded together to ensure the event went ahead in Mr. and Mrs. Murphy’s absence.