Six months out of the ring and a training camp which he described as ‘hell’ didn’t stop Simon Barclay from putting in a satisfying performance on September 23rd where the Cruiserweight beat Latvia’s Florians Strupits 60-54 on the scorecard, and back to winning ways, in the headline fight on Longshots Sports ‘Redemption’ show.
It was Barclay’s first fight since his first career loss to the hands of Matty Askin in his English Title challenge and the Corby man showed what he’d been working and improving on in the gym from the first bell.
It was a more sharper and aggressive Simon Barclay this time round and was a performance that deserved a stoppage victory but his Latvian opponent Strupits covered up well for the majority of the fight and was in no mood to take any risks.
“I was going in for the knockout but he tucked up well.” Said Barclay.
He continued; “I think he’s also the kind of guy you’ve got to knockout with one shot. As soon as he got hurt he was tucking up, hiding away in the corners, not leaving me any gaps for me to hit. Maybe I could of done a bit more but I’m happy with the way it went in the end.”
Despite the stubborn performance fro Strupits, Barclay still managed to produce moments of brilliance during the fight starting with a clean, right body – left uppercut combination which sent his opponent stumbling back to the ropes to cover up. This is where the Latvian spent the majority of the fight and every time he did throw, the Corby man came back with something better with some on-point counter punches.
Barclay continued to impressed and then arguably produced his cleanest work in the 3rd round; straight from bell Barclay caught Strupits napping and ripped in a left-right combination. As the chants of ‘Sid Army’ started to echo louder around the hall, Simon upped the work rate and found more success with some sharp combinations and variety of punches to the head and body.
Barclay’s most exciting moment came at the beginning of the 6th and final round when he landed a big right hand which rocked Strupits enough to send him stumbling across the ring to the ropes. As the Corby crowd spurred him on, Barclay still couldn’t find the gaps in a very tight guard from the Latvian as he managed to do enough to survive too the end of the round and the fight.
The referee gave Simon every round as the scorecard read 60-54 as Barclay raised his gloves to the applauding crowd in the Rockingham Forest Hotel. Considering the tough training camp Barclay had to endure, overall it was a good performance by the 26-year-old.
“I was pleased with my performance. I’ve had a hell of a training camp to be honest, I had a few injuries and I had the flu as well a couple weeks before tonight so going in there I thought I put on a good performance.
“I felt sharp, I was on the front foot, I would of liked him to thrown I few more shots so I could of exploit him a bit more but I don’t think he wanted to know after the first round and just tucked up all the time.”
Now back to winning ways and being involved in title bouts quite recently, Simon can now focus on getting back into contention for these type of fights.
“I’m open to fight anyone really. I’ll let Jason [McClory] do the matching, he’ll know when I’m ready for certain opponents and its my job to do the hard work in the gym and be ready.
“I’ll be looking to get back in the gym as soon as possible and keep myself fit. If anything comes up I’ll be ready to go.”
Raza Hamza got taken the distance for only the second time in his professional career so far as he comfortably beat Qasim Hussain 40-35 on the referee’s scorecard in their featherweight contest.
The 24-year old from Birmingham has already gained a reputation as a hard-hitting puncher by winning his first four fights by stopping his opponent inside the 1st round; but with Hussain’s reputation as a durable opponent, Hamza wisely chose to box his way to victory and he done so sublimely.
Hamza’s power was still noticeable as Hussain clung onto him like a leach on many occasion during the four rounder which eventually resolved to the referee taking a point off Hussain for persistent holding.
Hamza boxed well as he worked the jab well all through-out the fight then followed up with some punishing work to the body. With Hussain taking the fight at 24 hour notice, the journeyman did extremely well to survive the four rounds.
There was a professional debut on the show as welterweight CJ Challenger showed the Corby crowd what he can do as he comfortably beat Kevin McCauley in an impressive performance by the young Leicester man, winning 40-36 on the referee’s scorecard.
The Haringey Box Cup winner punished McCauley with crushing body punches through-out the fight and showed a lot of maturity in his performance for a guy fighting his first professional fight.