Lawton scoops Midlands Area title

18.06.04 – By Ben Carey: [b]Scott Lawton[/b] survived a 6th round crisis to deservedly outpoint a plucky [b]Carl Allen[/b] over 10, brisk rounds to capture the vacant Midlands Area lightweight title at Sheffield’s Octagon Centre last night. The Staffordshire box-puncher is a new and exciting addition to Dennis Hobson’s stable and showed glimpses of promise but made hard work of what could have been a more straightforward outing.

The tall and rangy Lawton was content to have a look at his experienced opponent in the opening two rounds but let rip with some hurtful body punches that Allen clearly felt in the third. When boxing at range behind his jab Scott is a joy to watch, and for a developing pro mixes his shots to body and head delightfully. Lawton continued to focus his efforts to the body in round 4 with much success. However, as was to become a feature of the fight, Scott’s fondness for a tear-up left him invitingly in punching range. The veteran Allen was quick to take advantage of Lawton’s defensive neglect and fired over a perfectly timed straight right which nailed him flush.

Lawton was clearly relishing the battle and seemed confident he could absorb whatever was coming back from Allen. The Stoke fighter started loading up on some big right hands in the 5th and sank in some left hooks to the body as Allen attempted to cover up behind a high held guard. Lawton was dominant but was still walking onto the occasional right hand as his defence continued to be slack. He was nearly made to pay dearly for this in round 6. Both fighters went to exchange hooks in the centre of the ring but it was Allen’s who got there first which thudded onto Lawton’s unprotected chin that shook him to his boots. Scott’s legs did a funny wobble but he remained on his feet as Allen steamed forward in search of an upset victory.

Now was the time for Lawton to be covering up and riding out the storm. Unfortunately, the Stoke prospect showed his inexperience by showing a disregard for his defence as he elected to go toe-to-toe. The shorter Allen ducked under Lawton’s retaliatory swings and came back with a crunching right uppercut that rocked his opponent’s head back. Scott’s legs dipped again in what was a real crisis point for him. Allen simply couldn’t miss the upright Lawton and crashed home two more lead rights but Lawton took them well. The bell didn’t come a moment too soon for Lawton who returned to his corner on wobbly legs. Such was Allen’s dominance I decided to make this a 10-8 round in the Wolverhampton’s man’s favour. It was not hard to see why Carl managed to drop the unbeaten Andy Morris back in April and had the Manchester prospect in more trouble in the final round of that contest.

One had the feeling that Allen’s best opportunity to win the fight had passed him by as Lawton soaked up everything in a torrid sixth. Keen to avoid a repeat of the previous round, a more cautious Lawton spent the seventh on the back foot shooting out the jab. With his long reach and impressive skills this looked the right tactic for him to be adopting yet Scott looked uncomfortable in doing so. It wasn’t long before he was back on the front foot taking the fight to Allen. Well placed shots downstairs and a right hand over the top was evidence that Lawton had regained full control of this vacant title clash in the eighth. Displaying a nice repertoire of punches Lawton turned a hook into an uppercut that surprised Allen in round 9. This was classy work. Allen had appeared to have run out of ideas and was knocked off balance by a clubbing right at the end of the round.

Lawton was told in no uncertain terms to keep it tight for the final round by his anxious cornermen. However, a determined Allen was intent on dragging him into one last duel in search of the knockout he desperately needed. Carl began the round well, catching Lawton with two left hooks that led to more stern shouts of “hands up!!” from the Stoke man’s corner. Both men loaded up on hooks as the pace continued to show no signs of letting up. Lawton made it to the final bell without any further alarm though to take referee Paul Thomas’s 98-95 verdict in what had been an entertaining scrap.

Lawton advances to 10-1, his only loss being a disputed points decision to Scotland’s Dave Stewart. Fans saw the best and worst of the new champion last night. Stylish, with an impressive arsenal of shots, Lawton effortlessly moves through his offensive gears. However, his fondness for tear-ups could eventually be his undoing unless he tightens his leaky defence as he steps up in class.

[b]Undercard review: Maxwell back with a bang[/b] [b]Patrick Maxwell[/b] provided further evidence of his ferocious punching power against [b]Howard Clarke[/b] on the undercard of this Dennis Hobson promoted show. Having been out of the ring since last November thanks to a troublesome hand injury, an irritated Maxwell had plenty of pent up aggression waiting to be released. Brummie journeyman Clarke was the unfortunate victim of Maxwell’s thunderous fists.

Howard was placed under immediate pressure from the off as Maxwell purposefully advanced unleashing fast left hooks to body and head. Clarke was under siege and sought the refuge of the ropes for comfort. Big mistake. With his man conveniently in front of him Maxwell let fly with a right through the middle that severely shook Clarke. The former IBF world title challenger attempted to bob and weave on the ropes but was met with a fuselage of left hands for his trouble. With Clarke taking several unanswered blows referee Howard Foster wisely called a halt to proceedings at 2.57 of opening round.

Maxwell fights as though he has a taxi waiting outside for him with the meter running. He advances to 9-1 with 7 inside. Patrick has now stopped his last five opponents, three of them have failed to hear the bell for round 2 with Coventry’s Andy Halder suffering the indignity of being banged out in 12 seconds. Now under the tutelage of new trainer Adam Booth, it is hoped that the 25-year-old Maxwell can remain focused and injury free as he looks to gain some momentum in his career.

[b]Khan passes Rasani test[/b]

Well-spoken Sheffield light-heavyweight prospect [b]Ameer Khan[/b] passed the first significant test of his developing pro career with a well-earned six-twos points victory over former Commonwealth title challenger [b]Hastings Rasani[/b]. Khan has an excellent, piercing jab and deployed it to good effect to keep the Zimbabwean at bay in the opener. The unbeaten Ingle fighter was producing a polished display and a volley of jabs and straight lefts stunned Rasani at the start of round 2. The Nobby Nobbs fighter attempted to fire right back but was floored by a well-timed straight left from Khan as he lunged forward. Rasani was more annoyed than hurt and made it to his feet at 3.

It had been all Khan so far but he slightly lost his way in the third. No longer pumping out his southpaw jab with the same authority, Rasani began to bully his way inside and rough the Sheffield man up. This was a testing period for Khan who became slightly reckless in his efforts to create distance between himself and his adversary. Rasani stuck resolutely to his task though and his jolting shots in close drew blood from Ameer’s nose.

Khan was urged to keep the fight at long-range by trainer Brendan Ingle and faired better at nullifying Rasani’s attacks in the fourth, if at the expense of his own forward forays. After a couple of uncertain rounds Khan was back to his best in the fifth. Rasani continued to try and bully his way in but was once again being reacquainted with Khan’s stinging jab-straight left combinations. The Sheffield boxer was sufficiently confident to fight off the ropes in the final round, scoring to the body as Rasani went for broke. Khan incurred the rath of referee Foster for use of the shoulder midway through the last but finished back on his jab to take the man in the middle’s 58-55 verdict.

He ups his slate to 7-0. Considering that upcoming British title challenger Mark Brookes was given all he could handle when narrowly outpointing Rasani last year, Khan should take encouragement from this win. A return, this time over 3 minute rounds, would offer a clearer benchmark from which to assess his future potential.

[b]Fehintola makes it 6 out of 6[/b] [b]Femi Fehintola[/b] may be still searching for the first stoppage win of his professional career but he is clearly improving with every fight. The former junior ABA champion and two-time ABA senior finalist dominated journeyman [b]Anthony Hanna[/b] in this six-twos lightweight match-up, comfortably taking every round on referee Foster’s scorecard.

Fehintola may have split with trainer Crawford Ashley since his last fight in April but looks to be growing as a professional. Dennis Hobson and Richard Poxon accompanied him into the ring last night. Not wanting to disappoint, the Bradford prospect repeatedly jarred Hanna with snappy left hooks and follow up rights. Fehintola possesses fast hands, but has been guilty of only throwing single shots thus far in his career.

Those in attendance last night witnessed a big improvement in this department. Fehintola, who was displaying good variety, repeatedly unleashed jab, left hook and right hand combinations. Hanna was never troubled, but was unable to cope with the speed and movement of his younger opponent. There was a renewed effort from him in the last but Fehintola was not to be outdone and met his man with a delightful uppercut and left hook. Femi is developing nicely against journeyman opponents. Though he still appears to lack strength, his speed and variety are strong assets.

[b]Pereira off the mark[/b]

London’s [b]David Pereira[/b] was victorious in the battle of the debutants as he squeaked home 58-57 against Birmingham’s [b]Declan English[/b] in this six-twos featherweight show opener. The Sheffield crowd took a dislike to referee Foster’s verdict but Pereira looked to have done just enough. English certainly had his moments, however. A long right hand rocked Pereira in round 1, and this same punch appeared to trouble him in the closing stages of an entertaining sixth. English’s power definitely had an effect but his successes were all too rare.

For the remainder of the contest Pereira was the busier of the two with his jab and gradually grew in confidence as the bout wore on. “Keep throwing, Dave. You just have to keep touching him. Not every punch has to be a power shot,” was the advice of stablemate and hot cruiserweight prospect David Haye who was supporting Pereira at ringside. Pereira, trained by Adam Booth, responded to the advice he was being given but seemed to be thinking about things a little too much.

“Feint the jab, give him the hook,” came the cry from Haye and again Pereira responded. English was too passive but enjoyed a good final round as he finally let his hands go. Pereira responded as the pair traded shots in the centre of the ring but it was English who landed the straight right that got Pereira’s attention. It was enough for English to take the round but it was too little, too late. English’s performance was untypical of the archetypal Nobby Nobbs fighter. He should record his first pro win before too long. Pereira, promoted by Fight Academy, will be relieved to get off to a winning start.

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Boxing News Lawton scoops Midlands Area title