By Andrew Walker: You could easily be forgiven for not being too excited about tonight’s headline event from Fenton Manor Sports Complex, Stoke, Staffordshire, for the British and Commonwealth flyweight titles after seeing the records of the two fighters involved. Chris Edwards 13 (4) – 13 (3) – 3 and Usman Ahmed 5 – 2 – 1 will never reach the bright lights of Vegas or battle for a real world title but tonight they both put on a performance worthy of a world champions payday..
The pair had previously met before in Usman Ahmed’s debut fight towards the end of 2006 where Edwards won a points decision over six rounds.
Usman “Uzzy” Ahmed entered the ring like a young version of Naseem Hamed to a chorus of boos from the pro Edwards crowd. The champion Chris Edwards looked both calm and serious as he made a lower key entrance to the ring cheered on by his local fan base.
Usman Ahmed started brightly and took the first round on my scorecard with his speed and movement but the champion Edwards looked to be finding his range towards the end of the round.
Edwards started brighter for round two and stunned Usman Ahmed at the midway point with a hurtful combination but the younger Ahmed waved on the champion and looked unfazed by the power of Edwards.
What followed exceeded everyone’s expectations as the inexperienced Usman Ahmed showed both a tremendous heart and chin to stay in the fight until the final bell. Apart from round one and a share of round eight where the referee Phil Edwards docked a point from champion Chris Edwards for hitting on the break, I gave Edwards every round, although the fight remained competitive throughout.
Champion Edwards just had too much power for Ahmed and was also able to walk through Ahmed’s punches but the challengers chin and heart was never in doubt throughout the whole fight. If Ahmed had more power to go with his speed and footwork then he might have walked away with the belts tonight?
But there was no doubting the decision at the end of twelve exciting rounds with judges scoring the fight 118/109 117/111 118/109 all in favour of champion Chris Edwards for a unanimous decision.
The skill level was not the greatest I have ever witnessed but nevertheless it was an exciting and competitive British and Commonwealth title fight that is well worth your time to view it if you did not see it live.
Also on the bill Olympic bronze medallist Irelands Darren Sutherland stopped opponent Vepkhia Tchilaia (Olympic gold medallist James DeGale’s first professional opponent) in four rounds via TKO to extend his professional record to 3 (3) – 0. I’m sure comparisons will continue to be made between the two Olympians.