Hardknocks gets bigger gets better – Choi, Hamilton and Pro Debut Eckundayo

By Andy Watts: Friday 23rd March and another successful boxing show from Spencer Fearons Hardknocks Promotions, this time at The Troxy in East London’s Lime House for the Shamrock Showdown II.

Hardknocks is tying to put on boxing events where every fight is a main event, we all know that’s incredibly difficult if not impossible to achieve, as 50:50 fights don’t come around often. But in its way the show delivered on this very well with good bouts, excitement and showmanship that the crowd really lapped up. It was difficult to say who stole the show, which is a sign of a good evening of boxing. Was it a 41 year old Choi Transenvee who seems to defy age and logic, and has a cult like following who love him for all the right reasons or could it have been Larry Eckundayo who after ten years of waiting and trying, made is pro debut, with skills that already look breath taking.

Martin Lindsay made a successful return to the ring after a long lay off. A good range of punches, including nice body shots saw Lindsay beat Maurycy Gojko on points over six rounds. Lindsay and Choi are a potential future match up that will be a very good fight.

Darren Hamilton who’s support is growing with each fight entered the ring in a bowler hat that befits his nickname ‘The Entertainer’ while around half a dozen girls danced X-Factor style in the ring. It was a showman’s entrance and it setup a good fight with a very tough and awkward late challenger in Geoffrey Munika from Kenya. The punctuation was Hamilton’s defense and neat jab, backed up by flurries that steadily inflicted increasing punishment on a challenger who had skills and toughness that made him a very tricky opponent. Hamilton won by TKO in the 5th and wants to challenge for the British Title this year. Spencer Fearon issued challenges to Curtis Woodhouse and Ashley Theophane. Darren said after the bout he was ready to take on Theophane and mentioned a sparring session they had in the past. If this fight happens it should be a belter.

Making his professional debut Eckundayo known as ‘The Natural’ made a fantastic start to the paid ranks. Speaking at the weigh in Larry told me he felt excited to finally box professionally and couldn’t wait to get in the ring. A hugely polite and likeable fellow one can’t help but feel excited too and happy to see a man like Eckundayo finally make his debut after so very long. Larry boxed in the Commonwealth Games Ten years ago in 2002, a long long time for a class amateur to be on the sidelines. Many would have given up or at least seriously diminished, but on this performance he is ready and rearing to go. His opponent Ben Deghani was a good opponent for Eckundayo’s first professional bout as he really tried and had some skills. Although he was out classed from the start, as Larry used skills, speed, reflexes and all the experience of long amateur career to out box Deghani with ease and exciting the audience in the process. Clearly enjoying his night after so long in the waiting Echundeo produced showmanship and excellent combinations to force Ben’s corner to throw in the towel in the 3rd of a scheduled four rounder. The performance which included some dazzling combinations, and even a bolo punch set the crowd up perfectly for main event. When will we see Larry Ekundayo in the ring again? Let’s hope it is very soon.

Choi Tseveenpurev won the vacant WBC International Silver belt at the seemingly young age of 40, when he fought Bastien Rozeaux from France. Choi who has a cult like following was in magnificent condition for any fighter least of all a man of his advancing years. Rozeaux made a very competitive fight of it for 8 rounds. He was the bigger man but Choi used his crafty skills, strength and often in close bouncing off his toes to drive home short upper cuts and hooks to really redden the face of Bastien before in round Eight with his back to ropes Choi landed a huge right hook to the chin which sent Bastien crashing heavily to the canvas. It was as they say a peach of a punch. Rozeaux got up but on very shaky legs leaving the referee no choice but to stop the fight.

China Clarke from Leeds scored a good victory over Mitchell Barker of Hardknocks Promotions, on points over six rounds. A true 50/50 fight that showed exactly what Spencer Fearon says his Hardknocks is all about. Real fights where the home fighter can and on this occasion did lose. Too many shows are one sided, and this attitude is refreshing.

Other results were:
Nathan Graham won points 6. Steve Spence
Kreshnik Qato won points 6. Ruslans Pojonisevs

PrimeTime televised.

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Boxing News Hardknocks gets bigger gets better – Choi, Hamilton and Pro Debut Eckundayo