When the score of 57-58 was read out by the announcer on the Carl Greaves Promotions show at Grays Civic Hall last night, there was an audible murmur emanating from the baffled audience, inevitably sharing the same thoughts as to how the spectacle was judged to be so close.
Then, when away fighter Dan Blackwell’s name was announced and arm raised as the winner, the crowd stood stunned as top prospect, Liam Desmond was handed his first loss in the pros – entirely unwarranted.
A former Haringey Box Cup winner, aged 22 from Corringham, Essex, Desmond left the arena under cries of angry protests from the enraged onlookers and dropped down to 5-1 via the highly controversial decision to Dan Blackwell (7-53), younger brother to British middleweight champion Nicky who meets Chris Eubank Jr. at the end of March.
The 23-year-old travelling fighter from Trowbridge, was equally shocked at hearing his name called, the victory ending an 18-fight losing streak for the journeyman.
Desmond, still looking sharp from his amateur pedigree, slipped a lot of punches from the game Blackwell in the first and second rounds but took a couple of flush jabs to the face in the process of working around his opponent, who set up camp in the centre of the ring.
The home fighter put together some lovely combos with slick movement and looked the classier fighter in the ring throughout the entire six-round contest, circling his opponent and keeping up a high work rate, picking him off with crisp shots and avoiding most of what was thrown his way.
The 22-year-old outworked and outclassed his opponent all night but unfortunately referee Lee Cook had a different view. It won’t go down as the worst robbery in the history of boxing but it was a robbery all the same.
The first fight of the evening, titled ‘New Kids on the Block’, saw local lad, Paul Southwick (0-2), 32-years-old from Romford, concede his second loss to Liam Griffiths (4-59-1) on points over four rounds at super-welterweight.
The six-foot-tall Southwick, still devastated by his debut defeat at the same venue last December, was just not busy enough over the four rounds to warrant the referee’s decision, content to be beaten to the first punch.
Griffiths, 29-years-old from Sussex, very likely worked harder in this fight than any recent fight and showed signs of fatigue but he dug deep, sensing he would get the win. It was great determination shown by the away fighter, deserving to have his arm raised at the end.
Debutant, Sammy Holloway, a middleweight from Kent, boasted a lot of support on the night, entering the arena to a deafening roar.
The 29-year-old came straight into the fight with vicious intent throwing a malicious left uppercut from range which set the tone for the rest of the competition.
He had his opponent, Alex Breitenbach (1-1), pinned to the ropes for the very limited amount of ring action before the referee rightfully stepped in to save the Hungarian from further punishment.
The exciting Kent middleweight took one big shot when applying the pressure and will have to watch out for that against better opponents. The performance was filled with determination and resolve as shown with the introductory punch.
The third bout saw Idris Hill move up to 3-0 with a convincing points win over Liam Richards (12-21) scored at 60-53 to the home fighter from Westcliff-on-Sea due to ‘Rocco’ touching down momentarily in the opening round.
ID applied pressure all night and cut the ring off well, however, Richards did his job excellently by being incredibly hard to pin down and slipped away time after time, hence the reason why the former English title contender has never been stopped.
In the fourth round, Nigerian-born Hill came out with a bit more pop in his punch, clearly trying to find a way to get rid of his man. In the middle of the round, he beckoned his man to come forward clearly fed up with chasing after him for the first 12 minutes of the six-round lightweight contest. This round also saw the best punch of the fight, a fantastic uppercut from the 31-year-old landing flush on Richards midway through the round.
With over 200 fans in the crowd, consisting of the Sugar Hut nightclub owners and Liverpool and England footballer Glen Johnson, debutant Tey Lynn Jones entered the ring to a raucous reception against Sonny Whiting (2-3).
Whiting, trained by brothers Johnny and Frank Greaves, started like the home fighter clearly committed on snatching the win. ‘Teystey’, who achieved notoriety recently by being knocked down by Chris Eubank Jr. in a clip of the pair sparring, began to dominate slowly, ending the initial round as the stronger, more forceful of the pair.
The first exchange in the second round was won by Whiting, who was clearly instructed well during the minute break by the Greaves brothers in the away corner. However, it wasn’t long before Jones had him backed against the ropes, scoring body shots and powerful right hands.
A straight right hand in the final third of the round was the best shot landed all fight and the popular Essex boxer used his jab effectively throughout. Sonny continued to fire shots in despite the boisterous crowd cheering noisily against him, even cornering Jones just 10 seconds before the end of the penultimate round.
Whiting again came out on top in the first exchange in the final round but was soon caught flush by Jones that had him staggering momentarily; instinctively the home fighter went in for the kill.
The high pace set by Jones had clearly taken its toll on Whiting in the final few minutes, the result of 40-37 to Tey Lynn Jones was completely justified, likely the first round scored evenly.
The Carl Greaves Promotions show was packed to the rafters and the atmosphere was electric, mostly brought by the two exciting middleweight debutants who provided their huge audiences with electrifying performances.
The former Midlands Area champion, Carl Greaves, will be smiling to himself for making those two recent signings.
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