Fareham’s Moore (13-6-1) outpointed Londoner Day (8-0-1) 97-95 to keep his Southern Area lightweight strap, thus handing the challenger his first loss in a four-and-a-half year long pro career.
In the heart of the east end stands a neo-gothic Grade II listed building with an E2 postcode, first opened in 1929 by the Duke of York.
If its walls could talk, it would tell you proudly that it has seen the likes of Lennox Lewis when he knocked out Liverpool’s Noel Quarless in two rounds in 1990, a 23-year-old Joe Calzaghe score his ninth consecutive stoppage against American, Frank Minton in 85 seconds, a young Ricky Hatton retain his assorted Inter-Continental titles in 2005 and all of Carl Froch’s first four paid gigs in 2002.
On March 5th 2016, the hallowed hall would be honoured to add the headlining fight of Goodwin Promotions’ ‘Crunch Time’ show between Southern Area lightweight champion Floyd Moore, 25-years-old from Portsmouth and challenger Ben Day, 37-years-old from London, to its list of memorable moments.
The 10-rounds of the action-packed championship contest saw back and forth action between the warring pair who equally left it all in the ring on the night, much to the ferocious excitement of the York Hall faithful who were cheering wildly on their feet from their chosen positions around the ‘Home of Boxing’.
‘Pacman’ had over 250 fans in the crowd and was clearly the more popular fighter on the night. That, coupled with his current ownership of the belt possibly tilted the decision towards his corner.
‘The Entertainer’ was aiming to become a two-weight Southern Area titlist, after winning the super-lightweight version in his previous fight against Ryan Taylor.
Devon-born Day stopped Taylor (10-6-1) in just two minutes and nine seconds to on December 5th at the York Hall. A shared opponent, Moore stopped Taylor in the fourth round of their meeting in December 2013.
Pre-fight, opinions were completely divided as to who would emerge triumphant and as the pair occupied the ring at approximately 10pm on the first Saturday in March.
The opening round was interesting as well as entertaining, Moore looking slightly cautious, taking his time to try to work out and adapt to Day’s awkward style, who was throwing jabs from down low at difficult angles to defend against. Moore landed jabs of his own but was kept at distance by the longer reach of his opponent.
Midway through the opening three minutes, he landed a strong right that sent Day pedalling backwards, although the self-assured fighter laughed it off which would set the tone for the rest of the 10-rounds.
In the second round, Moore was successful at catching Day who got flustered more than once when tagged. Moore, cleverly sticking to his jab and one-twos, but occasionally leaping in wildly and unnecessarily opening himself up to the counter from the away fighter. In this round, Moore scored the more eye-catching shots.
A hard right to the head from Moore saw Day take a backwards walk again, the crowd voicing their delight with each successful shot connected. Referee, Kieran McCann had to separate the duo briefly, giving each a ticking off for punches to the back of the head.
In the third round, Day was smiling at Moore, antagonising him who consequently missed wildly with a right hand, which Day took full advantage of whilst his opponent was half-turned towards the ropes. Moore was not himself in that round, looking frustrated and slightly bewildered at Day’s puzzling style. Ben, for the first time in the fight, seemed to be really enjoying himself in there and began throwing a wider variety of shots, most noticeably the uppercut, having found his timing and rhythm.
Round four saw Day landing with ease and Moore having to work hard for every shot landed, missing the majority thrown. Day was content to sit back and counter, although his corner was audibly urging him to ‘work’, to which he responded with an Ali shuffle!
In round five, ‘Pacman’ got stuck straight in, inevitably due to a grilling in the corner from coach Michael Ballingall for possibly conceding the previous two rounds. Both fighters likely landed equal shots but Moore’s were the more noticeable again, deploying crisp triple jabs successfully. The round slowed down midway and Moore landed a good two-punch combination on the ropes, Day responding with a nice body as the round concluded.
Moore also started round six brightly, landing a huge overhand right and a vicious left hook that visibly affected Day, subsequently roared on by the raucous crowd who were falsely sensing a stoppage when Day was under duress from the champion. The Devonian-turned-Londoner rode out the storm and actually turned the tables completely by landing some huge shots of his own in the second half of the round. The to-and-fro of the fight was raising the roof at the famous venue.
The following round, Day came into his own and dominated completely even taunting the champion at times by sticking out his chin and inviting him to hit it, whilst landing freely before wandering off around the ring nonchalantly. He celebrated the one-sided achievement by dancing a jig to his corner stool.
Vengeful Moore, clearly not happy with the previous round, came out of the blocks all guns blazing in round eight, a big left seemingly pushing Day back momentarily
Day answered his blistering start by switching stance and landing left and right jabs on the target whilst laughing at the Hampshire fighter who looked likely to concede the round to the challenger until he ended the three minutes of ring time with a head-jolting one-two, which caused a reaction from Day as the bell sounded.
The penultimate round saw the best exchanges from both fighters, drawn in close for the entire duration for the first time all fight. Day looked to be getting the better of the connections.
The last round saw Moore swinging wildly from the off in a last ditch attempt to swing the fight in his favour and Day was countering with ease, seemingly laying on the heavier shots.
At this moment in time, the York Hall faithful were ecstatic at what they had witnessed so far and the final round brought the ecstasy that was fitting for the closing of the tremendously-fought championship contest, both fighters leaving it all in the ring.
A cut upon the left eye of the champion spurred the challenger on, trying desperately to force the stoppage as blood splattered his shorts. Moore battled back and the pair went to war for the entire duration of the final round to the deafening roar of the exhilarated crowd as blood streamed from the cut.
As the final bell sounded, the roof-raising rumble from the York Hall troop, who were all of their feet, was that of sheer appreciation as that was small hall boxing at its absolute finest.
Officiating referee, Keiran McCann scored the contest at 97-95 to the bloodied Floyd Moore, as the audience held its breath at the announcement.
The reigning champion openly admitted afterwards that, “It could have gone either way.”
Day, from his away dressing room, stated, “I’m so proud of myself, it took them this long to get me!”
This was the first time that Moore defended the honours successfully in what was his 20th professional contest, he conceded the same title in his first defence to Medway’s Adam Dingsdale, narrowly on points back in June 2014 in his home county of Hampshire.
Moore next fights on Haye Day on May 21 at London’s O2 Arena. When asked about his next move, Day responded with, “This is just the beginning!”
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