Khan trumps Quaye
Saturday night saw boxing return to the city of Bradford at Cedar Court Hotel in an, at times, uneven yet always entertaining card. The great and the good of Bradford political and business life were in attendance, alongside ex-WBC 140lbs champion Junior Witter and imminent WBO title challenger Derry Mathews.
The Vaughan Boxing Promotions show featured five fights of varying quality, with the main event being local man Tasif Khan (11-1-2) taking on solid Ghanaian Issac Quaye (27-12-1). On the line was the ‘Global Boxing Union super-flyweight title’, a belt that, being perfectly honest, was obscure even for many people in the boxing world.
Despite that, Quaye, yet to win on British soil, and Khan, who was roared on by the sell-out crowd, clearly wanted to leave with a version of a ‘world title’ around their waist.
Unfortunately, it led to a rather uninspiring fight, as the much shorter Quaye attempted to bully Khan around the ring. The pair often came into a clinch and, on a few occasions, one or both tumbled to the floor whilst attempting to gain the upper hand.
Khan, however, looked slick and confident when he could take advantage of his significant high and reach, and dropped Quaye three times (although one looked like a push).
After the away fighter (who came to the ring flanked by a giant Ghanaian flag to the sound of Chris Brown), touched down for a second time in the sixth round, his energetic trainer waved the fight off. The trainer himself received a round of applause following the fight for his boisterous corner work, which led to repeated warning from the referee.
Khan was mobbed by a vocal and passionate fan base in the aftermath.
The best fight of the night, although perhaps not the best boxing match, was the all-out brawl that opened the card. Well-supported Liverpool lightweight Jay Carney (2-1-2) took on Latvian battler Dinars Skripkins (2-7-2) over four rounds.
Carney looked composed and confident in the opening round, but the man from Bauska began to land repeatedly with punishing uppercuts and hooks as the fight wore on. Come the last round, Carney was bleeding heavily from the nose and his left eye had almost swollen shut. He threw plenty of shots in the final round and looked to have wobbled Skripkins at times, although it was hard to tell if it was just the frantic pace, which had taken a toll on the visitor.
The result, adjudged a draw, was met with some boos from the crowd who clearly felt the Latvian had edged his opponent.
Total combat winner Nick Quigley (15-2-0) beat Phil Townley (1-12-0) via a referee’s stoppage in the fourth and final round. Quigley looked much bigger than his opponent, despite them being classified as a super-middleweight and light-heavyweight respectively.
Townley mainly shelled up as Quigley picked his punches, but despite that, the referee was perhaps premature in his stoppage. Whilst it looked unlikely Townley could have landed hard enough to win, he also didn’t seem in a great deal of distress.
Irishman Bernard Roe (3-0) defeated teak tough journeyman Matt Scriven (14-90-1) on points in probably the best pure boxing match in the card. Roe looked controlled in his approach, carefully picking his shots and winning each round. Despite that, Scriven clearly felt untroubled by Roe, resorting to holding his hands by his sides as the rounds wore on and offering his chin and ribs up to be hit in an attempt to draw Roe onto him.
The co-main event was one of the most bizarre bouts your reporter has ever seen in a British ring. Billy Corito (10-2-0), holder of the ‘Malta international heavyweight title’, was greeted with a raucous reception from a section of travelling Maltese, as he made his way to the ring to take on Latvian Reinis Porozovs (4-6-1) over four rounds.
Reinis, cornered by Skripkins and their joint trainer, was outweighed by a stated four stone and there was a palpable sense of unease at a glorified cruiserweight in with ‘super’ heavyweight.
Despite that, Porozovs showed good fundamentals to land one-twos almost at will on Corito, who looked clumsy in throwing wild haymakers. The result seemed a foregone conclusion and, when the result of a Porozovs win (by a ridiculous one point, when he easily won three rounds and probably all four) was announced, the Bradford public serenaded the Latvian team with a huge ovation and chants of ‘Latvia!’
Seeing the Porozovs team and his trainer, wearing a Zenit St Petersburg shirt and a huge smile, jig down the stage will live long in the memory. Corito does however deserve some credit for eating some hard shots and attempting to keep the pressure on his opponent.
Overall, the event was a success in terms of support and generally had a more friendly atmosphere than some small hall shows. It will be interesting to see if Vaughan Boxing Promotions can build on the momentum they generated.