Ringside report: seek and destroy

Paul Zanon
28/09/2019 11:52pm

Photo: James Chance/Getty Images

Paul Zanon reports from the Royal Albert Hall as Daniel Dubois annexes the Commonwealth heavywight title and Nicola Adams scraps to a draw in defence of her WBO title...

The Albert Hall. You can’t fault it really. Iconic, beautifully lit and great acoustics. Ideal for the 11 fight show on Friday 27 September, hosted by BT Sport and Queensbury Promotions.

First up was Mohammad Bilal Ali against Latvian Aleksandrs Birkenbergs. Beckton’s Ali let his fast hands go from the outset, eager to impress on the big stage, which was great to see, but he was often caught with straight right hands. A harder hitting adversary could have caused problems.

Thankfully Ali’s boxing brain was well calibrated and he made those all important adjustments to put Birkenbergs down twice in the second session, before stopping him in the third round to extend his record to 3-0.

Heavyweight action next with London’s Jonathan Palata, against Lancashire favourite, Chris Healey. Palata started the first round with a sturdy jab, looking like he might fancy an early night, but then lost momentum. Healey continued to motion forward throughout the four round bout, making his own headway. Palata won a points decision 58-56, moving him to 6-0.

Next up was debutant super lightweight, Eithan James against journeyman Fonz Alexander who was out in his 108th contest. With his sterling amateur pedigree behind him, James displayed very fast and accurate hands, behind a stinging jab. As always, Alexander came to fight and put on a great show, with the pair putting on a cracking last round for those in attendance. James won 40-36 and I personally look forward to seeing more of this man in the square ring.

Hard hitting Scot Willy Hutchinson was next under the spotlights, against Borislav Zankov from Bulgaria. Hutchinson hit the detonate button from the get-go, throwing punches with bad intentions. It came as no surprise that the contest was halted after two minutes and 15 seconds of the second session, further to Zankov hitting the canvas twice. Light heavyweight Hutchinson moves to 10-0.

Eighteen-year-old bantam Dennis ‘The Menace’ McCann disposed of Bulgarian Georgi Georgiev in two rounds. The nine-time national amateur champion was calm, rangy and picked his shots with frightening accuracy, en route to putting down Georgiev twice in the opening round. After hitting the canvas again in the second round, the referee made the right call after two minutes and 53 seconds, to call a halt to the proceedings. The Menace moves to 3-0 and is certainly one to watch out for.

Peacock Gym favourite, Denzel Bentley was up next against Warwickshire’s Kelcie Ball. Bentley went for blood from the opening bell and got what he looked for. After one minute and 12 seconds, the Battersea destroyer brought the contest to a halt. Middleweight Bentley moves to 11-0, with nine stoppages.

The seventh contest of the evening was between Sam Noakes and Chris Adaway at lightweight. After a cagey first round, Noakes moved up a couple of gears in the second session, firing off some huge uppercuts and hooks, putting Adaway in evident distress. Despite a valiant attempt to last the distance with debutant Noakes, Adaway was forced to retire before the start of the third round.

Double Olympic gold medallist Nicola Adams was up against tough Mexican Maria Salinas. The Lioness, who was putting her WBO flyweight title on the line, found her range early behind her jab and worked off the back foot, countering well with the straight right and some cracking lateral movement. The only problem was this proved her modus operandi for the whole fight.

Salinas, the aggressor, pulled off the more eye-catching work, trying to engage Adams into a scrap. As a result, the contest, at times became a little dull. If Adams had taken a little risk and stepped on the gas, she may have won a wide decision, but the final result reflected the action accurately. 94-96 Salinas. 97-93 Adams. 95-95. Split draw. Adams moves to 5-0-1.

Affable Archie Sharp took on Dublin’s Declan Geraghty, defending his WBO super featherweight European crown against the Irishman. For the first three rounds, Sharp struggled with the Irishman’s southpaw stance, missing punches, struggling with range and getting caught in clinches when he wanted to scrap.

Come round four, Sharp turned the tables with one of the best timed counter left hooks, knocking out Geraghty. His get out of jail card stoppage is certainly a knockout of the year contender, as he moved to 17-0.

Despite being around the same height, Ebenezer Tetteh gave away over two stone in weight to ‘Dynamite’ Daniel Dubois. With the vacant Commonwealth and WBO International heavyweight titles on the line, Dubois went to work with his ramrod jab from the opening seconds.

The Greenwich resident’s jab does not only act as a range finder, but a hurtful blow to anybody willing to stand in front of the 22-year-old, as I’m sure Tetteh would admit. A minute after the opening bell, Tetteh was on the canvas and shortly after, via a beautiful combination of hooks to the body and head, the contest was over. With Joe Joyce at ringside, surely this fight has to happen soon?

Dubois has the tools to go a long way. World level perhaps beckons, but he’s progressing through the ranks the old fashioned way, picking up the domestic honours. European hopefully next...then, who knows?