On a cold night in the South Wales Valley’s, Saniger Events did their best to warm up a packed Rhydycar Leisure Centre in Merthyr Tydfil with an action-packed fight card which had his fair share of thrills and in the instance of Ashley Brace’s European challenge an unfortunate spill which left us with more than a few talking points.
If you were watched at home from the comfort of your Tv screens (S4C) or made the trip to the venue, its fair to say you were greeted with an early Xmas present from the nine fights on offer.
THUNDERSTRUCK: THORLEY CROWNS HIMSELF WELSH CHAMPION WITH STOPPAGE WIN OVER ASARE
Closing the show, the big punching duo of Nathan Thorley (9-0, 5 KOs) and Jermaine Asare (8-3, 2 KOs) punctuated the success of the show with a show of power in a contest for the Welsh Light Heavyweight championship. Both Commonwealth Bronze medalists, there was a feeling of ‘Whoever Lands First’ as to a prediction of a winner.
Asare slightly shaded the contests opener, warming the task well as he quickly closed the gap between the two men, landing with echoing body shots against the ropes. Thorley on the other hand patiently waited for his chance, snapping out a solid jab on occasion in a bid to keep Asare at a distance.
Thorley who’s nickname is ‘Thunder’ lived up to that moniker in the second as the noise of a well placed right hand could be heard from ringside. It landed high on the temple of Asare before his legs betrayed him, leaving him on the canvas.
Asare managed to get upright before the count of ten but referee Reece Carter made the decision that he was unable to continue, bringing wild celebration from the Thorley camp who was crowned the Welsh Light Heavyweight champion.
BRACE YOURSELF THERE WILL BE A REMATCH – ASHLEY BRACE AND MONICA SORROCHE DRAW A BLANK IN EUROPEAN TITLE FIGHT
The three judges sitting ringside were unable to come to an agreement of a winner in the nights European Boxing Union championship but that only touches on the confusion that follows.
Ashley Brace (7-0-1, 3 KOs) was aiming to become the first British female to win the title but will be made to wait a little while longer for that feat to be realised.
An error in the scorecards initially ruled her opponent Monica Sorroche (13-2-2, 2 KOs) to have taken the spoils by scores of 96-94 and 96-95 tallies bringing jubilation from the Spaniard’s corner whilst tears were shed from a distraught Brace.
It was on closer inspection that the discrepancy was found on one of the scorecards who had in fact viewed it 95-95 meaning the result would be declared a draw.
Brace known to rely on her high-intensity work rate set out to drown Sorroche in the pace of the bout but was matched stride for stride by the energetic away fighter. Brace was guilty in the early rounds of falling into the shots, smothering her work as Sorroche was happy to fight off the back foot, possibly in an effort to conserve energy.
It was clear that Brace was the stronger of the two women as she pushed Sorroche back before the Spaniard would pivot to land shots of her own.
Going into the later rounds of the contest it looked to be Sorroche who had the impetus, Brace breathing heavily had found the pace of the contest tough but finished the contest with a foray of shots, primarily a solid hook which found its mark with thoughts it to be enough to edge a tight affair.
The contest went to the judges’ scorecards which was the only blemish on an otherwise enthralling contest which had us all on the edge of our seats. It was dismay for the Ebbw Valian but will have found a new focus on the eventual rematch which is sure to follow in the new year.
EVANS DECISIONS JONES
Fred Evans (3-0) came through a tough assignment in Adam Jones (6-29-5, 1 KO) who was game throughout the six rounder on the night’s undercard. Evans, an Olympic Silver Medalist showed glimpses of the talent which took him to the podium in London in 2012, the divide in talent was clear but Jones bridged the gap with determination, losing out eventually only by a point as the referee, Reece Carter rendered a 58-57 score.
LIGHTWEIGHT KING OF WALES: GWYNNE’S CORONATION IN HIS HOMETOWN AFTER JANES DECISION
The fight of the night was contested for the Welsh Lightweight title, its contestants, Treharris’ Gavin Gwynne (8-0, 1 KOs) who stepped up successfully against Henry Janes (10-22-2, 1 KOs) in winning by a score of 99-93.
The ebb and flow of the contest was impressive from both men, taking turns to gain control of the bout. Gwynne used his reach advantage to score from the outside early in the contest whilst Janes looked to load up in an effort to end the night early, but two knockouts between them, this was a duration fight from the outset as we strapped in for an encounter that left us all wanting more.
‘Double G’ exhibited a similar beard to the widely more recognisable ‘Triple G’ as he hardly blinked from the shots that the Cardiff man threw, pushing forward using his jab to set up his combinations.
The pace slightly slowed at the midway point of the bout, by this time Gwynne was sporting a cut under his right eye from what was ruled to be from a legitimate punch by referee Martin Williams.
Still, the hometown fighter was not to be denied as he kept on the front foot, mixing in his body shots to back up Janes who at this point was looking to land something substantial to turn the tide.
Referee Martin Williams deducted a point from Gwynne in the ninth, when he appeared to use his elbow but even with a point taken away, Gwynne still was adjudged to have done enough as he sunk to his knees in sheer exultation, realising one of his career goals, to win a Welsh title and to do so in his hometown was the cherry on a very sweet cake.
TOO FAST, TOO TOUZE FOR QUINN
Swansea’s Kristian Touze (5-0-1) gave his travelling support something to cheer as he added Jamie Quinn (3-51-2) to his lists of beaten opposition. The fight in truth was a slow burner, as both men tentatively tried to engage the other, both could be guilty of doing more feinting than actually landing.
Touze was by far the more skilled of the two, accurately worked on the counter, capitalising on the myriad of mistakes that Quinn made. In the end, the score of 40-37 was justifiable.
BARTON STOPS HALTON IN QUICK FASHION
Super Middleweight Daniel Barton (2-0-1, 1 KOs) was originally scheduled to face Geraint Goodridge in what would amount to a feisty encounter, unfortunately, that was cancelled due to the latter picking up a training injury. In his place was Torquay’s Nathan Halton (2-2-1) who was game for a round before succumbing to the power of Barton in the third.
Halton presented a decent jab to knock back the head of Barton who was in no mood for a long drawn out contest, throwing every punch with hurtful intent.
Halton with a bloodied nose and some swelling to his eye was game but ultimately outgunned as the Halton corner was in agreement of the stoppage of the fight as Barton got his career back in the win column.
RETURN OF THE HASK: LEE HASKINS RETURNS WITH A VICTORY
Returning from his brief hiatus from the sport, former IBF Bantamweight champion Lee Haskins (35-4, 14 KOs) stepped back into the ring for the first time since his loss to current champion Ryan Burnett, winning a wide decision over Ghana’s Isaac Quaye (31-15-1, 22 KOs) by a score of 60-52.
The switch-hitter had no issues with Quaye, hitting him with an assortment of shots for the duration of the six rounder, dropping his man in the fifth, showing no effect of the arm injury that plagued him in his previous bout. It was all too easy for the Bristol man who was leagues above the tough Guaye.
JUST LIKE HIS DAD, JACOB ROBINSON IMPRESSES ON PRO DEBUT
Opening the night, Jacob Robinson (1-0, 1 KO) got his professional career off to winning ways with a knockout win over Latvia’s Dmitrijs Gutmans (4-24-2, 2 KOs).
Son of the legendary Welsh fighter, Steve Robinson, he showed that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree with a comprehensive showing.
Robinson, found his range quickly as he landed with his sharp hook that not for the want of trying, Gutmans just couldn’t avoid.
A combination that started with a right hook spelt the beginning of the end for Gutmans, folding like a cheap tent in the windy season in the third, bringing his challenge to an end as the referee waved off the contest.
Photos Courtesy of Huw Fairclough