SUPERIORIT Y CONFIRMED
Butler wins Hall rematch while Fielding steals the show on undercard
PAUL BUTLER’S maiden outing under the Matchroom banner saw the Ellesmere Port favourite retrace his steps over a familiar trail as he took a unanimous verdict over old bantamweight rival, Stuart Hall. Butler and the Darlington man met in 2013 in a tight contest that was also won by the Cheshire fighter, but the outcome this time around was far more emphatic as Butler dominated for the vast majority of the contest, which was overseen by Howard Foster.
This was a typical Hall performance as he set a relentless pace but he lacked the quality to make a significant dent in an opponent who showed a lot more variety in impressing the ringside judges. Butler had more purpose and ideas, and any chance of this bout repeating the split decision of their first meeting looked unlikely from the start as Butler had enough answers to deal with the marauding Hall. Scores of 117-111 and 118-110 twice were accurate reflections, and Butler will be a keen spectator in Monaco in November as he awaits the winner of Jamie Mcdonnell and Liborio Solis who do battle there.
Tom Stalker’s brutal transition from amateur to professional showed no sign of easing as he lost to regional rival, and Commonwealth lightweight boss, Sean Dodd. Stalker made a bright start using his southpaw jab before following up with the occasional flurry but as the rounds grew so did Dodd, and his constant attacks – whenever Stalker sought solace on the ropes – were enough to give him the control. Stalker was always looking to counter with his back-hand but it didn’t deter Dodd who stayed close throughout, throwing whatever he could whenever in range. The uppercut was a useful weapon through Stalker’s tight guard and Dodd’s repeated pressing was a theme that didn’t go away in the second half, leading
FIELDING KEPT HIS WORD AS HE OBLITERATED BROPHY EARLY ON
to all three officials scoring 118-110 in the Birkenhead man’s favour. Michael Alexander officiated. Rocky Fielding promised beforehand that he was an improved fighter under the tutelage of Jamie Moore and he kept his word as he obliterated Scotland’s
David Brophy in the opening round. The boxing community were split on this fight heading in, and the form guide perhaps favoured Brophy, fresh off an excellent away day win over Zac Dunn in Australia, while Fielding had laboured to a series of wins following his loss to Callum Smith two years ago. But that fight seemed a distant memory within moments of the first bell as Fielding hurt his opponent immediately. As Brophy looked to regroup on the ropes, Rocky found enough quality shots to force a correct intervention at just 2-18 from Mr Gray. He added the Commonwealth super-middleweight title to his Lonsdale belt with the triumph.
A combination of brave corner work and equally game officiating ensured that Tom Farrell was the victim of unnecessary punishment as he took an unpleasant beating from Ohara
Davies. Any hopes of the Liverpool fighter upsetting the odds were arguably extinguished in the opening session as a perfect one-two combination from Davies heavily floored Farrell. He somehow survived but as the rounds wore on he was on the canvas twice in round two and his face reddened with every passing stanza. The entire press area and members of the Sky Sports punditry team pleaded for the fight to stop and after Farrell hit the deck twice more in round six, Mr Gray finally halted proceedings at 0-50. Farrell’s courage was incredible but the fight belonged to Davies, who showed no signs that the reversal to Josh Taylor has impacted his confidence.
There were stoppage wins for 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist pair, Anthony
Fowler and Scott Fitzgerald, as both continued their ring education after recently switching from the vested code. Fowler’s intent on stopping Jay
Byrne was perhaps motivated by the fact the Dubliner has extended fellow Matchroom prospects, Josh Kelly and Felix Cash, but the Liverpool puncher achieved his target as a couple of body shots in the fourth round earned Fowler his third stoppage from as many fights. Mark Lyson stopped it at 1-56.
Fitzgerald boxed beautifully for large periods and he refused to be drawn into the shenanigans being displayed by
Bradley Pryce. The veteran Welshman spent a lot of time smiling and posing but Fitzgerald stuck to the task and eventually landed the telling shots to force Darren Sarginson to stop things at 1-37 of the fifth round. Mr Lyson had a torrid time splitting
Dereck Chisora and Robert Filipovic as the latter insisted on breaching the rules on multiple occasions. The ref warned the Croatian several times for holding and hitting behind the head and his patience finally cracked as he deservedly removed a couple of points. Chisora seemed spurred on by this and a left hook instantly brought a stoppage from Lyson with 1-20 of the fifth gone.
Natasha Jonas was very impressive as she patiently dismantled Poland’s Bojana
Libiszewska. Jonas showed off her entire repertoire, growing in confidence with each passing round. The final session saw her develop a slightly nastier stance from the previous three and following succession of assaults, Sargeson did the right thing and ended it at 1-17. Jonas ticked a lot of boxes and trainer, Joe Gallagher, could be heard talking highly of her potential afterwards.
Local fighter, Craig Glover, showed off his power again with another routine first round stoppage victory against
Ferenc Zsalek. Finding the measure of his opponent almost immediately, Glover attacked well when he was in range and a series of body shots created the opportunity to switch to the head. Zsalek rose from the first knockdown but it was clear the end was approaching. It came with just 41 seconds of the round remaining, following another collection of heavy shots to convince Jamie Kirkpatrick he’d seen enough .
THE VERDICT Butler joins Jamie Mcdonnell and Ryan Burnett in Matchroom’s impressive bantamweight brigade.
FAST PACE: Butler expertly picks off the typically relentless Hall
QUICK AND EASY: Fielding turns in one of his finest displays to thrash Brophy in the opening round
PROBLEMATIC: Stalker eats a left hand as he struggles to break through