WALE OF A TIME

At the third time of ask­ing, Josh makes good on a child­hood prom­ise

Boxing News - - Action - Andy Whittle

AT the ten­der age of eight, Barns­ley’s Josh Wale promised his dad Mick that one day he’d be­come Bri­tish cham­pion. Twenty-one years later, amid tears aplenty hav­ing out­pointed Dundee’s Jamie Wil­son 116-112 (Mike Alexan­der) and 115-114 twice (Howard Foster and John Latham), he draped the newly won ban­tamweight Lons­dale Belt over his dad’s shoul­der – a prom­ise hon­oured.

This Steve Gray-of­fi­ci­ated bout for the vacant Bri­tish crown wasn’t a clas­sic by any means. Wale’s bet­ter early work proved more telling, and al­lowed him to build an ini­tial lead. Some nifty foot­work en­abled him to slip in and de­liver his own scor­ing shots, be­fore danc­ing out of reach to slip Wil­son’s coun­ters. From the fourth round on­wards though, things proved far more even, with the game and gutsy Scot giv­ing more or less as good as he got. Ul­ti­mately how­ever, it wasn’t quite enough.

The method or mar­gin of vic­tory though won’t mat­ter to Wale, who was cut above the left eye in the last. Nor will it mat­ter to phe­nom­e­nally hard­work­ing pro­moter Stefy Bull. A box­ing man to his very core, this was Bull’s sec­ond Bri­tish cham­pion in the space of three short months.

The first of two clashes for vacant English ti­tles – this one be­ing for the feath­er­weight strap – pitched Hull’s Samir Mouneimne in against Sh­effield’s Razaq Na­jib, and ran its al­lot­ted 10-round dis­tance. Mouneimne, who suf­fered a cut above his left eye in the third and one above his right op­tic in the ninth, came out on top by virtue of a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion, with judges Alexan­der, Foster and Gray scor­ing 97-95, 96-95 and 97-94 re­spec­tively.

Razaq, bested in the scrappy early rounds, was cut above the left eye. But hav­ing been forced to play catch up, he came on from the half­way point and contributed well to an al­to­gether more en­joy­able sec­ond half. Na­jib nar­rowed the gap sig­nif­i­cantly, though Samir came again strongly in the last to make sure. Mr Latham ref­er­eed.

The light­weight version of the English ti­tle was con­tested by Rother­ham’s Lee Ap­p­le­yard and Skelmers­dale’s Steve Bro­gan, and this one proved en­ter­tain­ing while it lasted. Both men ham­mered away to the head with nu­mer­ous jolt­ing hooks.

Ul­ti­mately it was Ap­p­le­yard who tri­umphed. Bro­gan was given a stand­ing count in the opener, be­fore be­ing dropped to one knee by a body shot late in the fifth. With just 10 sec­onds of the sixth hav­ing gone, Mr Foster stepped in as Lee launched an­other as­sault.

An all-don­caster show­down for the vacant Cen­tral Area su­per-mid­dleweight belt be­tween south­paw Daniel Slaney and Richard Thomas looked like it might be over al­most as soon as it had be­gun when Slaney was wob­bled might­ily and left hold­ing af­ter ship­ping two par­tic­u­larly heavy rights to the head. He man­aged to tie Thomas up suf­fi­ciently enough to see out the ses­sion, but his for­tunes didn’t im­prove in the en­su­ing rounds.

The end­ing came 95 sec­onds into the sixth, af­ter Slaney had twice been given stand­ing counts when only the ropes had saved him from hit­ting the can­vas. The sec­ond such oc­ca­sion was suf­fi­cient for Mr Latham to wave it off af­ter count­ing.

Lo­cal Gavin Mcdon­nell ticked over in a six-rounder – ref­er­eed by Lee Innes and scored by Mr Latham – against the ex­pe­ri­enced Si­mas Volosi­nas. Gavin, who boxed for the WBC su­per-ban­tam world ti­tle in Fe­bru­ary, handed the Lithua­nian a steady beat­ing en route to an ex­pected 60-54 win. He did though pick up a cut to the right eye­brow.

The same two of­fi­cials over­saw a pair of fours. The clash be­tween Don­caster’s Tom Bell and Eve­sham’s Brett Fi­doe

fin­ished 38-37 in favour of the former, de­spite him be­ing floored late in the third just sec­onds af­ter see­ing what ap­peared a gen­uine knock­down of his own ruled out.

Mean­while, Read­ing’s Ibrar Riyaz

gave his usual 110 per cent be­fore fall­ing to a 40-37 de­feat at the hands of Don­caster’s Reece Mould, who suf­fered a lit­tle dam­age above the left eye.

Lewis Booth (Don­caster) and

An­thony Tom­lin­son (Sh­effield) se­cured shutout 40-36 vic­to­ries over stub­born op­po­si­tion in the shape of Worces­ter’s Michael Mooney and Ne­wark’s Fonz Alexan­der re­spec­tively. Mr Latham over­saw Tom­lin­son’s win, while he scored the Booth-mooney fight for Mr Innes.

THE VER­DICT Wale and Bull de­serve their mo­ment in the lime­light.

Photo: AC­TION IM­AGES/CRAIG BROUGH

AT LAST: Wale is fi­nally Bri­tish cham­pion

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