WALE OF A TIME
At the third time of asking, Josh makes good on a childhood promise
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.
AT LAST: Wale is finally British champion