Andy Whittle sees Derbyshire collects the bantamweight belt to become a two-division Central Area king
FIFTEEN months after being crowned the Central Area super-flyweight champion, Bentley’s Craig Derbyshire was celebrating once more, having halted Heywood’s Lee Clayton to pick up the vacant Central Area bantamweight title.
Tenacious as ever, Derbyshire began well, but Clayton enjoyed moments of success, most notably with a heavy right in the third round. The problem for Clayton, though, was that whenever he landed anything of any substance, Derbyshire would immediately come roaring back and, in doing so, maintain the upper hand.
The end came at 2-04 in the fifth. The under-fire Clayton, already having been down earlier in the session, was saved by referee Steve Gray as Derbyshire launched another unanswered assault.
Altrincham’s George Brennan was always going to be up against it going in with unbeaten Leeds stylist Zahid Hussain for the vacant Central Area featherweight belt. Although he had his moments, despite picking up a bad swelling below his left eye, there were several occasions when Brennan’s attempted shots fell just a fraction short of their elusive target.
Hussain, competing in his first 10-rounder, looked the more assured for the most part en route to a 97-93 victory from referee Gray. The winner worked well behind the jab from distance, regularly beating Brennan to the punch.
It had been the funeral of Ibrar Riyaz’s father just a few days previously, yet the Reading journeyman still commendably boxed a six-rounder against Morecambe’s Reece Macmillan.
Having started particularly strongly, Macmillan saw his lead erode a little as Riyaz came back into it in the later rounds. Referee Jamie Kirkpatrick marked 59-55 in favour of Macmillan.
There were varied fortunes for three new starters in four-rounders. There were shutout 40-36 victories for two, but the third came a cropper late on in a slugfest.
The two points victors were Bolton’s former England representative Khaleel Majid and Bury’s Ben Ridings. Majid overcame Canning Town southpaw Lee Hallett who, while still winless, dug in well against an opponent who was always going to get the nod from referee Kirkpatrick.
Ridings, meanwhile, reigned supreme against Lydney’s Lewis van Poetsch,
despite conceding a shedload of weight. Taller and keeping things long, Ridings’ lead hand was effective. Although van Poetsch scored with a few decent counter-punches in the later sessions, they were insufficient to earn him a round on Mr Gray’s card.
Having survived a particularly heavy opening barrage from Nottingham’s Ben Douglas, Bolton debutant Ben Thomas
duly played his part in a hard-hitting affair, during which both battlers gave as good as they got.
Thomas looked to be heading for a close victory going into the last round, but Douglas, on the back foot and out of nowhere, slammed in a counter which flattened the onrushing local. The bout was waved off immediately by referee Kirkpatrick at 2-14. Thankfully, after being given oxygen, Douglas was able to leave the ring under his own steam.
Hyde’s Dale Arrowsmith found himself in the unusual position of being in the home corner against Langold’s Luke Middleton. He made the most of the occasion, too, acting as the aggressor and earning 40-36 from Mr Kirkpatrick.
There was a rare home outing too for Manchester’s Sam Omidi, whom the same official adjudged a 40-37 winner over Dewsbury’s Saif Cheema. Omidi grew in confidence with every passing round in what was a gritty encounter
Two more fours – the first overseen by Mr Kirkpatrick and the second by Mr Gray – lasted the full course. Warrington’s Danny Craven triumphed 40-36 against Hull-based Lithuanian Zygimantas Butkevicius at the conclusion of a highly watchable bout. Meanwhile, hometown switch-hitter Sahir Iqbal
won 39-37 against Atherton’s William Warburton.
THE VERDICT A decent crowd at Bolton Whites Hotel witness this latest offering from busy promoter Kieran Farrell.
STORY OF THE FIGHT: Clayton [left] has some success but the better work comes from Derbyshire