TWO-WEIGHT CHAMP

Andy Whit­tle sees Der­byshire col­lects the ban­tamweight belt to be­come a two-di­vi­sion Cen­tral Area king

Boxing News - - ACTION -

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.

Photo: SAM YOUNG

STORY OF THE FIGHT: Clay­ton [left] has some suc­cess but the bet­ter work comes from Der­byshire

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