The eighth annual Summer Rumble event brought boxing back to the appropriately named Stadium of Light. Gorgeous sunlight bathed the impressive setting and enhanced the spirits of those in attendance. Promoter Phil Jeffries admitted he was looking forward to a blockbuster match-up to headline the tenth anniversary show in a couple of years but this card was stacked with local talent and had something for every boxing taste. As an aside it was lovely to see Jeffries and fellow promoter Steve Wraith working side by side to maximise the talent available in our native North East.
Joe Hill (2-0) threatened to take his brother Tom’s “One Bomb” moniker with a stunning KO victory over debutant Matt Johnson (0-1) from Leicester. The popular Redcar boxer eased his way into the contest, following trainer Dave Binns’ instructions to box behind the jab. The first stanza was fairly uneventful but the younger Hill was in control. Johnson also appeared relaxed and came to win. He had fleeting moments of success but Hill was never in danger of losing the contest. If anything Johnson was the one who had been hurt without being in serious trouble. That was until the 3rd round anyway. Hill left him slumped on the floor, against the ropes with a sharp left-right combination.
Johnson admitted to ref Ron Kearney afterwards that he hadn’t seen it.
Turbo Terry Tyres didn’t have things as straight forward but he ensured the second bout of the afternoon didn’t go the distance either. Well respected (by us anyway) Imran Naeem implored his man to tighten his guard, particularly the back right hand as he looked to establish his own jab. Tyres however had other ideas. He allowed Zygimantas “Zygis” Butkevicius to land wild looking hooks and just when it looked like the Hull based Lithuanina was clawing his way back in he ate a stunning left hook from Tyres. It wobbled him and Tyres turbo’d in intent on the finish. He initially smothered his attack but stepped off enough to land another clean hook and the subsequent flurry was enough to see the referee end the contest. Butkevicius dropped to 1-10 while Tyres motored on to his third win from 3 professional contests, securing his first early finish in the process.
Naheem Chaudhry (0-21) celebrated his 23rd birthday in familiar fashion as he lost on points.
A party trick he’d performed 20 times before. Terence Wilkinson (1-0) showed a good array of work over the 4 round distance and while he will face more fire as his career develops it was the archetypical learning fight. Dave Ritson encouraged his debutant to move his head and Wilkinson obliged. His jab looked stiff and body shots were sinking in spitefully. Chaudhry though is a tough customer and took a lot on the gloves and arms, to his credit. There is no shame in not stopping him and Wilkinson will take plenty from his professional bow.
Arguably the fight of the night (day) was contested by Tom Hill (4-0) and Michael Williams. Dave Binns continued his busy afternoon by mainly trying to ensure Hill didn’t spend too much time on the ropes. In his defence, Hill didn’t take any consistent punishment and looked to land some brutal counters of his own. Michael “Duck Boy” Williams (2-2) played his part and fought gamely before exiting like he’d entered. In his trademark sombrero naturally. The official score of 40-37 was more than fair and both men can hold their heads high.
Newcastle light-heavyweight prospect Lawrence Osueke (4-0) continued his perfect start to professional life with a convincing 40-35 win over Edgars Sniedze. Binns was once again in the corner although this time it was a temporary arrangement. Osueke is normally trained by Oliver Harrison who couldn’t attend today’s event. Binns stepped in and admitted Osueke’s smooth performance was little to do with him. Another example of just how effective a well drilledjab can be, Osueke introduced a swift back hand to trouble Sniedze throughout. The only knockdown of the fight was scored during the opening round and although Sniedze wasn’t too hurt, it set the tone for a very accomplished performance. Edgars Sniedze dropped to 6-22 with his latest defeat.
The one I’d been looking forward to most was the professional debut of Joe “The Benwell Bomber” Laws. There was a keen sense of anticipation to see the popular Geordie in action. All 400 or so of his following support seemed to agree judging by the raucous atmosphere. Normally, this is the time where I’d praise the young man for keeping his composure despite the inevitable debut nerves. This wasn’t your typical debut though. Laws raced out from the opening bell like a black and white buzz-saw. There was little evidence of a jab early on but plenty of endeavour and pressure. A vicious overhand right found a home (and went wayward) as Laws piled on the pressure. He showed a fantastic engine and desire to put on a show. There were head clashes and low blows a plenty. Laws was in fact docked a point during the second round for repeated shots below the belt. This may have hampered many other young men. He was not deterred however and loved every minute of it. Right up until he landed the knockout blow to the head of Sylwester Walczak. I urge any boxing fan to watch this young man as he is sure to provide entertainment and action-packed fights.
After almost a year out of the ring, Darren Surtees returned seamlessly against legendary journeyman William Warburton (26-135-10). Surtees knew exactly what to expect from such a seasoned operator and boxed accordingly. He was controlled and composed throughout. His jab, recurring theme here, was on point and dictated much of the action. Warburton eased his way into the contest and looked more active in the latter rounds but Surtees was too cute and quick. The referee’s scorecard of 60-54 perfectly reflected the closing action of the afternoon.