Lancastrian Suite, Gateshead – 29th Sept 2018.
One half of British Boxing Blog made the short trip from East to West Gateshead on Saturday evening and was rewarded with another cracking show of North East boxing at the Lancastrian Suite as a Teesside invasion came to Tear Up Tyneside. Only the 4 fights went ahead in the end but all were very high on quality and full of talented prospects.
Reece McAllister opened the nights proceedings on his pro debut and scored a 39-38 points victory over Chris Jenkinson. McAllister had been hard to match in the build up to the fight and Jenkinson stepped in late and had 7lbs on the Darlington lad.
McAllister started well but had a point deducted early on by ref Ron Kearney for successive low blows (the second was slightly harsh in BBB’s opinion – Sorry Ron:) however he didn’t let this deter him, and if anything it helped his performance. The debut nerves disappeared and the talented McAllister let his boxing do the talking as he finished the fight strongly and picked up a deserved points victory over the tough Jenkinson.
This was a useful exercise and a great learning fight in the world of pro boxing for McAllister. Despite being no stranger to combat sports, with an extensive background in Muay Thai, the lessons learned on his debut in the pro boxing ring will stand him in good stead for the future. He’s undoubtedly a talented lad and is in the right hands with Peter Shepperson at the DBMA Gym in Darlington. We look forward to seeing more of him in future and hope he stays active.
It was Hartlepool’s turn to take centre stage next, as the extremely stylish super lightweight Luke Cope moved to 2-0 in the pro ranks with a routine 40-37 win over Telford’s Dean Jones. The “Barmy Army” was once again out in force in Gateshead to support Luke, just like they were in the past to support Peter and Dan. Luke gave them plenty to cheer and started well from the first bell, throwing a lovely jab and moving well around the ring, leaving Jones chasing shadows at times. The movement and back foot fighting was a feature throughout the four rounds, with Cope’s amateur pedigree shining through.
The aforementioned jab was a good weapon throughout, with constant encouragement for it from Imran Naeem in his corner; it was used successfully to stop the game Jones in his tracks whenever he tried to advance forward.
It was the first time I (Steven) had watched the talented Hartlepool prospect in the flesh and I was impressed with both his stylish ring craft and dominance throughout. To be fair to Jones he was game throughout and rallied in the final round to take a share of the spoils in that round, with both him and Cope exchanging punches in the centre of the ring; however a 40-37 points win was thoroughly deserved for the Hartlepool fighter. Cope (who brother Dan wouldn’t confirm if he was the best of the boxing brothers at ringside when quizzed) moves to 2-0 and will continue his learning curve under the likeable Teesside trainer Imran Naeem. Cope is certainly one North East prospect to keep an eye on as we move into 2019.
After a brief interval and a fascinating Q&A session with Sunderland’s boxing legend and our MC for the evening, Billy Hardy, the action resumed with Middlesbrough’s John Green making his long awaited comeback to the ring after over 3 years out of action. If ring rust was a worry for the former Northern Area lightweight champ then those worries will have dissipated very quickly as the Boro man started like a train against Belfast’s Alec Bazza.
Green’s trademark all action, high energy style was there from the off, however this was coupled up with some very intelligent boxing too. As well as his forward advances, Green also showed he was more than capable of boxing off the back foot and bewildering Bazza with some lovely counter punching and combinations.
Green was dominant in the first two rounds, with promoter and manager Steve Wraith commenting on his fantastic shape despite having over three years out of the ring: “at the minute he believes he can take on the world”
His dominance was to pay off in the third round however as he sent the usually durable Bazza sprawling to the canvas with a beautiful right hook, left uppercut combination much to the delight of Pete Shepperson in his corner. Bazza was up but clearly unsteady on his feet and with visible damage to his mouth, ref Ron Kearney had seen enough and waved off the contest at 2:50 in the third round.
It was the comeback of dreams for the Teessider and it was great to see him back in the ring. Much credit has to go to Shepperson for lighting his fire again, getting him back in love with the sport and whipping him into such impressive physique
Hopefully he’ll stay active now and build on this impressive comeback, as the North East boxing community is a better place with John Green in it.
The final contest of the evening was an extremely entertaining battle of the little fella’s as Mohammed Waqas continued his comeback against Sheffield ‘journeyman; Anwar Alfaldi, in his second fight in as many months after five years out of the ring following defeat to Anthony Nelson.
Alfaldi is a familiar name on the circuit and we’ve seen the Sheffield native against many North East prospects before and it’s fair to say the tricky customer more often comes to frustrate than to fight. However he clearly made an exception in this case as he made Waqas work for all four rounds of his hard fought victory.
Waqas started the fight well and boxed very nicely to take the opening stanza, however Alfaldi fought back in the second and had particular joy when pinning his opponent to the ropes.
Waqas relaxed again and boxed cleverly in the third round, however a rousing finale from Alfaldi saw both men go toe to toe and exchange fire in the final round, much to the enjoyment of the Gateshead crowd.
Mo Waqas prevailed 39-38 on referee Ron Kearney’s scorecard, which was a fair reflection on a very entertaining fight.
BBB would like to thank Steve Wraith and Phil Jeffries for their continued support and allowing us access to another fantastic show.