By Iain Dolan
York Hall was as hot and sweaty as ever but, as ever, the atmosphere made the sweating and discomfort all worth it. Of the four main fights, three were even fights of fine margins and the other a virtual shut out from a very talented prospect, so everybody got their money’s worth.
The main event was an intriguing match up between Lucien Reid and Brad Foster for the British and Commonwealth super bantam straps. The fight ebbed and flowed throughout with Foster sustaining a cut in the 2nd (the ref indicated it came from an accidental butt to the judges). I felt that Reid had done enough to get the nod but the fight was scored a majority draw. The majority in attendance, however, thought Reid had won also but he was the local lad and had sold a lot of tickets. (as had Foster to be fair but not as many). It is worth noting that the much maligned Ian John Lewis was the only judge who scored the fight the way most of the crowd did. 116-112 against 114 twice from the other two ringside judges.
Sunny Edwards put on a clinic while widely outpointing brave but overmatched Hugo Guarneros at Flyweight for some important looking but meaningless belts. Edwards is slick and throws lovely looking shots but it would be good to see him being a bit busier and maybe putting opponents like this away. An early finish to any of the main four fights and I could have made last orders in my local. If that doesn’t motivate young Sunny to start sitting down on his punches a bit more, then I have to question his commitment to the sweet science. There was a bit of a scuffle in the crowd after the Edwards v Guarneros fight which is something very rare at York Hall. It was quickly snuffed out by security though.
Another close fight was between Zak Chelli and Kodi Davies at light heavy and although Chelli dropped Davies in the 2nd, the Welshman rallied and slowly turned the tide. Some of it was scrappy (orthodox v Southpaw so that was always likely) with Chelli getting several strong words from the ref for holding and Davies using his head a bit which went largely unnoticed. In the end, a narrow but deserved points win for Davies (96-93, 96-94 and 97-92) a victory he dedicated to his sister who had recently passed away. Davies is now mandatory for a shot at the British light heavy title.
Fight of the night was Dec Spellman vs Shakan Pitters for the English light heavy title. Non stop action, which resulted in a bloody nose for Spellman as early as the 4th that got progressively worse. It was Pitters’ cleaner work and busier jab that earned the victory but Spellman was always competitive and never stopped coming forward. Both fighters had also sold plenty of tickets which made for a good atmosphere throughout.
York Hall always delivers (sub Saharan conditions notwithstanding) and credit to Frank Warren for putting on a card of such competitive fights. Only 13 days till the show at the Royal Albert Hall. Two more different but equally brilliant boxing venues, you could not find.