By Paul Upham in Gosford: The Nitro Fight Night promotion at the Central Coast Leagues Club in NSW ended in controversy on Friday night when a wild brawl erupted inside and outside the ring after Ahmed Elomar had scored a devastating 1st round knockout win over highly touted prospect Willie Kickett.
The previously unbeaten Kickett had exploded at the opening bell, hurting Elomar with a series of fast straight right hands. 25 year-old Elomar 15-1-2 (8) gritted his teeth in weathering the blows, but appeared hurt and wobbly on his legs. Just as Kickett moved in for what could have been his own knockout win, Elomar launched the punch of his career, a perfect overhand right which landed on Kickett’s chin and knocked him out cold before he even hit the canvas.
21 year-old Kickett 13-1 (5) was so badly hurt he could barely lift his head, as referee Brad Griffiths waved off the fight.
The real problems then began as twenty-five to thirty of Elomar’s supporters stormed the ring in celebration. Initial jubilation then descended into ugly scenes as the Elomar fans taunted the large entourage supporting Kickett. All the while, the stricken boxer was being tended to on the canvas by the commission doctor and his trainer Craig Christian. Elomar’s trainers Billy Hussein and Tommy Mercuri attempted to clear an area around Kickett, who was still laying flat on his back, dazed and confused.
Verbal taunts between the two supporter groups then exploded into physical punches, as a number of scuffles broke out at ringside. Cans and bottles then began to rain into the ring as innocent bystanders scurried for cover. Chairs were also thrown, as a number of local boxing identities and officials attempted to calm the chaos.
Fox Sports, which was televising the card live around Australia, cut short their telecast as the confrontations got out of control. The mindless actions were comparable to the infamous Riddick Bowe-Andrew Golota riots at Madison Square Garden in New York, just on a smaller scale.
Minutes later with the situation still out of control, lead Fox Sports commentator Andy Raymond headed into the ring amongst the mayhem, took the ring microphone and attempted to calm the melee. “There are women and children present, think about what you are doing,” Raymond pleaded. “Everything is being filmed and the police are on their way.” Suddenly, order was restored. Raymond’s actions were critical in ending the violence.
As bad as it was, it could have been much worse. Recognition and praise must be given to those who helped end the riot, which thankfully, resulted in only some cuts and bruises and no serious injuries.
Many people bravely attempted to quell the fighting, getting themselves between the warring parties. Some observed included promoter Angelo Hyder and his assistants Pat Kennedy and Marc Bargero. John McDougall, Craig Waller and Dr John O’Neil from the NSW Boxing Authority. Referee Brad Griffiths. Boxers Hussein Hussein, Billy Dib, Adam Wills and Steven Wills. Ring announcer Rick Powell. Kickett’s trainer Craig Christian. The entire Fox Sports television crew also assisted and performed their duties under adverse conditions.
There were animated discussions amongst officials and fans after the chaos had ended, many suggesting that Elomar should be stripped of his knockout win and the bout declared a no-contest.
Craig Waller from the NSW Boxing Authority confirmed however that Elomar’s knockout win would stand.
“We will be reviewing the video tapes of the incidents,” Waller told SecondsOut, “and any boxer or person licensed by the NSW Boxing Authority found to be acting inappropriately could be facing lengthy bans.”
What should have been a great night of boxing will only be remembered now for all the wrong reasons. Elomar should have been celebrating his best career win, instead, he will be asked to explain the actions of his supporters. Some members of Kickett’s supporter group should also be explaining their actions.
Lost in all of this is the future of Kickett, whose management team had been negotiating a world title fight for him early in 2009. Celebrated very early in his career as a genuine world championship prospect, he will now have to come to terms with suffering one of the most brutal Australian knockout losses seen in many years.
Date November 7
Location Gosford, NSW, Australia
Ahmed Elomar w.ko.1 William Kickett
Steven Wills w.tko.4 Moses Seran
Jamie Pittman w.tko.2 Eduardo Rojas
John Cotterill Jr w.ud.6 Ruben Kennedy
Jackson Asiku w.ud.6 Rey Olarte
Lucas Mason w.ud.4 Shane Moore
Note: SecondsOut’s Paul Upham is a commentator for Fox Sports and called the Ahmed Elomar-Willie Kickett fight and subsequent riot from ringside.