Kelly cruises to victory and IBF title shot

August 4, 2001 – By Paul Upham: Australia’s IBF No.1 light heavyweight Glenn Kelly maintained his unbeaten record with a unanimous eight round points decision over Adelaide’s Jamie Wallace in the main support bout to Hussein-Glinago at the Bankstown Bellevue Function Centre in Sydney on Friday night.

The next mandatory defence for Roy Jones Jr’s IBF light heavyweight title, 30 year-old Kelly, 28-0-1 (16), enjoyed the workout even though he was under some pressure because a loss or serious injury could destroy his world title aspirations.

The 26-year-old Wallace, 15-24 (3), was very tough and better than his record suggests. He is one of those boxers who just loves to be in the ring and has taken fights at late notice while under-prepared to help out many a promoter.

Wallace started quickly with his jab in the opening round with Kelly measuring his opponent as he opened up in the second half of the round. Kelly always looks at his best when he is using movement and not standing flatfooted in front of his opponent.

Better body speed and footwork from Kelly allowed him to control the action better in the second round. He showed good punch speed and threw some powerful left hooks to the body.

Kelly was in his comfort zone in the third as he dictated the pace, although he was carrying his left hand very low which allowed Wallace to land some right hands, one which clipped Kelly, surprising him at the end of the round.

Fighting within himself, Kelly opened up with good hooks and uppercuts when Wallace was on the ropes over the latter rounds and even though he was looking for the knockout, Wallace is rather awkward and has only be stopped three times in his career.

Kelly finished strongly in a fight he dominated throughout without ever being in trouble. His jab was excellent and he wore a game Wallace down over the distance.
The judges scored the bout unanimously for Kelly, 80-72, 80-72 and 80-71.

The IBF Pan Pacific champion is also rated WBA No.3, WBC No.6 and WBO No.2 and now looks towards October 28 when Roy Jones Jr. must defend against him or vacate the IBF title.

On the undercard, 26 year-old Gairy St. Clair 18-2-1 (7) made a successful Australian debut with a unanimous points decision over Mendocino Sebua 10-3-1 (3) at lightweight. The former Main Events fighter from Guyana was 54-4 as an amateur and is now training with Australia’s world champion trainer Johnny Lewis.

St. Clair was very slick, switching between orthodox and southpaw and had Sebua backing up throughout the fight. He landed good right hands and rips to the body, showing good speed and movement.

At the urging of Lewis, St. Clair stepped up the pace in the sixth and put on a very skilful performance and was a few classes above Sebua. Judges scored the bout 60-56, 60-55 and 60-54 all for St. Clair, who will face Australian lightweight champion Danny McGrail on Kieran O’Connor’s next card, August 17 at Randwick Racecourse.

Team Fenech’s Armenian 2000 Olympian Vic “Raging Bull” Darchinian, 5-0 (2), continues to impress, recording a 1:16 minute third round knockout of Dave Picknel 0-2 at featherweight. The 25 year-old southpaw had a 150-20 (71) record as an amateur and dropped Picknel three times with good hooks to the body and is thought of very highly by trainer Jeff Fenech.

Team Fenech’s 26 year-old Cameroon Olympian Sakio Bika, 4-0 (2), showed good power in recording a four round points decision over 30 year-old Tunisian Kamel Chater 1-1 (1) from the Tszyu Boxing Academy in Sydney at middleweight. Bika had a 115-21 as an amateur and continues to improve under trainer Jeff Fenech. Chater is a slick southpaw who did well to avoid Bika’s best shots early before finally being worn down. Bika was a little wild with his punches but won a unanimous decision 40-36 on all three judge’s scorecards.

Australia’s 24-year-old 2000 Olympian Danny Green, 2-0 (2), recorded a 2:09 minute second round TKO of Frank Ciampa, 4-5 (2), at super-middleweight. Originally from Perth, Green is now training with Team Fenech in Sydney and is very poised in the ring with a tall tight style and long reach. He has the skills and power for a good career in front of him. Three left hooks and one right hand hurt Ciampa with the referee stepping in and stopping the fight.

Tanzanian Brown Enyi, 1-2-1 (1), and former kick boxer on debut Gino Zampogna, 0-0-1, fought to draw over four rounds at super middleweight. Judges scores were 39-37 Enyi, 39-38 Zampogna and 38-38 in a very close fight.

The 30 year-old Steve McIvor, 4-1 (2), returned to the ring for the first time since 1995, dominating for five rounds against Anthony Courtney, 5-3 (2), at light- heavyweight, before being disqualified with 37 seconds remaining in the contest by referee Charlie Lucas after pushing his opponent to the ground. McIvor lost one point in the 5th round for wrestling Courtney to ground and had been warned for rough tactics.

A full house crowd of over 2000 people were in attendance, with the action televised live around Australia on Fox Sports with the commentary by John Casey and former world title challenger Troy Waters. Andy Raymond was the ring announcer.

Paul Upham
Contributing Editor
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