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18 JUNE 2018

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McDonnell Wins Bantam Barnstormer

Jamie McDonnell with belts (pic: Javed Iqbal)
Jamie McDonnell with belts (pic: Javed Iqbal)

By Andrew Wake at ringside: Doncaster’s Jamie McDonnell can look towards the world stage after defeating Stuey Hall in a thrilling 12 rounder on Saturday night.

The Yorkshireman retained his European and Commonwealth straps and added the British title with a deserved unanimous decision.

Judges scores read 116-114, 115-113 and 116-113.

McDonnell, who previously held the domestic bauble but never defended it, used lateral movement against his more upright foe in the early going and detonated more than one quality right hand.

But Hall remained calm and by using a solid jab he soon had control of the centre of the ring. McDonnell buzzed around the circumference of the canvas but seemed unable to get close to the Darlington man.

Things really began to heat up in the third session. Hall, 31, connected twice with heavy blows but McDonnell gritted his teeth and quickly fired back with a pair of sharp punches of his own.

Scores were razor tight on this reporter’s card going into the fifth. However, this was the session where McDonnell began to pull away. Hall tried to pressure, and at times his attacks were eye catching, but in truth very little penetrated the home fighter’s guard. In contrast, McDonnell’s output was lower but he had more snap and variety.

By the seventh stanza, Jamie had also began to add some flush body punching in to the mix and, increasingly desperate, Hall fell short repeatedly with his jab. An uppercut to the jaw from McDonnell a session later was easily the best shot of the evening.

However, sensing that he was being cast adrift on the cards, Hall made a huge effort to get back into the fight in the championship rounds. After checking the resistance of McDonnell’s chin with huge right hook in ninth, the visitor then made the sweat spray from his brow in the tenth.

Hall pressurised again in the penultimate round until a wicked blow from McDonnell once again turned the tide of this engaging contest.

And McDonnell pressed forward his advantages in the final stanza, marking up Hall around his right eye and opening up a cut over his left, before the final bell tolled.

Beforehand the new unified champion had talked about potential title opportunities at world level. He is ranked highly by the WBC and really has no peer at domestic level, but it is likely that he will face former European kingpin Malik Bouziane next before embarking on fights at the highest level.

McDonnell on the attack
McDonnell on the attack
Jamie McDonnell
Jamie McDonnell
“Mighty Mackem” Tony Jeffries took his ledger to 9 – 0 - 1 (6 KOs) with a shutout eight rounds points win over Paul Morby but seems to above slipped way behind his 2008 Olympic peers.

While the likes of James DeGale and Frankie Gavin are in or around title class, 26-year-old Jeffries is still very much in the development stage of his career and, while winning handily, lacks the spark needed to push him forward.

Jeffries started out well against his southpaw opponent. He was well in command of the opening two sessions as he pushed Morby back with his jab before following through with a solid right cross.

However, as the rounds went on things never changed and Jeffries – bleeding from a fourth round clash of heads – failed to show any kind of punch variety that would be required if he was to mix it at the top of the domestic super-middleweight pile.

Referee Howard Foster scored it a predictable and uninspiring 80-72.

Carl Johnanneson’s first outing as a full fledgling lightweight proved a successful one as he halted Tottenham’s Jamacian-born Mark McKray at 2.41 of the sixth round.

Johanneson, 33, began to walk the Londoner down as early as the second round and connected with several weighty right hands to the head.

McKray came back with shots to the body in the fourth but Johanneson merely dusted himself down and fired back with a stunning left and right that rocked the visiting fighter’s head back.

And in the sixth, similar blows had McKray in a world of trouble. Several times he looked like he was on the verge of collapse but cleverly spat out him gumshield to buy time.

It wouldn’t be enough though, as now bleeding badly from the nose, he shipped another hefty right hand over the top of his guard and referee Mark Lyson finally intervened.

Former ABA champion Joe Hughes got a good work out in this fourth paid outing. The man from Malmesbury, Wiltshire picked up a 60-54 verdict over 18-year-old Talbot Green debutant Tony Pace but the wide score doesn’t tell the full story.

Pace made a good account of himself and clearly hadn’t travelled from Wales to just make up the numbers. He got some decent straight punches but Hughes’ amateur pedigree and smoothness was the deciding factor in each of the six stanzas.

Sheffield’s Liam “Cannonball” Cameron put memories of his first professional defeat behind him with a good display of punching against Essex’s Costas Osben.

A left hook to the body at 1.05 of the second session dropped Osben to the canvas and try as he might, he was unable to beat the count of referee Mark Lyson.

This was Cameron’s first fight under the stewardship of former light-heavyweight world champion Clinton Woods.

Sunderland’s Glenn Foot, a former amateur foe of Cameron’s, improved to 5-0 (3 KOs) by outboxing Atherton trial horse William Warburton over four-threes.
The Dave Binns-trained prospect looked for the big punches early on but Warburton is as tough as they come so Foot resorted to using his superior skills to garner a 40-36 margin from Mr Foster.

Another young fighter extending his unbeaten run was Halifax bantamweight Scott Gladwin. The Yorkshireman, now 3-0 (0 KOs), encountered a few problems along the way but ultimately earned a 39-38 mark over veteran Andy Roberts.

Gateshead’s Robert Dixon (real name Craig) continued his ring education with a four-threes encounter against experienced journeyman Carl Allen.

Allen, a veteran of 122 paid contents, landed on occasion but Dixon was in charge throughout and thoroughly earned his 40-36 mark from Mr Lyson.

Upcoming Prizefighter light-middleweight contestants Takaloo and JJ Bird both marked time with routine four round wins.

“Tak” saw off Steve Spence of Scunthorpe 40-37, while Bird beat Chris Brophy by the same margin. Both bouts were fought over four two minute rounds.

All photos from Javed Iqbal
Carl Johanneson Closes in on McKray
Carl Johanneson Closes in on McKray

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