By John Wharton at ringside: Michael Ramabaletsa maintained his recent resurgence as he stopped Connah’s Quay fighter Paul Economides inside seven rounds at the Liverpool Olympia, in the headlining bout on Promoter Dave Coldwell’s New Kids on the Dock 2 show.
South African born Ramabaletsa, who is undefeated since dropping an eight round points decision against Kal Yafai in March, has now won three fights on the bounce. Economides was brave but his come forward, pressure fighting style was tailor-made for the slick counterpunching Ramabaletsa. The Welshman started brightly and forced the South African on the back foot. He was throwing a lot of leather but missing with most of it. In the second round, Ramabletsa wobbled his opponent with a right hand but couldn’t capitalise and the Welshman was able to weather the storm.
Rounds three and four belonged to Economides, as Ramabaletsa seemed to take his foot off the pedal. The Connah’s Quay native took advantage and began to land more, often trapping the South African on the ropes. Despite being more successful, however, Economides’ left eye began to swell and Ramabaletsa began to concentrate his jab on the tender area around his opponent’s eye.
Early in the fifth, Economides landed a big right hand that brought his supporters to their feet but the South African took the punch without blinking. After conceding the previous two rounds, Ramabaletsa upped his work rate and the Welsh fighter was struggling with the movement and speed of his opponent.
Round six was a big round for Ramabaletsa, as he landed some big shots that rocked Economides. The swollen eye of the Welshman was getting much worse and the South African’s jab was landing consistently. A big left hook from Ramabaletsa, midway through, had Economides reeling across the ring but somehow he found the strength to dig in and survive the round.
In between rounds six and seven, referee John Latham walked over to Economides corner to check on the eye. Ramabaletsa came off his stool for round seven looking like a fighter who knew he had the fight in the bag. The South African began landing his jab at will and Economides was looking like a beaten man, with his left eye grotesquely swollen. Referee Latham called out a time out and took Economides over to the ringside doctor, who allowed the fight to continue. This proved to be a brief respite for Economides as, after two minutes and five seconds of round seven, the referee stopped the fight on the advice of the ringside physician.
Ramabaletsa’s remarkable renaissance under new trainer Johnny Roye continues and he improves his deceptive record 11-10(5), Economides, who has now lost three of his last four fights, falls to 13-5(0). After this defeat, he will need to regroup and consider his future.
Chief support was provided by Kirkby prospect Robbie Davies Jr 3-0(2), having his fourth outing in the paid ranks against colourful Frenchman Renald Garrido 10-5(2). The Miramas resident entered the ring wearing a lion’s head and then crawled around, to the amusement of the crowd. The scouse prospect started well and used his jab to keep the Frenchman off balance. And it was a right hand off the jab which sent Garrido skittering across the ring, before landing unceremoniously on the seat of his pants. The French fighter looked more embarrassed than hurt as he took referee Mark Lyson’s count.
Davies was using his jab well and landing shots to the body which Garrido was finding uncomfortable, and this continued throughout the second round. The French fighter, however, was making things awkward for the youngster and his constant pressure was beginning to make an impression on Davies.
Round three began with a bang and a shock, as a big right hand from Garrido deposited Davies on the deck for the first time in his career. The young fighter was hurt and, as referee Lyson gave him a standing eight count, he looked over to trainer Dave Tonks who was imploring him to keep his left hand up and go back to his boxing. Despite the best efforts of the Frenchman, however, the Kirkby resident was able to survive the round.
For the rest of the fight Davies boxed sensibly, switching from orthodox to southpaw as the Frenchman struggled to adapt. At the end of the fight, referee Mark Lyson awarded the bout to Davies by 58-54.
On the undercard, Jack Heath caused a big upset as he stopped previously unbeaten Steve ‘Junior’ Jones in the fourth round, after a big right hand wobbled him and forced referee Lyson to intervene. Jones protested the stoppage but most at ringside agreed it was the correct decision.
Liverpool’s Neil Perkins, now fighting under the tutelage of Dave Tonks, easily outpointed Chris Jenkinson over four rounds. It was an impressive performance from the man known as the Kirkdale Leopard but time isn’t on his side. The 34 year old will need to fight regularly and move quickly if he is to recognise the potential he showed as an amateur.
Birkenhead’s Sean ‘Masher’ Dodd improved his record to 8-0(2) with a shutout 60-53 victory over Ibrar Riyaz of Reading. Dodd, who has recently sparred Anthony Crolla, Derry Mathews and Kid Galahad, seems to be improving all the time and will be looking to push on next year.
Anthony Jevons made his comeback, after a long lay-off, to score a first round stoppage win over late replacement Sajid Khan.
Cameron Halfpenny D 4 Kevin McCauley;
Andy Jones WPTS4 Moses Matuvo
Dan Carr W RTD 3 Joe Tonks
Peter Spencer W PTS 4 Carl Allen.