By Andrew Wake at ringside: Mexborough prospect Stuart Brookes put three years of inactivity behind him at the Doncaster Dome on Friday night by outboxing Steve Spence over six rounds.
Brookes, 29, took time away from the sport after the tragic death of his brother Scott, but didn’t look rusty as he targeted Spence’s body before doubling his left hook upstairs in the opening round.
Spence came fighting back in the second and managed to get on the inside until Brookes repelled his advances with a short right hand and uppercut which landed flush.
A clash of heads in the third left Brookes bleeding from high on the scalp while Spence had claret running from his ear but it didn’t cause either man to stop pressing forwards.
Brookes, now 12 – 0 (3 KOs), connected with a solid left before digging away to the body in the fourth and, although things got a little close and untidy, the Yorkshireman stayed in command of the final two stanzas.
Referee Michael Alexander scored it a shut out at 60 -54.
Former amateur standout Tommy Coward wasted no time racking up his sixth pro win.
The unbeaten welterweight lived up to his “Machine Gun” nickname by rapidly firing off the hooks. A hard left dropped opponent Liam Griffiths in the opening minute and although the Bognor Regis man was back on his feet at the count of “eight” another relentless Coward assault soon had him in trouble and Mr Alexander moved in to wave it off. The time was 1.30.
Another young prospect extending his unbeaten record was Doncaster super-bantam Gavin McDonnell.
McDonnell, twin brother of British, Commonwealth and European bantamweight champion Jamie, saw off tough Scotsman Ryan Nichol 40 -36 over four-threes on the card of Howard Foster.
Gavin made McNichol miss several times before punishing him with his jab several times in the first two sessions.
On occasion the Doncaster man stood a little upright as he moved away following his own attacks and had to absorb a solitary pot shot, but on the whole he was in charge, firing off good on-twos with the Scotsman backed up against the ropes.
Wakefield debutant Andy Townend was arguably the performer of the night. The 22-year-old lightweight had a reputation as a puncher in the amateurs and his power certainly helped him settle into the pros well.
In the end he had to accept a 40 – 36 mark over Crawley’s Robin Deakin on the card of Mr Alexander, but he’d landed some heavy artillery and at one point looked like he might have closed the show early.
Initially Deakin’s constant movement did manage to frustrate the debutant. However a hefty left hand midway through the second dropped the visitor close to the ring strands.
Deakin was up quickly and Townend moved in for the finish when the action resumed. But “Rocking Robin” hadn’t got through 39 previous contests by not having his wits about him and managed to grit his teeth and get through the storm.
“Pretty Boy” Connor Nixon looks to have the makings of a good prospect.
The bantamweight debutant showed the fast hands and clever movement which saw him win five national amateur titles as he smartly outboxed Wolverhampton’s veteran trier Delroy Spencer in another four rounder.
The standard for the fight was set earlier in the opening frame when Nixon rattled off a speedy combination and Spencer, fighting for the 140th time, merely shook his head and beckoned him in again.
Nixon continued to find a home for his rapid shots throughout the bout but Spencer is a fighter that has got through such a long career by being almost bomb proof.
Indeed, you’d have to trace his record back 34 fights since anyone beat him inside the distance. Mr Foster scored it 40 – 36.
Stainforth’s Charlie Thompson went over old ground in beating London-based South African Bheki Moyo over four-threes.
Thompson had beaten the visitor at the same venue in March this year and made no mistake again as solid one-twos down the pipe from a compact stance forced Moyo onto the back foot throughout.
A clash of heads in round three was the worst thing Thompson had to deal with as it opened a small nick near his left eye but he continued to box well to earn a 39 – 37 mark from Michael Alexander.
Well supported debutant Adam Dingsdale had to travel a long way for his first pro outing but made sure the trip home was a joyous one by posting a shutout 40 – 36 verdict over Nuneaton’s Kristian Laight.
Laight, fighting for the 119th time, landed the odd counter shot when Dingsdale came forwards but was mostly on the retreat as the first-timer laid siege to his ribcage.
When Laight did manage to wriggle free he again got off the odd potshot, but Dingsdale stuck to his task by confidently boxing his way through the last two rounds.