By Dewi Powell at ringside: As Gavin Rees won the European lightweight crown at the Cardiff International Arena – the venue of his 2007 world title win, promoters Matchroom put on an under-card which had something for everyone.
Former European lightweight champion Jason Cook ground out a 60-55 decision in a real fiery encounter with French live-wire, Mounir Guebbas. The opening rounds were heated as Cook (10st 10 1/2lbs) unloaded his favoured left hook to body and head, only for Guebbas (10st 6 1/2lbs) to shake the shots off and purposely take more. Cook, now 28-3-1, found it tough to make a dent in the Frenchman as Guebbas is one of the toughest journeymen around, having not been stopped in 27 bouts. Opting to box, Cook saw out the remaining rounds on his toes popping shots with both hands. It’s unlikely that Cook will be seen so high in weight again as Guebbas, 13-19-5, made it uncomfortable at times.
Current Welsh champion, Jeff Evans, ticked over with a shut out points win over durable Sheffield fighter, Dean Walker over four-threes. Always on the front foot, Evans (12st 5lbs) dictated the exchanges with a tight defence, a steady jab, right crosses and effective inside work which left Walker with a grazed and bruised face. The continually improving Evans is now 7-1-1, while Walker (12st 4lbs) slips to 12-32-3.
Merseyside’s light-welterweight Steve Williams came out on top over game opponent, Araik Sachbazjan to improve his record to 11-1-0. The action was repetitive as both met shoulder to shoulder in centre ring with Williams (10st 2lbs) producing the more eye-catching work, using his physical advantage to score with notable body shots. Sachbazjan (10st 1 3/4lbs) wasn’t as accurate but a handful throughout. The bout was scored 59-57 for Williams as he continues his path back to British title level, while Sachbazjan is now at 12-19-0.
Liverpool veteran Tony Dodson kept busy as he got through a routine four-threes against Aberystwyth’s awkward Jamie Ambler. Jabbing first, Dodson found success throughout with straight shots as he kept his head down and out of danger. The bout never caught fire with Ambler (13st 3lbs) seeming happy to hold too often and his output wasn’t often enough. Dodson (13st, 8lbs) now campaigning at light-heavyweight, was down in literally the final second although he was convinced it was a slip. It didn’t matter as ringside scorer Wynford Jones had it 38-37 in Dodson’s favour who can now look ahead to more meaningful domestic fights with his record at 27-6-1. Jamie Ambler is now at 9-47-2.
Hometown super-middleweight Frankie Borg secured his first career KO with a heavy second round stoppage over London’s Costas Osben. Borg (11st 12 1/2lbs) overcame Osben’s (12st 6lbs 1/2lbs) attempts to fend him off with a jab to find range with a right-left hook combination to put Osben down. When Osben rose Borg waited for an opening to land another left hook, referee Grant Wallace counted to 8 before waving the contest off. Borg improves to 4-0 and he’s yet to lose a round in the ring, with a KO of this magnitude he may have caught the eye of the promoters, Matchroom.
Irish debutant Eamonn O’Kane opened the show and he made the perfect start to his professional career with a first round domination over Lithuanian Dmitrijus Kalinovskis. O’Kane (11st 8lbs), a close friend of Paul McCloskey, pounced on Kalinovskis from the start with an unstoppable up-close series of hooks on his rangy opponent, never letting him off the ropes. A right hook to Kalinovski’s liver dropped him in the corner and once he rose Kalinovski (11st) seemed to expect another body attack but O’Kane unleashed a left hook to the head to drop Kalinovski, now 1-2-0, for referee Clark Joslyn to wave the bout off.
June 3, 2011