Danny Flexen reports on Danny Carr vs Lewis Adams and finds a small-hall boxing scene still thriving
YouTubers in main events. Dodgy scores every week. Long delays between televised fights. Does it all make you long for a more innocent time? When you could watch good, honest boxing, beer in hand, and be home for 8pm. Well then I have some good news for you: the small-hall boxing scene is alive and kicking, as I found out first-hand just yesterday.
People often ask me why I rarely attend shows live. It’s not because I am hopelessly jaded after over a decade covering the sport. I mean, I am, but that’s not the reason. I care for my young son almost every weekend but I was fortunate that, one of the exceedingly rare occasions I did not have him, there happened to be a boxing show taking place just down the road from me. An afternoon show that I could reach via public transport, too. Score! And so it was I ventured to the MTK Global event at Maidstone Leisure Centre, featuring mostly prospect vs journeyman matches but topped by a clash of unbeatens for the vacant Southern Area sup-featherweight title.
I bumped into a pair of champions on the way in, Martin J Ward and Ted Cheeseman. They apologised immediately, of course. The venue, holding several hundred fans, was split into three sections: the tiered seating at the back, around 30 round tables across the floor, hemmed in by the bar, and then ringside. I say ‘ringside’ but in this case a ringside seat involved taking a chair from next to one of the tables and pitching it up in front of the ring apron. At such close proximity to the action, I was kind of disappointed to not go home with blood on my shirt although, given every table was replete with pints of lager and around half the assembled throng were burly, loud travellers, I’m sure it could have been arranged.
Joking aside (for now), the vast majority of the supporters were good natured, although the amount and variety of unsolicited advice being yelled out must have proved mind-numbing for the boxers, especially when the tips, as was often the case, were mutually exclusive. “Get inside.” “Stay at range.” “Jab your way in.” “Don’t throw till you’re close.” “Leave!” “Remain!” I half-expected at least one fighter to stop still mid-round and tell their fans to shut up. Nonetheless it illustrated just how invested an audience can be when they genuinely care about the fate of the person they are there to see. And when they have put away six pints by 5pm. I would highly recommend the small-hall vibe.
Anyway, and finally, to the show itself. Sidcup’s Danny “The Cannon” Carr (aka DP Carr) is the new Southern Area champ, having defeated Lewis Adams of Basildon via razor-thin 10-round decision. The referee is the sole arbiter in Area title fights and Jeff Hinds scored 96-95, or five rounds to four with one even. I could not argue (well, I could, as anyone who knows me will tell you) given I had it 95-95, a draw. It was a fight of three halves, to coin a phrase, with some close early sessions before Carr took over in the middle rounds then, tiring, let a spirited Adams back into it. Overall, it was an excellent affair, with admirable effort, plentiful exchanges and no little skill.
Carr showed excellent footwork and lateral movement around the target. The rangier Adams failed to impose himself in the initial stages, despite fast hands. He gradually grew in confidence, though, catching Carr with left hooks as the latter advanced and the Kent man was cut on the left eyelid after heads came together in the fourth. Eddie Lam, Tony Bowers and Eddie Muscat, in the Carr corner, did a good job of controlling the gash while keeping their man calm, but it bled intermittently from then on. From the fifth to the seventh, Carr appeared to have taken the fight by the scruff of the neck, blocking the left hook and darting in and out to land to the body and with spicy right uppercuts through the guard. Adams roared back from the eighth, however, disguising the left behind a right hand and certainly outworked his rival in the last. Carr is now 11-0-1 (4), Adams 8-1 (1) and I’d like to see a rematch.
On the undercard, all the hopefuls beat all the trialhorses on points, as expected, but two veterans in particular came to have a go.
Southwark-based Italian Victor Edagha was unlucky not to get at least a round in his 73rd pro outing, losing 40-36 to Bromley’s well-supported but nervous James Hawley, now 4-0, at middle. Hawley posed and feinted more than he threw and was caught by a number of wild Edagha swings.
Fonz Alexander, who can always be relied upon to make a fight of it, battled hard against Jack “Dempsey” Ewbank of Ashford in an entertaining super-welter six they both seemed to enjoy greatly. Newark’s Fonz went down 60-54 in his 113th bout but always returned fire. Ewbank, now 4-0, showed good variety and judgement of distance but suffered a bad cut from a head-clash in the last.
The other three fights were fairly routine. Sheerness southpaw Martin McDonagh came back well from his recent defeat to Danny “Darko” Egbunike. The well-schooled McDonagh took every round of a six against Killamarsh’s unambitious (in this one) Lee Connelly. McDonagh, 6-1, is a very tidy boxer, with good head movement and footwork. He was outmuscled at times by Darko and, given he was 138 1/2lbs here, should see if he can compete at lightweight going forward.
Maidstone’s own Ultimate Boxxer finalist Lenny Fuller delighted his impressive fanbase with a facile 40-36 victory against southpaw MJ Hall, from Brierley Hill in the Midlands and experiencing his 50th professional fight. Super-welter Fuller switched stance throughout and landed a nice right off a feint in the second. He is now 9-1 (1).
Local lightweight Bradley Haxell overcame a slow start to quickly subdue Worcester “Mad Man” Michael Mooney of Worcester, winning every session in a four.