London boxing fans were treated to another entertaining boxing show last night (Friday 27 September) with Mickey Helliet’s ’Too Fast, Too furious’ card, at the Camden Centre, Kings Cross, in London. This is about the fifth show to be staged by Helliet at the Camden Centre this year, and the venue is fast becoming a favourite for the fans. The ’Too Fast, Too Furious’ card did not disappoint, as a full house noisily enjoyed a well-matched undercard, which culminated in a thrilling main event.
The top of the bill attraction was a clash between Elliott Matthews 9-0-1(6kos) and Gary Boulden 7-11-2, for the vacant Southern Area middleweight championship. It was a match, which promised fireworks, pitting the rising Elliott against the battle- hardened Boulden, who despite his recent losing record, is always tough to beat.
Boulden also had the added incentive of having held this title for six months in 2011 before losing it to the current British champion, Billy Joe Saunders.
Elliott made a good start to the fight in the first round, coming forward behind his southpaw jab, and mixing in some good lefts, which had Boulden under pressure, and attempting to counter on the retreat. In the second round, Boulden stood his ground more and tried to drag Elliott into a toe-to-toe encounter with some good punches of his own. Elliott retained control of the action with his superior power and accuracy, as he continued to land his jab and fire lefts to the head and body, in what was already becoming a lively fight. Boulden was down early in the second from what seemed to be a loss of balance rather than a genuine knockdown.
The pace continued to heat up in the 3rd, as Boulden targeted the body, and looked to get inside; the result was a number of good exchanges from the pair. Halfway through the round, Boulden opened up a cut over the left eye of Matthews, and the sight of the cut seemed to galvanize both boxers, and the round ended with them fighting toe-to- toe.
Boulden had one of his best rounds of the fight in the 4th, as Elliott seemed to be bothered by his cut left eye. Elliott was still coming forward, but seemed preoccupied with shielding the injured eye, while Boulden was now outworking him with two-fisted barrages, which had worsened the cut by the rounds end.
By the 5th round Boulden had made the fight the kind of slugfest that he wanted it to be, and there were some great exchanges between the two, as Elliott looked to land his big punches, while Boulden countered well. At this point, Elliott, perhaps worried about the severity of his cut left eye, seemed to be looking for a big punch to end matters, rather than working off the jab as he had done earlier on in the bout. Towards the end of the round, as the two were engaged in a frenetic exchange, a cut was opened over Elliott’s right eye.
Boulden started the 6th round fast, as he forced Elliott back with a busy attack, which targeted Elliott’s damaged eyes. Elliott responded with some hard shots of his own, and while Boulden was throwing the more punches, Elliott’s punches were carried the more power.
Elliott’s corner did well to get the cuts under control and by the 7th round, the left eye had more or less stopped bleeding, while the right eye was kept under control, and didn’t pose a problem, as the fight progressed into the later rounds. With the cuts under control, Elliott seemed to regain his composure in the 7th round and begun to utilize his southpaw jab once more, and caught Boulden flush with some heavy shots to the head, from both hands. Boulden showed his admirable toughness by continuing to fire back himself, but the upper hand in the action had clearly swung back to Elliott.
In the 8th round, Elliott controlled the action with his jab, knocking Boulden’s head back with it, as Boulden now struggled to get inside as he had earlier. Boulden was now cut and marked over the right eye, and seemed to be feeling the pace for the first time in the fight, with Elliott looking the fresher of the two.
Both men wore the marks of battle, as they came out for the 9th round, with Elliott’s right eye now swollen, but he kept control of the action again with his jab, which was solid and accurate. Boulden looked tired, as he tried to force his way inside, but continued to bravely throw punches at Elliott, despite being picked off by Elliott’s jabs and left hooks.
The 10th and final round proved to be the most exciting round of the fight, as Boulden showed amazing heart and stamina, by putting everything into a last ditch effort to stop Elliott. He literally threw himself at Elliott, with a terrific two-handed attack, forcing Elliott to give ground and cover up. One or two shots by Boulden seemed to momentarily shake Elliott, but Elliott came back with some tremendous punches of his own to hurt Boulden. The crowd was on their feet, as the two engaged in a tremendous toe-to- toe exchange, which ended in more drama, when a clash of heads caused a cut to open in Elliott’s hairline. With blood suddenly pouring down his face, the fight was stopped momentarily for the doctor to have a look at it. Thankfully, the fight was allowed to continue and the two carried on where they had left off, exchanging punches toe-to-toe until the bell ending the fight. At the end, both boxers were given a rousing ovation by the raucous crowd. This fight was the kind of back and forth thriller that the southern area titles have long been famous for in boxing.
Referee Marcus Mcdonnell made Elliott Matthews the winner and champion by the score of 97-to-94. Although Matthews was a worthy winner, by virtue of his heavier and more accurate punching, Boulden had once again showed that you can’t judge a fighter simply by his win and loss record. This was such an outstanding fight that noone would complain if there was a rematch. Gary Boulden definitely deserves one.
There was a slightly bizarre situation after the verdict was read out, when it was announced that there wasn’t a belt at hand to award the new champion, but most of the spectators were too excited by the spectacle they had just had the pleasure to witness to let this disappointment bother them too much.
Hopefully, Matthews might be given his belt in the ring at the next Camden Centre show which is set for October 25th.
The ‘Too Fast, Too Furious’ show started off with five entertaining and sometimes controversial undercard fights.
One of the night’s biggest attractions, alongside the main event title fight, was the professional debut of Dempsey Fury 1-0, cousin of former British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. Fury faced Mark Till 0-1 who was also having his first professional outing. Fighting at super-middleweight, the pair made a lively start to their scheduled 4-rounder, with Till showing a decent jab, but Fury out landing him with his own, and showing more power in his shots. Fury was very impressive in the first round with some nice moves and a cross-armed defense almost reminiscent of James Toney. He jabbed well and opened up with both hands, landing both, to the head and the body, leaving Till to try and fend him off with the jab, as he tried to whether the storm. The fight changed in the 2nd round as Fury, after being in control in the opener, seemed winded, and Till perhaps sensing this, came at Fury with a two- handed assault of his own, which had Fury on the ropes. Fury still landed some good jabs, but his work was only sporadic and his defense was falling apart.
The 3rd round saw Till outworking Fury, who was having trouble lifting up his arms. Fury landed punches carried more weight, but his work was too little, as Till landed some good shots while the two engaged in some good exchanges. The round, though close, seemed to be one clearly for Till.
The 4th and final round saw Till with a clear upper hand, as Fury seemed to find it hard to throw a punch. With a large contingent of supporters in the audience, Fury tried to muster up some attack, but once again he was clearly out-worked, and out- punched by Till, who seemed inspired, and looked to have done more than enough to bring off a upset win.
When Fury was duly declared the winner, the result pleased the audience, but seemed to be very harsh upon Mark Till, to be quite blunt; he was robbed of what should have been a very good debut victory that would have made his name. Dempsey Fury showed enough in the 1st round of this fight to indicate that he is a genuine talent, but he needs to seriously look at his conditioning if he is to have any meaningful future in the professional arena.
Another outstanding fight of the night was light-middleweights Nathan Weise 8-4-2 (2kos) and Faheem Khan 5-1-2, who engaged in a contest that ebbed and flowed through out its six rounds. The contest was a good mix of styles, with southpaw Khan stalking and looking to land heavy punches, while Weise has a nice boxing style, which features a very good left jab.
The 1st round, Khan came forward and poked out his southpaw jab, but looking to land the left hand, while Weise boxed nice behind his left hand, bringing in an occasional right hand too.
Weise started the 2nd round as he had the opener, spearing Khan with his jab, as Khan stalked and both men showed some good feints while they looked for openings. Just past the midway period of the round, Khan landed a big left hand, and Weise went down heavily. Weise got to his feet at nine, but was clearly hurt, and found himself under heavy attack from khan for the remainder of the round.
The 3rd and 4th rounds saw Khan pretty much in control, as Weise concentrated on defense, and tried to fend off Khans attacks. Khan came forward, landing his heavy looking left hooks and uppercuts, but Weise showed both grit and guile to come through these attacks, while Khan made his assaults a little too wild in his enthusiasm to end matters.
Weise had recovered his composure enough by the 5th round to get his boxing back together and start landing his jab again, and making it difficult for Khan to land his heavy shots. Weise mixed his jabs up with some good right hands too; Khan didn’t help his cause by concentring almost entirely on his left hand, rather than varying his work a little or attempting to use his southpaw jab.
The 6th and final round was a close one, with Weise trying to keep his distance from the oncoming Khan, and pot shotting him with jabs and right hands, while Khan landed some good shots, but spent too long looking for the knockout punch.
At the end, Khan was a worthy winner, with the second round knockdown proving to be the crucial difference between the two men. Like the main event, this is another fight that would make a good rematch.
In a flyweight tussle that opened the evening, the promising Bradley Watson 7-0(2kos) got off to a slow start against Bulgarian Stefan Slavchev 3-8 (1ko) before upping the pace in the second, and stopping the Bulgarian with a tremendous body attack in the 3rd round.
Lightweights Ben Day 5-0-1(1ko) and Paul Haines 0-9-1 engaged in a lively four rounder, and Haines looked to be unlucky not to come out with what would have been the first victory of his career so far. Although the rounds were close, Haines seemed to be landing far more shots on Day, who seemed troubled by Haines’ aggressive and busy style. In the end, though Haines had to be content with a draw verdict, rather than a win, which would have been the upset of the night.
In his 2nd outing as a professional, Tony Milch 2-0 outscored the slippery Bheki Moyo 0-61 over four rounds. Despite his losing record, Moyo is a wily boxer, and managed to keep himself out of trouble, even while being comprehensively out-boxed by Milch.
Judging by the full house, this was another successful show for Mickey Helliet’s Hellraiser Promotions, and a further indication that the boxing scene in London is far from dead. At a time when the main TV channels seemed to have turned their backs on the sport, shows like this are keeping boxing alive in the UK.