THE Steve Goodwin–Michael Ballingall promoted show at the Mountbatten Centre in Portsmouth on December 5 served up a number of entertaining contests.
In front of a packed house local lightweight Garry ‘The Real’ Neale (8-0-0) won his first strap by securing the Masters Bronze lightweight title with a solid victory over Slovakia’s tricky but experienced Elemir Rafael (29-87-2). Neale’s work was sufficiently effective in the first two rounds that it looked like an early stoppage could be on the cards until a hand injury sustained in the third reduced his workrate and let Rafael back into the contest. Rafael did an awful lot of holding and tying up but nonetheless Neale stayed composed and boxed very well over the eight round distance, keeping a good defence and pressuring the cagey Slovakian with textbook body shots and short uppercuts on the inside. The crowd was on its feet in the last as Neale poured in the punches in an effort to bring about the stoppage but he was forced to settle for a wide 80-72 verdict.
The likeable Neale is now being touted for a Southern Area shot possibly with a move down to super-feather, and on this showing he certainly looks ready to mount a campaign at that level.
Comebacking light-heavyweight Joel McIntyre put on a heavy-handed display of power punching to dismiss Romanian Mihai Macovei with an eye catching fourth round stoppage. It would be fair to say that limited Macovei (7-16-0) is unlikely to be appearing on anyone’s pound-for-pound shortlists, but the nature of McIntyre’s win was encouraging. McIntyre (12-1-0) ruthlessly hammered Macovei to the mat three times in the third during which he was fortunate to be saved by the bell. McIntyre continued where he left off in the fourth, clinically lowering the boom and obliging the referee to wave it off to the delighted reaction of the crowd.
McIntyre was coming off a loss to Bushey’s Miles Shinkwin for the Southern Area title in July and it is clear from his performance here that the loss hasn’t sent him backwards or blunted his ambition. Joel has always had more power than his record suggests (two stoppages in thirteen bouts) and it may have been a confidence issue that has previously prevented him from letting it all hang out when presented with an opportunity for a stoppage. Fresh from sparring Billy-Joe Saunders in Spain for his win against Chris Eubank Jnr, it must be hoped that McIntyre maintains his willingness to trust in his own ability. If so we can expect to see McIntyre back in title contention soon, and Frank Warren could make a good match if he offers McIntyre a shot against recently signed Shinkwin for the Southern Area belt. On this form Joel is likely to be a different proposition from the boxer Shinkwin beat in July.
Guildford’s Thomas Kindon moved to 3-0 at super-bantamweight by outpointing Latvia’s Dmitrijs Gutmans (2-2-0) over four rounds. Both boxers were involved in some good exchanges throughout the entertaining bout, as Gutmans took the centre of the ring while Kindon showed effective footwork and quick hands to get his punches home. Gutmans own handspeed caused some difficulties for the 19 yr old who showed a fast jab of his own to clinch a well-deserved points verdict.
At lightweight Ryan Davies (5-0) showed his sharpshooting qualities to take a very wide 40-36 verdict over Lubus Priehradnik of Slovakia (9-59-0), who was thoroughly outclassed by the silky skills of Davies. The Aldershot man has bags of natural ability and throws a great variety of punches with the type of fluidity that makes it look easy to the observer, and while he has yet to be tested against a decent level of opposition, the talented youngster is definitely one to watch for the future.
Elsewhere on the bill Titchfield’s Danny Couzens (6-9-2) returned from a year out of the sport to comfortably outpoint Lancashire’s Curtis Gargano (0-6-1) over four rounds, while Leigh Park cruiserweight Biola Kudas made his professional bow with a third round stoppage of Bulgaria’s Lyubomir Metodiev (1-4-0). The right hand which stopped Metodiev as he rushed in was delivered in dramatic fashion, but the understandably amateurish Kudas has some stylistic changes to make if he is to make a name for himself in the pro game. At light-middle another debutant, Jesse Goodhand-Tait of Guildford appeared fortunate to come away with a draw against Hounslow’s Harjinder Gill (0-10-0), who pushed the Guildford man right to the wire with an aggressive display. Perhaps due to nerves, Jesse did not show enough head movement and failed to take advantage of his height and reach advantage, allowing Gill to get close far too often than necessary. It will be interesting to see if Goodhand-Tait can absorb these lessons and improve in his next outing.