TRUTH told, I hadn’t expected an awful lot from Canadian heavy Chris Norrad despite his having won all 17 in an injury-plagued career going into the bill-topper against former world title challenger Hughie Fury at Victoria Warehouse.
I had though hoped he might put up some semblance of a resistance for a few rounds at least in a bout fancifully scheduled for 10 rounds and going out live on terrestrial TV – so I was somewhat disappointed at his general non-participation before succumbing 69 seconds shy of the end of the second.
Hughie, looking for a confidence-restoring victory and throwing hurtful shots aplenty, had made the early running, scoring with a couple upstairs, one of which, around the back of Norrad’s head, wasn’t to the liking of referee Mark Lyson.
Fury then switched his attention to the body, by which point the New Brunswick man had already begun to retreat into defensive mode.
A chopping, overhand right from Fury, who was working behind the jab, towards the end of the opener left the visitor in no doubt of what he was up against, as did another right downstairs just prior to the bell.
It was two further chopping, clubbing rights that heralded the finish and saw Norrad down in Hughie’s corner, referee Lyson completing his count with Norrad only beginning to attempt to haul himself upright as the toll reached nine.
Crayford super-feather Alex Dilmaghani, having been absent from these shores while enjoying spells in both Mexico and Canada, returned for his first bout on home soil in six years and duly picked up his 19th career win when Prague opponent Martin Parlaghi succumbed to an injured left hand 44 seconds into the eighth of a scheduled 10-round contest and was forced to withdraw.
I had Alex one, maybe two rounds ahead at the time John Latham waved it off and while it had been watchable, Parlaghi hauling himself back into contention after Alex had opened an early lead, this one never really caught fire.
Hartlepool’s Savannah Marshall was a multi-title winning amateur of whom much is expected now that she has made the transition to the paid ranks. So quite what she would learn by going in against 40-year-old Bulgarian Borislava Goranova, a regular visitor (and loser) in British rings, is very much open to question.
Goranova, who debuted way back in 2000, one could argue is usually durable enough without ever causing anything by way of a threat. But she was way out of her depth here and, dropped to all fours by a punishing left downstairs, succumbed to defeat with referee Lyson completing his count just 71 seconds into a scheduled six.
Son of the promoter Michael Hennessy Jnr, on the back of over 100 amateur bouts, dipped a toe in professional waters for the first time and emerged victorious over six against Poland’s Adam Grabiec, who lost his gumshield under fire early on. Referee Lyson scored 60-55, with the see-saw final round, by which point Michael had it as good as in the bag, doubtless being the session scored level.
Kane Gardener, from Beswick in Manchester, and Birmingham’s Ben Fields had served up an exciting six-rounder in Bolton just 14 days previously, Gardener getting the nod on that occasion 58-56 from Phil Edwards.
So with Fields stepping in as a very, very late sub hostilities quickly recommenced and on this occasion, over four, it was the man from Digbeth, the aggressor and pressing throughout though on the recieving end of a number of telling jabs, who claimed the spoils with referee John Latham awarding him a 38-37 verdict.
Gardener had been the victim of a flash knockdown as early as the first and that ultimately proved pivotal, though I had Fields a slightly wider winner, in what was by some distance the fight of the night.
This would make for a cracker of a decider over eight and I understand that may well be a possibility.
Middleton super-lightweight Connor Lynch impressed early doors in dominating Braintree’s Dylan Draper en route to taking the 40-36 verdict of third man Mr Lyson, while just a week after upsetting Harley Benn, Canning Town battler Lee Hallett, cut above the left eye when heads clashed in the second round of a slated four against Manchester’s unbeaten Jake James, lost by way of a technical decision when after 70 seconds of the following round a doctor ruled the wound too bad to let him continue.
Mr Lyson’s card read 30-27 at the time of the stoppage.
Liverpool’s Marcel Braithwaithe, having his first bout since slipping to a maiden defeat at the hands of Brett Fidoe, returned at bantamweight and rounded off proceedings by posting a particularly one-sided 60-54 victory over Bradford’s still-winless Jake Pollard, who at times, especially towards the finish and with his left eye closing, looked like he might just wilt if Marcel stepped it up another notch.
The Verdict Hughie needs a significantly better opponent next time out. As does Savannah.