ON a stacked show at Liverpool’s Echo Arena, the scheduled heavyweight 10-rounder between local favourite David Price and Birmingham’s Kash Ali ended in disgrace for the latter, when he was disqualified for biting.
In the opener, Price kept Ali at a distance with his stiff jab, while the Brummie boxer attempted to get into range to land his big overhand right. The visitor targeted the body effectively in the second round, but suffered a bloodied nose early in the third. Things got worse for Ali when he was deducted a point for hitting around the back of the head. He also bit Price on the arm during the session, although the referee missed this shocking infringement.
After controlling proceedings with his jab in the fourth, Price found himself on the receiving end of some meaty rights in the next frame, but retaliated well with a solid body shot. A clumping right hand badly wobbled Ali, who clung on to Price’s waist, causing both men to tumble to the mat. With Ali lying on top of Price on the canvas, the West Midlander inexplicably bit his opponent again, this time on the stomach. Having witnessed the shameful violation, the referee had no choice but to disqualify Ali.
The much-anticipated super-welterweight grudge match between unbeaten rivals Anthony Fowler and Scott Fitzgerald turned out to be a thriller, with hometowner Fowler – a significant pre-fight favourite – dropping a split decision to his Preston foe.
Both fighters pumped out sharp jabs in the opening round, with the intense activity continuing in the second. Fierce shots flew once more in round three, with Fowler seeming to edge the exchanges for the most part. However, Fitzgerald connected with some crisp counters in the fourth, and Fowler finished the fifth with a cut above his left eye after a clash of heads.
The sixth produced further engrossing action, before Fitzgerald ended the seventh with two eye-catching rights. The momentum looked to be with “Fitzy” in round eight, during which Fowler was warned for punching low.
The ninth round was scintillating. Fowler stormed into his adversary, landing a barrage of clean blows, but Fitzgerald displayed an impressive chin to stand up to the assaults, even managing to fight back and score with some strikes of his own. After buzzing Fowler with a rattling left hook in the 10th and final frame, Fitzgerald followed up with the same shot to deck the Merseysider. The knockdown proved to be crucial, with Fitzgerald winning 95-94 for two of the judges, overriding a 96-94 tab favouring Fowler.
Also on the card, Liverpool’s former WBO super-welterweight titlist Liam Smith was too good for Stourbridge’s brave Sam Eggington in their slated 12-rounder. Smith’s varied and accurate attacks left Eggington marked up at the end of the first round, and the visiting battler was forced to swallow some painful punches in the second.
With his right eye rapidly closing, Eggington had to withstand yet more punishment in the next session, but he displayed great courage to stand up to some hurtful incoming fire in the fourth. More of the same followed in round five, giving the referee no option but to terminate the one-sided proceedings.
Further down the bill, Kirkby’s British super-lightweight champion Robbie Davies Jnr wrested the European crown from Joe Hughes by unanimously outpointing the Malmesbury man in a competitive and bruising battle. Scores of 115-114, 115-113 and a far-too-wide 118-110 saw Davies claim the victory.
A strong second-half performance from Philip Bowes resulted in the Leytonstone southpaw successfully defending his Commonwealth super-lightweight strap with a unanimous points win over Liverpudlian Tom Farrell. Tallies of 118-111, 118-110 and 117-112 were posted in favour of Bowes.