SOME say there are too many titles in boxing, but the Southern Area belt is still worth plenty, judging by the Connor Marsden vs Boy Jones Jnr fight at York Hall on September 17. Topping a Priority Promotions bill, this 10-rounder saw Chelsea’s Marsden grind down Chingford’s Jones for a sixth-session stoppage after an exciting battle in which both had their moments. And both brought plenty of supporters, proving that local rivalries have a timeless appeal. Promoter Mark Prior hopes to repeat the trick at this venue on October 8 with Dominic Akinlade vs Jonathan Palata for the Southern Area heavyweight crown.
But back to Marsden-Jones, which matched two men unusually tall for the 135lbs division: Connor is about 6ft 2ins, Jones 6ft. In the early going Marsden controlled matters on the outside, jabbing well and landing the occasional right. Jones got going in round two, taking that session by getting inside and outscoring his opponent with hooks and uppercuts.
The third was quieter, but a right uppercut from Marsden underlined his quality, and the fourth saw the former Earlsfield amateur gain a control he would never lose. Unlike before, Connor was now the master on the inside as well as on the outside. With Jones fading, Marsden scored with combinations and raised on bump under the Chingford man’s left eye. Marsden drove his rival back throughout round five, working to the body as well as the head, and now it seemed a question of how long Jones would last. He showed guts to soak up plenty, but in the sixth Marsden jumped on him straight away and soon had him in trouble with heavy blows.
Jones took a pasting on the ropes for a good minute, with referee Mark Bates hovering until one final right-hander prompted a timely intervention with 2-40 on the clock.
Among those celebrating his fine performance was former Earlsfield clubmate Joe Joyce, the 2016 Olympic silver medallist who is now a leading pro heavyweight contender.
Injuries and other problems kept the undercard to three fights, but they produced some interesting winners. Harrow-based Romanian heavyweight Lucian Atana, all 6ft 9ins of him, looks one to watch after dispatching Michael Bassett in the first of a scheduled six. The former double Romanian amateur champion, trained by Jim McDonnell, has sound skills to go with his size – and used them to good effect here, easily evading Bassett’s wild attacks to land jabs and follow up with hurtful rights. A big right made his Bury St Edmunds opponent grab before another dropped him hard for an eight count. When more heavy punches made Bassett turn away in a neutral corner, referee Bates rescued the Czech Republic-based boxer with three-minute mark. Atana has now won all five pro fights inside the distance (three in the first round) and will no doubt find that many heavies won’t be in a hurry to fight him.
Another first-round winner was Islington’s former English amateur champion Masood Abdullah, who needed just one minute 40 seconds to dispatch Petr Docekal. A southpaw from Teplice in the Czech Republic, Docekal had advantages in height and reach but once Abdullah found his range it was all over. A volley of blows to head and body pinned Docekal in a corner and made him go down. He struggled up just as the towel came in from his corner and referee Chas Coakley counted him out.
Opening the show was a welterweight four-rounder that saw a successful professional debut for Londoner Lekan Obiora, who outscored Dario Borosa from Gornja Stubica in Croatia. The Adam Martin-trained Obiora, a 28-year-old software test analyst for Sky, showed sound basics as he jabbed his way and followed up with rights. One such punch, to the body, made Borosa go down for a count in round two but the Croatian reached the final bell without any further scares, albeit well beaten as down in referee Coakley’s 40-35 scorecard.
The Verdict A big win for Marsden, while Jones Jnr promises to come again despite third straight defeat.