“I’VE NEVER seen anything like it,” opined promoter Eddie Hearn as he leaned over the top rope following the demolition in less than an hour of not one but both of his bill toppers. Though I suspect what he was actually thinking would have been a little too strong for printing in a publication such as this. Moments earlier, and having seemingly set an early course towards the retaining of his IBF featherweight strap against veteran Spanish battler Kiko Martinez, Ingle-trained Kid Galahad had been spectacularly halted, a hammer of a right, the very first punch – indeed the only punch – of the sixth round, sending him over flat on his back. It left referee Steve Gray no option other than to wave an immediate halt with just six seconds on the clock to allow medics to attend. Galahad, very much against the run of play, had been flattened with just moments of the fifth remaining by a roundhouse right which came from an absolute mile back. The Spaniard, while having had moments of success, had not really threatened beforehand and then, from nowhere… Boom. Game changer.
I must admit I was one of those beforehand who thought Martinez was surely well past his best. I’d initially seen him topping a bill in Nottingham when boxing Rendall Munroe for the European title back in early 2008 and yet here he was 13 years later still topping the bill. My guess is that after this showing it won’t be the last occasion either. Going in, Galahad was ranked third in the world by BN with Martinez, quite rightly given he hadn’t scored a victory at world level for seven years, unrated. Usually that result in itself would’ve been surprise enough but no, a theme had been developing.
Around an hour earlier, hugely popular Denaby Main girl Terri Harper, the WBC super-featherweight belt-holder, had come unstuck against confident Alycia Baumgardner, a glancing right robbing her of her senses in centre ring right at the start of the fourth round leaving her stood, stock still and hands down, momentarily out on her feet. Liverpool referee Mark Lyson did an excellent job of jumping in to prevent the possibility of the Detroit challenger connecting with anything further.
Baumgardner had begun well, fast hands and a busy jab along with a couple of early looping rights giving her the first two rounds for me before a quieter third that saw little daylight between the pair. And then that glancing right from the lady aptly known as “The Bomb” and it was all over with just 23 seconds of the fourth having elapsed.
Bournemouth’s Chris Billam-Smith retained his European cruiserweight title at the first time of asking with a one-sided victory over bearded Frenchman Dylan Bregeon who suffered a cut ear as early as the second round and a bloody nose and swelling above the left eye before the night was done. Scores at the finish read 120-109 and 119-109 twice, appropriately reflecting what had gone before and it wasn’t a classic. Chris, already well ahead, proved busier and the aggressor for the most part and he kicked on from the fifth round during which he scored with a succession of uppercuts. Though he finished particularly strongly he never looked like halting the stubborn man from Nantes. Referee of the gritty affair was Sweden’s Hakan Sindemark.
A clash between two unbeaten Yorkshiremen for the vacant Central Area welterweight title saw Wakefield’s Dom Hunt (trained by Junior Witter) take the 98-93 decision of referee Mr Gray at the conclusion of his scrap with Doncaster’s popular James Flint. Starting strongly I had Dom three rounds to the good before Flint, his nose already bloodied, made up a little lost ground and though the Doncaster man might have nicked a couple of the quieter sessions he was being both outworked and outboxed and seldom looked like being able to turn things around.
Sheffielder Donte Dixon took a 77-73 win over tattooed Scot Jordan McCorry in an oft exciting, oft bad-tempered eight overseen by Howard Foster. McCorry was sent to all fours by a glancing right downstairs and then losing a point in the sixth for holding against a bigger opponent. It looked as if Jordan was on the verge of being thrown out in next with Mr Foster rapidly losing patience but he cleaned his act up in the last and made it through to the finish.
Local super-middle Khalid Ayub, dubbed “Super-K” secured a second win of his short paid career by outpointing still winless Croatian Stanko Jermelic 40-35 for referee Howard Foster. Picking up the pace from the halfway stage Ayub sent the man from Split over with a left cross towards the end of the third, a punch delivered with such force it lifted the visitor of his feet.
Oldham’s William Cawley having excelled in the amateur vest, laced them up for the first time as a pro and banked a 40-36 win over Chorlton’s tough Stephen Jackson.
Boxing at a rare old pace and mixing things up nicely after picking up an early warning for letting one slip low, William enjoyed himself and whilst Jackson, to his credit, played his part and had a go, it was impressive stuff from the debutant.
Two further bouts were boxed early in the evening and both overseen by Steve Gray reaped shut out rewards for the home punchers. High Wycombe super-featherweight Raven Chapman proving too much for her opponent, Poland’s experienced Karina Kopinska over six, and King’s Lynn feather Stevi Levy winning her sprint over four against Estonia’s Polina Golubeva who, having made a fight out of it after being bested early doors, picked up a cut to the scalp when heads clashed late.
The Verdict: At the grand old age of 35 Martinez still looks like he has plenty to offer.