ALWAYS-popular James “Jazza” Dickens was two knockdowns to the good at Olympia but had to contend with a late fight back from never-say-die Aussie Nathaniel May before being crowned victorious.
Beaten only once, May looked headed for loss number two when, already down late in the fourth from a combination upstairs, he renewed his acquaintance with the canvas in the next session after walking onto a right in centre ring.
It turned out he was made of stern stuff and he had the better of the last three rounds to leave the scores looking a little more respectable. Jazza might well have slowed down the straight but his early superiority, coupled with those knockdowns, proved more than sufficient at the finish.
Scoring judges Vincent Dupas (France), Jean Pierre Van Imschoot (Belgium) and Steve Gray all went for Jazza by 96-92, 97-91 and 97-92 respectively while Mike Alexander refereed.
Boxing for the first time this year and ticking over up at super-middle having booted pans to retire into touch, St Helens puncher Martin Murray secured a wide 10-round points victory over gritty Portuguese operator Rui Manuel Pavanito. Referee Steve Gray’s card tallied 99-92 at the finish.
Pavanito had “B52” emblazoned on his waistband but seldom looked like bombing Murray out. Yet he proved a brave enough fighter who in the first three, closer, sessions more or less held his own.
However, he found himself increasingly dominated as Martin settled into his stride, particularly so early in the penultimate session when for a moment it looked like he might just wilt under fire.
Manchester’s former WBO lightweight champ Terry Flanagan banked win number 34 by knocking out Tanzanian Jonas Segu, who had been down as early as the first, 25 seconds into the fifth of a scheduled eight.
Truth told, the man dubbed “Black Mamba” was out of his depth. Increasingly disconsolate, he was almost thrown back in for the fifth by his corner when he plainly wanted out.
No surprise then that he should go down in his own corner from the first assault of the round and stay down until referee John Latham completed his count.
His dynamite finish against cocky Sabri Sediri last time out having gone viral, Liverpool’s heavy-handed Sam Maxwell duly registered the quickest victory of the night – just 83 seconds of the second had elapsed when he dropped Nicaraguan Oscar Amador for the duration of referee Gray’s count.
Spanish-based Amador, beaten comprehensively over six by Huddersfield’s Tyrone Nurse a week earlier, had been decked by a Maxwell right as the bell sounded to end the opener. With his nose bloodied by a big looping right, he was nailed coming in and sent to all fours where he remained for the entire count.
Another home favourite banking an early win was Natasha Jonas who in a scheduled six against Bec Connolly caught the Swindon-based lady off balance and floored her twice inside the opening session.
Maybe a little over eager in that opener, gutsy Rebecca ensured the second round was closer. But from that point onwards the advantage swung increasingly towards southpaw Natasha, who found the target with a number of eye-catching lefts.
The finish came when, hot on the heels of a three-shot salvo to the head, she slammed home a chopping left, deemed sufficient by Mr Gray for him to intervene with 53 seconds of the fourth remaining.
Cruiser Craig Glover cheered the locals with a one-sided win against defensively-minded Czech Jiri Svacina with little doubt the show opener was ever going to be scored anything other than 60-54 by Steve Gray.
In another shut-out six, this one reffed by John Latham, Liverpudlian southpaw John Quigley dominated against Alexander Zeledon, a Nicaraguan who was marked below the right eye and finished with a bloody nose.
Bury’s Mr Latham also refereed the six between Liverpool’s unbeaten Gerard Carroll and Seaham’s Jordan Ellison which finished 58-56 in favour of the former despite him having a point docked in the last.
I had just a point separating the pair at the finish after some very close rounds with Ellison, ignoring a cut to the left eyebrow, giving as good as he got for long periods.
The Verdict Dickens and Murray tick over while waiting for title chances in the near future.
James Dickens (125lbs 2oz), 27-3 (11), w pts 10 Nathaniel May (126lbs), 21-2 (12); Martin Murray (169 1/2lbs), 38-5-1 (17), w pts 10 Rui Manuel Pavanito (165lbs 2oz), 10-9-1 (5); Terry Flanagan (139lbs 2oz), 34-2 (14), w ko 5 Jonas Segu (134lbs 6oz), 19-9-2 (6); Gerard Carroll (137 1/2lbs), 11-0, w pts 6 Jordan Ellison (138 1/2lbs), 11-23-1 (1); Natasha Jonas (135 1/2lbs), 8-1 (6), w rsf 4 Bec Connolly (131 1/2lbs), 2-6; John Quigley (147 1/4lbs), 16-2 (3), w pts 6 Alexander Zeledon (146lbs 2oz), 5-15-3; Craig Glover (208lbs 3oz), 10-2 (8), w pts 6 Jiri Svacina (202lbs 9oz), 13-36 (2); Sam Maxwell (145lbs), 12-0 (10), w ko 2 Oscar Amador(147lbs), 10-21 (1).