HISTORY was made at the Action Indoor Sports arena when local hero Lee Haskins shared the stage with his 19-year-old son. As befits a former IBF bantam champion, Dad topped the bill in his first outing for two years and took a straightforward six-threes verdict over Nicaraguan Sergio Gonzalez.
The Spain-based visitor was on his backside as early as the opening minute, but it was through poor balance rather than some hidden power in the southpaw jab that put him there; he never looked in trouble from then on.
Haskins, on the other hand, injured his left ankle when he stepped on a ring toblerone in the second, almost doing the splits as the offending object slipped from beneath him. A Gonzalez punch landed as he went down, but referee Lee Every correctly ruled no knockdown.
With his movement restricted, 36-year-old Lee coasted the remaining rounds to take a 60-53 verdict.
If that was a low-key return for father, Anton Haskins stole the spotlight with a brilliant debut performance to give ringwise Reading journeyman Ibrar Riyaz as uncomfortable an evening as the veteran has experienced in years.
Boxing with the confidence to be expected of someone with his hair dyed pink, the teenager brought back memories of Lee in his early days: the same southpaw stance, lead hand flicking upwards from his hip, and the same bewildering movement around a befuddled opponent.
Lee Cook’s 40-36 in his favour was a formality. Manager/promoter Chris Sanigar looks to have another talented ticket-seller on his hands.
Much of the pre-event publicity focused on Dan Sarkozi, like the senior Haskins reappearing after two years. But that absence – as expertly chronicled by Elliot Worsell in last week’s BN – included a stroke, followed by surgery to repair a hole in the heart and a battle to regain his licence to box.
Inevitably, the actual event was fairly anti-climactic, the Bristolian struggling to find any rhythm but nevertheless taking a 60-54 decision from Mr Every against Brierley Hill’s winless M.J. Hall.
The referee had to reprimand Sarkozi for extending his long left arm as a rangefinder before the bout became scrappy, southpaw Hall coming in, head low, and Dan yielding to the temptation to press down on his neck.
Despite the medics’ assurances, there must have been a few doubts going through Sarkozi’s mind. With this out of the way, he will surely display more of his customary skills next time around.
The scrap of the night, for all its 60-54 scoreline, came between Taunton light-heavy Pawel August and Czech import Ondrej Budera. It was not simply a case of survival, with the man from Pardubice, home of the world’s toughest horse race, revealing as much heart, durability and will-to-win as any thoroughbred.
Polish-born August scored regularly to the body and a vicious left downstairs finally dropped Budera in the fifth. He looked momentarily surprised when Mr Every invited him to continue, but fought back to share the final session.
In four-rounders, hometowner Tyler Davies moved to 7-0 with an uneventful 40-36 win (Mr Cook) over Cardiffian Rhys Saunders, while four more Sanigar recruits opened their accounts in the black.
In keeping with the show’s family theme, two of them were identical twins – they even weighed the same. Jake Demmery began tentatively before growing in self-belief to take a 40-36 score over Torquay’s Adam Bannister. Brother Ben Demmery, in contrast, started well before tall Warminster warrior Paul Cummings stepped up the pace and landed hard and often in the third. Ben needed an even last round to edge a 39-38 victory. Mr Cook handled both these Bristol boys.
Much was expected of Basingstoke’s Jacob Gabriel, a former ABA semi-finalist, but he looked ponderous in the first two against Blackburn’s Naheem Chaudhry. Late in the third, the Lancastrian caught Gabriel on the temple, scrambling his senses, and landed repeated rights to drive the house fighter into his own corner. Just as Mr Every looked on the verge of stopping it, the bell went and Jacob regained his composure to emerge with a 39-37 win.
Impressively bearded Frome first-timer George Pawley was aggressive throughout, but tended to smother his own work as he outpointed Melksham’s Liam Richards, Mr Cook scoring 40-36.
The Verdict Young Anton looks like a chip off the old block. One to watch.
Lee Haskins (129lbs), 36-4 (14), w pts 6 Sergio Gonzalez (131bs), 10-19-5 (7); Pawel August (181lbs), 10-0 (4), w pts 6 Ondrej Budera (181lbs), 10-13-1 (7); Dan Sarkozi (152lbs), 11-2, w pts 6 MJ Hall (150lbs), 0-44-2; Tyler Davies (137lbs), 7-0, w pts 4 Rhys Saunders (142lbs), 3-21-1 (1); Anton Haskins (135lbs), 1-0, w pts 4 Ibrar Riyaz (143lbs), 6-169-4 (3); Jacob Gabriel (143lbs), 1-0, w pts 4 Naheem Chaudhry (147lbs), 2-57-1 (1); Ben Demmery (150lbs), 1-0, w pts 4 Paul Cummings (155lbs), 2-40); Jake Demmery (150lbs), w pts 4 Adam Bannister (151lbs), 1-11; George Pawley (139lbs), 1-0, w pts 4 Liam Richards (140lbs), 12-61 (1).