THE MTK Global Golden Contract Tournament got off to a cracking start at York Hall, each of the featherweight quarter-finals producing action and stirring up plenty of interest in the semis (set for March). Gedling’s Leigh Wood showed good countering skills and sharp punching, flooring David Oliver Joyce twice and finally halting him in the ninth round. A right to the head had Joyce staggering back, and referee Marcus McDonnell promptly waved it off after 2-23.
Joyce (Mullingar) was down in the second and seventh rounds, and suffered damage under the right eye in the fourth that quickly spread. But the Irishman never gave up, and there were times, especially in the sixth and seventh, when I thought Wood’s tank might run dry.
Wood (the reigning Commonwealth champion) used his height and reach advantages from the start, circling and scoring with long southpaw jabs. Joyce kept up the pressure but was shoved over in the second – and then a right counter put him down. He was up quickly and forced against the ropes, where he fought back grimly.