MARC LEACH won the vacant British super-bantamweight title by outclassing Chris Bourke in front of the BT Sport cameras at York Hall on Friday.
This all-southpaw 12-rounder had seemed a 50-50 fight beforehand – but turned out to be a rout as the Salford man won unanimously for judges Marcus McDonnell (117-111), Bob Williams (116-112) and Terry O’Connor (116-113).
I had it much wider at 119-109 for Leach, giving Bourke only the sixth, when he finally got close enough for long enough to land some punches on his nimble, faster rival.
Otherwise, Leach was a step ahead throughout, moving around the ring and countering superbly as Bourke plodded ahead in straight lines. Leach’s slick footwork was matched by his excellent upper body movement, which allowed him to slip most of the punches coming his way.
Round after round went into the bag for the Salford boxer as he piled up points with jabs and followed with jolting right hooks. Even in the quieter sessions, such as the fifth, Leach still provided the better quality work and while Bourke roused himself to snatch round six, his success was only temporary.
By now the Londoner had other reasons to worry: a mark that had started under his left eye in the fourth was bruising badly and his nose was beginning to bleed heavily.
The closing rounds were painful to watch as Bourke, his face a mask of scarlet, kept marching in without ever changing his angles or choice of punches – and Leach kept picking him off. John Latham refereed.
Another bout between two portsiders was the super-featherweight 10 that saw Hackney’s Frank Arnold stop Paul Holt in round three.
It was competitive for two rounds, with a left hurting Holt in the second only for the Birmingham man to fire back later in the session to send Arnold’s gumshield flying out of the ring.
But when Arnold turned his attentions downstairs in round three, the end soon came. Two body shots put Holt down for an eight count and a follow-up attack had him rocking on the ropes, prompting referee Kieran McCann to rescue him at 2-07.
Announced as the chief support was the light-heavyweight six-rounder that saw Chatham hope Karol Itauma stop Jiri Kroupa in the third.
The Czech Republic’s Kroupa was a cut above the usual import, even budging Itauma with a right in round two, but the Kent southpaw kept the pressure on, jolting Kroupa with lefts and bloodying his nose until referee McCann rescued him. Time was 1-36.
Another six ended in round three when Welling super-welter Jake Henty stopped Slovakia’s Henrich Herak. Southpaw Henty landed a lot of punches but the import took them all before falling apart in the third, referee Williams intervening at 1-49 after Herak had been jolted by several hard lefts.
Only one of five four-rounders lasted the distance and it saw Portsmouth southpaw super-feather Jamie Chamberlain win a 39-37 verdict from referee Williams over rugged Romanian Constantin Radoi.
Chamberlain ended covered in blood that flowed from his nose, a cut on his left eye and another on his forehead. But he produced the cleaner work, usually with his left cross.
Reading super-welter Joshua Frankham cruised to victory against Croatia’s Dario Borosa, landing rights upstairs and down against an opponent who could only cover up and stay on the move. Referee McCann had seen enough after 2-46 of round three.
London cruiserweights Aloys “Junior” Youmbi and Arnold Obodai both dispatched imports inside the opening three minutes. Youmbi dropped Bulgaria’s Tayar Mehmed with a right hand high on the head and, upon reaching the “eight” count, referee McCann waved it off at 2-37.
Debutant Obodai floored Hassan Oseni with a right-left, then again with two rights before a massive right-hander sent the Canadian crashing down in his own corner. Mr McCann waved it off immediately without picking up the count. Time: 1-44.
Dublin super-lightweight Willo Hayden punched too hard and fast for Liverpool’s Michael Walton, knocking him out at 1-03 of round two. A right put Walton down on his knees at the end of the first and when the same blow dropped Walton again in the next, the Liverpudlian stayed down for Mr Williams’ full count.
The Verdict The scores were too close but Leach was a worthy winner.