THE last time Redditch played host to pro boxing, almost 70 years ago, the winner of the main event, a lightweight named Johnny Mann, hailed from Birmingham. So light-heavy Shakan Pitters, albeit behind closed doors due to the current situation, was continuing something of a tradition when he widely outpointed Newark’s Chad Sugden to secure the vacant British title.
Shak’s height and reach advantages ultimately proved the difference. Sugden – nursing a nasty cut to the lip having been tagged by a right uppercut in the second – was unable to get in close enough, regularly enough, to make any real inroads.
Chad, who also finished marked around the left eye, did have his moments but not enough of them. With little of any real substance coming back, Pitters was more than happy to keep it long and work from a distance. Regular combinations and uppercuts allowed him to bank round after round. Although there wasn’t quite so much daylight between the pair in the later stages, there was never any doubt as to the outcome.
Phil Edwards and Marcus McDonnell both scored 118-111, while Terry O’Connor saw it 119-111. Steve Gray refereed.
Brixton cruiser Isaac Chamberlain, previously a Southern Area champion and returning to the ring after a near-two-year absence, found Wolverhampton’s Antony Woolery in combative mood in the first session of a bout scheduled for eight.
The taller Londoner, who executed a little pirouette prior to the commencement of hostilities, edged forward early doors and whipped over a nice left. Woolery, looking to upset the applecart and dubbed “The Bull”, was quick to reply, slamming home a pair of meaty right hooks to the head and another right downstairs.
Any threat of an upset, however, proved short-lived, and working behind the jab, Chamberlain began to assert his authority. By the start of the third he was doubling up that jab and starting to put his shots together. Antony found himself increasingly under fire and backed up to the ropes, which is where he remained as Isaac whaled away looking for the one punch that would finish it.
That punch turned out to be a punishing left to the body which dropped Woolery to the canvas with no real prospect of beating the count of referee Edwards. The official reached ‘seven’ before waving it off, to leave Chamberlain a technical count-out winner at 1-27.
Though there was disappointment for Woolery, his Wolverhampton counterpart, Conah Walker, was once again in celebratory mode, having bagged victory number eight with a shutout 60-54 win over Sutton Coldfield super-welter and old adversary, Nathan Bendon.
Walker had been due to challenge Kaisee Benjamin for the Birmingham fighter’s Midlands Area welterweight title in what on paper looked a fine matchup. Yet those plans were scuppered just a few days prior to the show when Kaisee withdrew, resulting in Bendon stepping in as a late substitute.
The pair had first exchanged pleasantries at Walsall Town Hall not much over a year ago and on that occasion Conah, now unbeaten in nine, had run out a 58-56 points winner. This hastily arranged renewing of acquaintances – while producing a wider scoreline from third man Edwards – proved competitive right through to the finish. Bendon fully played his part and was certainly not there just to make up the numbers.
Promoter Mick Hennessy’s son, Michael Hennessy Jnr, in search of a fourth paid victory having joined the pro ranks 15 months ago, went in with Burford’s Tom Brennan over six. Hennessy edged home by the narrowest of margins on the card of Mr Edwards who, at the conclusion of a tough contest, scored 58-57 in favour of the Sevenoaks man, for whom it would have been a great learning fight.
Michael had been down towards the end of the second, though was adjudged to have stumbled and no count was forthcoming.
Birmingham’s Idris Virgo had his first fight since October of last year, ostensibly a rust-shedding exercise against one-fight Brummie novice Josh Hodgins, who had been outpointed over four on his only previous outing.
Hodgins might have gone the distance first time out but it wasn’t happening here in this slated four-rounder. Virgo’s rust-shedding exercise proved positively brief – 104 seconds was all it took. A body shot sent Josh sprawling to the canvas on all fours, his gasp as the left hook found its target audible in the quiet arena. Mr Edwards was the man in the middle.
THE VERDICT: Sugden is beaten this time but will doubtless come back stronger, while Pitters will prove a handful for all domestically.
Shakan Pitters (174lbs 5oz), 14-0 (4), w pts 12 Chad Sugden (174 1/2lbs), 11-2-1 (4); Isaac Chamberlain (204lbs), 11-1 (5), w tco 3 Antony Woolery (201bs 3oz), 2-3; Michael Hennessy Jnr (159 3/4lbs), 4-0-1, w pts 6 Tom Brennan (159lbs 1oz), 1-2; Conah Walker (153 3/4lbs), 8-0-1 (2), w pts 6 Nathan Bendon (155lbs 3oz), 3-3-1 (1); Idris Virgo (166lbs 10oz), 6-0-1 (1), w ko 1 Josh Hodgins (164 1/4lbs), 0-2.