PRIOR to the weigh-in I’d been chatting with Eastbourne’s Scott Hillman about body shots. The next day, not only would he succumb to defeat because of body shots, but the main event on this Tommy Owens promotion in the Holte Suite at Villa Park, a local derby clash for the vacant Midlands Area lightweight title, would be decided that way too. That Area title clash pitched Birmingham’s bearded Jack O’Keeffe in against Willenhall’s similarly unbeaten Shaun Cooper. The former emerged victorious in some style when, having been bested by his more industrious opponent for the most part – especially in the dying embers of the third when he was tagged by a huge right – he then proceeded to turn the contest on its head in the blink of an eye. A right cross early in the fourth sent sweat flying before a right-left combination downstairs dropped Cooper to all fours in centre ring where, at 1-16 of the round, referee for the night, Kevin Parker of Newark, completed his count.
Birmingham’s “Ruthless” Ryan Kelly had his first outing since slipping to a 10-round points reverse to southpaw Michael McKinson last time out. In a six up at super-lightweight, he registered a shut-out win against Atherton’s William Warburton, who, durable as ever, is now just 10 contests short of joining the 200 club.
Kelly was beginning rounds at quite a pace, working to the body with both hands but “Warby”, with ex-pro Curtis Gargano in his corner, took them in his stride as was the case when Kelly delivered a nice four-shot salvo towards the end of the fifth.