IT WAS one of those, was the 12 round super-flyweight title bout at Ponds Forge Arena between popular local, Commonwealth champion “Super” Tommy Frank and Thailand’s Aran Dipaen, his own country’s champion, where one suspected from a very early stage that there wasn’t going to be a deal of daylight separating the two protagonists should it go the distance, which it duly did.
Team Dipaen were nothing short of confident as were his little pocket of supporters, the female members of whom rose as one to their feet at the end of each stanza and swayed to the music as they waved their little red, white and blue flags.
Tommy’s trainer Glyn Rhodes glanced down at me from the ring at the culmination of 12 absorbing rather than exciting rounds, a fair few of which I felt couldn’t definitively be scored one way or another, searching for confirmation or otherwise as to his man’s fortunes. It was all I could do to respond with the hand sign – no, not that one, the fingers outstretched, palm down, rocking hand one, as truth told I wasn’t quite sure if his man had done enough.
A number of those nearby, and even more when I canvassed opinion at Rotherham the following night, were of the opinion that Dipaen, more often the aggressor and probably landing the more eye-catching shots, was going to get the nod.
A hush fell over the arena as the combatants joined referee Victor Loughlin in centre ring and MC Paul Booth prepared to deliver his brief sermon at the beginning of which he informed all that there was a split decision, the announcement bringing gasps from all sides.
Germany’s Alexander Walter, it transpired, had scored it 115-113 for Tommy while Liverpool’s Mark Lyson went for the visitor by the same score; the deciding vote then went to Spain’s Jose Lozaro Carrasco, whose 116-113 score in favour of Frank (a little too wide I thought) was enough to get the party started. A party which I suspect, with a green WBC fringe belt having been secured, carried on for a while afterwards.
Barnsley’s Josh Wale, in his second outing up at featherweight and staying busy until something of note comes along, secured a shut-out eight-round win over gutsy Nicaraguan Sergio Gonzalez who to his credit, and unlike a couple of other undercard opponents, had come for a fight.
Fought at quite a pace early doors, Sergio’s advances were slowed midway through the second by a peach of a right uppercut from the former British champ who had taken the first by some distance thanks to decent work to the body.
The third saw head clashes leave both cut, Gonzalez high on the forehead and Josh, late in the round, on the left eyebrow. After that the pace slowed somewhat, Wale opting for a more measured approach that saw him picking his shots nicely against a still-game opponent.
Gonzalez, bested, appeared to have picked up a nick above the eye late on but by that point he had settled for second best and the 80-72 score handed down by Mr Lyson at the finish came as no surprise.
Huddersfield’s Tyrone Nurse, like Wale biding his time until something substantial comes along, also benefited from a distance victory over a Spanish-based Latin American opponent, this time a Mexican in the shape of Fernando Valencia.
Though well behind on the cards, Valencia did enough to nick the sixth and last round to add a degree of respectability to Mark Lyson’s card which read 59-56. The feeling-out opener was close but apart from that Nurse bossed proceedings, only once really stepping up the pace.
Three 40-36 victories in favour of the home boxers were garnered in the evening’s remaining contests.
Chesterfield’s Shinfield-stabled Liam Dring impressed en route to victory over Nicaraguan Pablo Narvaez in a bout overseen by Howard Foster, who also refereed the show-opener between Sheffield’s Kane Salvin and Londoner Edward Bjorklund, the former banking the rounds and winning at a canter against an uninterested opponent who offered absolute zero throughout.
Latvian Vladislav Davidaitis was simply out of his depth against Sheffield super-feather Sufyaan Ahmed and blowing from the end of the first could well have been halted if novice Sufi had shown a little more ambition.
The Verdict Nip and tuck main event action pleases but a couple of undercard opponents are woeful.
Tommy Frank (114lbs 1oz), 12-0 (3), w pts 12 Aran Dipaen (114lbs 1oz), 6-2 (5); Josh Wale (128lbs 1oz), 29-11-2 (14), w pts 8 Sergio Gonzalez (128lbs 1oz), 10-18-5 (7); Tyrone Nurse (149lbs 6oz), 37-6-2 (7), w pts 6 Fernando Valencia (152lbs), 8-16 (4); Kane Salvin (128 1/4lbs), 4-0, w pts 4 Edward Bjorklund (131lbs 1oz), 1-26-1 (1); Sufyaan Ahmed (130lbs 2oz), 3-0, w pts 4 Vladislavs Davidaitis (130 1/2lbs), 4-11 (4); Liam Dring (115lbs 7oz), 2-0, w pts 4 Pablo Narvaez (118 1/4lbs), 9-17-7 (1).