By: Oliver McManus
British Warriors were at the iconic York Hall last night as they continued their impressive 2018 with a thirteen fight card – originally slated for Elliot Matthews vacant Commonwealth title challenge, alongside Chris Kongo fighting for the Southern Area belt, injury forced those two bouts off but Chris continued as the headliner.
Against Adam Grabiec, 2Slick was looking to move to a perfect 10 and 0 and sought to channel his frustration with his opening flurry of punches – a strong left sent his opponent to the ropes before unleashing a wincing combination to the body of his man.
Any hope that Kongo would replicate his blistering performance last time out – dispatching his man within two minutes – were soon put to bed as the welterweight, looking in supreme shape, opted for a more patient game plan in order to ease his way around the ring.
The combinations kept coming and there was a particularly pleasing right uppercut in the centre of the ring. When opportunities arose he stamped his authority all over the contest, not just through shot selection, but with superior footwork, too.
Controlled aggression was the name of the game from Kongo who looked more impressive with each passing round; picking shots with ease, he looked relaxed in the shoulders and unfurled frighteningly accurate left jabs, enabling him to slam shots into the body before popping up to crack a couple at the head of Grabiec.
Seeking to exploit his uppercut, as the fight progressed, Kongo landed four in a row without reply and it really was proving to be a fine display of everything in his arsenal – the young man already ticking the “yup, he’s got it” box.
A classy outing from Kongo, Grabiec took to the floor in the 6th, writhing with pain, from an apparent knee problem but he arose to finish the fight – frequently kicking out his leg in gestation. It made little impact to Chris who looked in a serene state of mind, a very accomplished performance to claim every round on the card – 60-54.
Denzel Bentley, 5 and 0 in the middleweight division, was up against Daniel Urbanski, 21-24-3, a former Gennady Golovkin opponent of all people. With a monstrous crowd behind him, Bentley wasted no time in getting straight down to business as he exploded into the centre of the ring with a searching right hand dropping Urbanski almost immediately. Urbanski climbed up off the canvas but almost as quickly as he was up, BAM, he was down again as Bentley sent another combination of shots his way… a third time in the space of sixty one seconds would prove to enough with Urbanski being counted out of the contest in what was a brutal demonstration of power from “2Sharp”.
Speaking to me after the fight, Bentley said “I hit him with a right hand and he went down, at that moment I could tell it wouldn’t last long, and to be honest I thought “ah no, not another one” because I’ve got four knockouts, the last fight I had was the first that went the distance and I learnt so much from that so I was hoping for some more rounds”
“The thing is, it’s hard to take anything from those sixty seconds because it is what it is, I enjoyed my last fight (against Christian Hoskin Gomez) more than any of the knockouts because it let me do my thing and get the rounds. It’s nice to put on a lengthy show”.
“There’s something in these hands, Urbanski is older now, 12 years older than when he fought Golovkin, but I’m just saying, took him out quicker than GGG!”.
“I’m looking at the Southern Area, Linus Udofia vs Tey Lynn Jones, I don’t care who wins because I just want the belt. I’ve got no desire to fight them if they don’t have a belt because that’s all I want. So hopefully I’ll get rounds in when I’m next out, in December, and then build to bigger things”.
The penultimate bout of the evening saw a terrific contest between, two debutants, Mac Pemhiwa and Conor Hinds as both come out swinging with bad intentions. Hinds appeared to be more wild and violent with his shots whilst Pemhiwa made good use of the uppercut as his opponent looked to work the body.
The support was loud for both but it was the away fighter, Pemhiwa, who appeared to be more composed over the first couple rounds and with them both going on the attack, Hinds left his hands down low which enabled Pemhiwa to rally to claim a strong second round.
Into the third we went and more drama unfolded as Hinds, who appeared to be fatigued, made the most of his moment when Pemhiwa punched himself out. 1, 2, 3 unanswered shots pushed Mac back to the ropes before repeated, alternating shots to either side of the head saw his neck snap violently back and the referee stepped in to wave the contest off. Conor Hinds with a third round TKO.
Alfie Price bounced straight into his third professional contest, against Innocent Anywanu, in the same fashion in which he finished his last – throwing shots to the body and openly looking for the stoppage. Anyanwu looked rocked early on, surprised by the fast start of Price, and the young 140lb-er led with a ramrod right jab, frequenting that with a snapping left to break the guard of his experienced opponent.
Settling into a rhythm relatively soon, Price worked the angles for the remaining rounds and worked some nice combinations, launching several salvos of hooks from a slightly crouched position and looking comfortable throughout. 60-54 for Price as he moved to 3 and 0.
Price told me afterwards, “I think I boxed really nice, I was composed and I sat on my shots. To be honest with you Ollie, we speak about knockouts a lot me and you, I thought that I was patient in that fight. After the first couple minutes, I settled down and boxed for the points win. I did it in good fashion, I want a knockout victory but I’ve learnt that you make mistakes from that and I’ll take the knockout when it comes but I won’t go searching for it.”
Jez Smith took on Anthony Hardy over eight rounds in the welterweight division and Hardy looked fresh in the opening couple rounds – it was nip and tuck but the Hitman looked gritty and gutsy. Smith, in the third, started to crank up the tempo and boxed into his own style as he dropped his man twice – though one was ruled a push.
In the fourth round, Smith emerged looking to really work the jab and rarely missed the target as he out-manoeuvred a game opponent who, himself, was looking to work the angles and create opportunities of his own. Several shots to the eye of Hardy, who has just undergone laser eye surgery, seemed to do the toll and it was the fifth round that saw Smith really start to unwind. Hardy hit the canvas and didn’t beat the count on the second occasion; Jez Smith looked impressive and showed he packs serious power but Anthony Hardy put in a warriors display and remained magnanimous in defeat – both these fellas look to have a bright future.
Across the rest of the card, Mason Smith impressed on his debut as he mauled Rudolf Durica throughout the four rounds, looking far too strong for his man to claim the win by 40 points to 36; Mitchell Preedy signalled his intent early on and with a vocal support he secured a comfortable 40-36 win; Louis Lye, also making his debut, put in a phenomenal performance to knockout Norbert Szekeres in the second round thanks to scintillating body shots; Jan Balog landed a peach of a looping left to secure an upset win over Davis Pagan thanks to a second round KO; there were 40-36 points wins for both Fuuad “The Pirate” Husseen” and Alec Bishop whilst Taran Willett moved to 3 and 0 as a pro with a 40-35 victory and Richard Harrison won the “battle of journeyman” with a 40-37 victory over Haroon Karim.
A simply brilliant night of entertainment that produced thirteen absolutely cracking contests – we had knockouts, upsets, flamboyance, arrogance, a pirate ring walk, humility, serious prospects and major talent on display. You cannot ask for any more.