When you take risks, you can win as well as lose. True to his word,Spencer Fearon of Hard Knocks Boxing Promotions did not match hisfighters softly on yesterday Shamrock Showdown card at York Hall and came up with an even score: one loss and one victory.
For all his untidiness and controversy, the bout between champion Adil Anwar (11-1, 5 ko’s) and Fearon promoted challenger Nathan Graham (11-2, 5 ko’s) for the Welterweight International Masters title was nothing less than spectacular. Nathan opened and landed first, with jabs to body and head of Anwar, but it was the defending champion to establish himself as the ring general for the first two rounds, beating Nathan to the punch either countering while boxing on the back foot or on the attack. Nathan was trying to drag him into a war, while switching stance to confuse him, but Adil always had the last word in every exchange and he still had the edge in the third round, where he engaged in a war of attrition knocking Graham down with a straight right. From this point onwards, chaos erupted. Surprisingly and a bit disappointignly, Nathan made the most amateurish of boxing mistakes and, instead of regaining composure, tried to get back immediately at his opponent, charging head down and falling straight through the ropes outside of the ring. At that point, a member of his corner jumped on the canvas for no apparent reason, while the referee was giving the eight count, the round not being over yet. Action resumed in the next round and again Anwar knocked Nathan down. For the rest of the fight, the challenger looked furiously for the knock out he needed, actually winning the 5th round and remaining aggressive and dangerous till the 9th, while Adil seemed to tire, slow down, and aim just to survive, until he put Graham down again right on the bell. They went toe to toe in the 10th, with the challenger knocked out of the ring again, right on the table of the judges, and eventually stopped,at 2:20 after touching the canvas for the fifth time. In spite of all the flaws, Nathan Graham displayed unbelievable determination and stamina, never taking a backward step. Considering that the title at stake is possibly the least coveted in boxing, he showed a passion that World champions these days often lack.
On the other hand, Hard Knocks Darren Hamilton (8-1, 1 ko) performance against defending Southern Area Light Welterweight champion Peter McDonagh (16-20, 2 ko’s) was absolutely flawless. Entering the ring as the underdog, Darren gradually grew in confidence finding his range and working comfortably from the outside behind the jab. Relaxed and in control, he started adding the right hand and building combinations, toying with the opponent in the centre of the ring or pinning him on the ropes. That was pretty much the pattern of the fight, which repeated itself every round till the ending. In spite of his experience, McDonagh looked out of his depth, simply lacking the answers. His legs buckled really good at the end of the 6 th and his right eye was completely shut after the 7th, with a huge swelling above the eyebrow. The conclusion was foregone and the referee stopped the fight after Peter’s corner threw the towel at 2:59 of the 8th.
Between the two fights, current British champion Ashley Theophane was invited on the ring and manifested the intention of fighting thewinner of Hamilton-McDonagh in the first defense of his title, a dealFearon is determined to close, but Ashley presents a whole differentset of problems Darren might not yet be ready to handle. Peraphs, hewould be better off gaining some more experience. For the time being,congratulations to him and trainer Harry Andrews for a deserved victory.
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