By: Michael Kane
MTK Global put on a show at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow on Friday that included a host of up and coming local fighters.
Top of the bill was Glasgow’s own Kash Farroq making his first defence of his British Bantamweight title against Iain Butcher from Motherwell.
The 22 year old Farooq won the belt in September when he knocked out Jamie Wilson in under a minute, that was his 4th win by KO in his last 4 fights. Facing Farooq was the experienced former flyweight European champion Butcher.
Farooq took control of the fight from the off, with slick movement and peppering Butcher with body shots and good combinations. Butcher was a game opponent though and although being out boxed kept coming forward.
In the 5th round it looked like Farooq had Butcher in trouble and Farooq sensed this, looking for the KO however Butcher came out in the 6th and was still in the middle of the ring.
Farooq and his corner sensed they had hit Butcher with their best shot and he wasn’t going down so played the long game, winning the rounds and out boxing Butcher (18-4).
The judges scorecard reflected Farooq’s dominance, 120-109, 120-108 and 118-110.
Farooq (11-0) told Boxing Insider, “I feel I had good performance against a very good fighter and experienced fighter and fought the fight I wanted. I wanted to start fast and set a good place and make him fall short.”
“Im not too sure. I have to speak to my manager and trainer. And see what date they want me out. At the moment I’ll rest for a few days.”
Farooq’s coach, Craig Dickson said, “I think Kash gave a glimpse of the great potential he has. He barely took a shot in the first 6 rounds and showed some of the skills we’ve seen in the gym. His movement, balance and shot selection were great. He rolled with most of the shots that came his way but also showed he’s got a chin when he was caught flush in the second half of the fight.
“It was a great learning fight for Kash. He had his mind set on stopping Butcher and had to drop a gear to box his way to a points win once he realised Butcher had taken his best shots. He also showed he’s got a great engine and can maintain a high work rate throughout the 12 rounds. He’ll take a lot of experience from this fight with going the distance and realising it won’t always go the way you plan. Even though he’s disappointed he didn’t stop him, he’ll look back at this fight and see this was a great performance against a proven fighter at this level.”
I asked Dickson when we are likely to see Farooq back and what about a potential fight against another up and coming Scottish Bantamweight, Edinburgh’s Commonwealth champion Lee McGregor.
“First of all he’s having a break as it’s been a non stop trying camp for almost a year. Hopefully we’ll get news after Christmas on a date in March or April. There’s a couple of options but it depends on outcome of the next BBBofC meeting. Kyle Williams was due to fight Butcher in a final eliminator and will feel aggrieved if he doesn’t get a shot so I have a feeling he may get the mandatory position. If it was us in that position I would be on the phone to the board arguing the case. If we don’t get a mandatory we’ll look at the best offers/options available in a voluntary. Josh Wale would be a great domestic fight and after his controversial European title loss I am sure he’ll want a way back in and also that third notch to keep the belt. Lee McGregor is the fight everyone wants to see but we’ll not be pushed, the right fights at the right time is key. Both Lee and Kash should build the fight up going there own routes then meet in the second half of 2019 for a massive domestic showdown of two excellent unbeaten Scottish Boxing champions. Whatever happens I am confident Kash will just get better.”
Also on the card Kieran Smith recovered from a knock down to win the WBC International Silver Super Welterweight title, beating Evaldas Korsakas by unanimous decision.
This was a good workout for Smith (13-0), having won at the start of November in under a minute, this was a rematch against Korsakas (9-6-2), who had went on a 7 fight undefeated run. Smith survived the scare early in the fight to record a knock down of his own and won fairly convincingly. 95-93, 96-92, 96-93.
Smith told Boxing Insider, “Yeah im happy to get my first title in the bag, watched it back and thought I boxed clever staying clear of any danger and picking up round after round on score cards, next is a break for couple weeks, then a big 2019. Defend my belt and progress to bigger title fights under the guidance of MTK.”
Possibly the fight of the night was the much anticipated bout between Edinburgh’s Lewis Benson and Belfast’s Tyrone McKenna, both boxers were coming off defeats but put on a great fight for fans.
McKenna (17-1-1) was always looking to move forward and land the heavy shots however Benson appeared the more skilled boxer on the night, slipping and jabbing. It was an intriguing contest and the general consesus was Benson had won the fight however the referee scored the bout in favour of McKenna, 96-95. Benson then said he was retiring in the post fight interview and said he had requested that the fight be judged by 3 judges before he took part, a request which was obviously ignored.
Hopefully Benson (10-2) has reconsidered his decision away from the heat of the moment as he has a lot to offer despite losing his last two, both close decisions. A rematch would make the most sense.
BBBofC British Bantamweight Title
Ukashir Farooq beat Iain Butcher by unanimous decision. 120-109, 120-108, 118-110.
Tyrone McKenna beat Lewis Benson by decision. 96-95.
WBC International Silver Super Welterweight title
Kieran Smith beat Evaldas Korsakas by unanimous decision. 95-93, 96-92, 96-93.
David Brophy beat Charles Adamu by decision. 60-54.
Alex Dickinson beat Morgan Dessaux by decision, 60-54.
Callen McAuley beat Eligio Palacios by decision, 60-54.
Reece McFadden beat Elvis Guillen by decision 40-36.