by Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro
Saturday’s Search & Destroy was set to be an historic occasion right from the off, as the event was being promoted by the youngest professional boxing promoter ever, twenty year old Olivia Goodwin.
Considering her tender years Olivia put on one heluva show, initially the event was planned as a sixteen bout double title show but as is the professional game there were a few dropouts, including the planned British Masters title fight between Toks Owoh and Tony Conquest. On the night ended up as still with a whooping thirteen fight card crammed to the gills with quality, closely matched bouts and all the razzmatazz you would expect from a major Championship event.
Headlining the show see Thamesmead’s Ryan ‘Mr Attitude’ Barrett making his first defense of the International Masters Lightweight title he won in spectacular style, stopping Mark Alexander in just 96 seconds, back in September.
Barrett’s opponent was the former Kenyan Champion Geoffrey ‘The Tiger’ Munika, a dangerous opponent who had held British Welterweight Champion Lee Purdy to a draw previously.
The first round started quite slow, after about a minute or so Barrett was the first to dip his toes in the water, letting rip with a solid jab quickly followed by a solid left hook. Munika tried to respond but before he could Barrett let rip with a double handed attack ending with a massive overhand left that shook the Kenyan to the core. How Munika stayed on his feet God only knows, but he did and managed to stay out of too much trouble to see out the round. Easy round to score as Ryan was on top most of the round.
The knock down may not have come in the first round but it sure did in the second, and it came fast. Barrett was out of the blocks in a flash, Munika had barely got three foot from his corner before the first of Barrett’s exocets hit the target. The Kenyan dipped and swayed in an attempt to avoid the wave after wave of big lefts and rights raining down on him, then just as he tried to respond with a jab he got caught by a massive left that sent him back towards the ropes and crashing to the canvas.
The shot was massive and no one really expected Munika to recover, but he did. As soon as Munika was on his feet Barrett went back on the attack and an early finish looked on the cards. Wrong, Munika decided to stand and trade before turning to more savvy defensive tactics to see the round out. 10-8 round to Barrett.
The third, fourth and fifth rounds the pace slowed, as Barrett had switched to long game tactics, and some nice tidy boxing came from both men. In all rounds the most most work and meaningful shots were all from Barrett, earning him the rounds easily.
Going into the sixth Barrett was already five rounds and a knockdown up and looked to be cruising to an easy victory, that is until the unthinkable happened. Early on in the sixth both started mixing it up on the inside, Barrett looked comfortably in control but in a flash things would change.
The crowd jumped to their feet in unison as the Londoner collapsed onto to all fours, following receiving a short, sharp left to the body. Barrett was clearly in a lot of discomfort, the paramedics and doctor rushed into the ring as referee Ken Curtis waved the fight off.
Following receiving the International Master Lightweight belt, from the Masters Organisation’s supremo Bruce Baker, Geoffrey Munika said, “Ryan Barrett is a good fighter, he handled me well today but I got him with a lucky punch. He’s a good fighter.
Now I’m talking with Danny and my other trainer and I want the Commonwealth title now. I’ve been in this boxing business four years now so I would like to fight someone like Derry Matthews, yeah I want the Commonwealth title.”
The main support for the title fights was due to pit the talented London based Dutch Cruiserweight Mitchell Balker against equally tough Hari ‘H Bomb’ Miles. However due to spraining his ankle on Thursday the bout was called off.
In place of this highly anticipated Balker-Miles bout the main support instead see Dunstable’s Mark ‘Pee Wee’ Adams take on Guildford’s Louis Byrne.
Adams has the reputation of being something of a knockout artist, having won seven of his ten wins on the unlicensed circuit by KO. However Byrne is as savvy as they come and knows how to stay out of trouble when needs be.
All four rounds were closely contested, so close that I personally scored two of the rounds even. The action was nonstop both protagonists taking turns to attack. There were no real outstanding exchanges, just first class boxing from the pair, much to the crowds delight. At the end of the bout the referee raised Adam’s hand in victory. I’m not sure of the margin as Adam’s huge support were so loud I couldn’t hear the result!
As I have previously stated Olivia had put together a stacked card featuring the cream of London and Home Counties fighters. There were some seriously great fights, like Weise-Fox, Adams-Ziausys and Woodgate-Monteith, that really deserve a much more in-depth report than I can give due to space constraints, I only hope that my short reports below get across just how good these fights were, as were every other bout on the night, just those three, and Billy Cayzer’s performance, really were exceptional.
NATHAN WEISE Vs. AARON FOX
Fox was originally due to fight Weise’s TKO Gym mate Sam Standing, but due to him coming in a whooping fifteen pounds over the weight limit some quick switching of opponents came into to play.
Weise made his welcome return, after eighteen months out due to a near career ending shoulder injury, to the ring in some style.
Weise took the fight to Fox right from the opening bell, he danced around Fox picking him off with beautiful crisp jabs. Fox would respond, but more often than not without much effect as Weise would have moved out of range.
Both the first and second rounds were more or less a pure boxing exhibition by Weise, with Fox have limited success in return. Round three see Weise step up a gear, utilising his packed arsenal punches to full effect.
For the final round Weise really went to town and a stoppage win looked on the cards. About midway through the round Fox found himself corralled against the ropes. Weise clinically took him apart, landing massive double handed shots to the body and head. The combinations thrown were crisp and effective. Fox was in serious trouble and Weise looked formidable.
Surprisingly Weise never went in for the kill instead he played with Fox like a cat with a mouse until the final bell and secure a tidy 40-36 points victory.
On any other show this would easily be the Fight of the Night, but there was one that just pipped it.
MICHAEL DEVINE Vs. DAN CARR
Both the first rounds see Luton’s Michael ‘The Real Chunky’ Devine out class Trowbridge’s ‘Dirty’ Dan Carr. Throughout the rounds Devine was divine (I know I used this in a previous report on him, but he was). He picked his shots and executed them perfectly, even when Carr would use his patented bullying tactics. Devine easily controlled the often wild and erratic Carr with ease to take both rounds.
Round three was another cracking round in similar ilk to the previous two, marred only by ‘Dirty’ Dan’s deciding to let rip with one more shot well after the final bell.
After receiving a good talking to from the referee Carr went on the attack big time. Devine kept his cool utilising his jab to keep the ever advancing Carr at arms length, before stepping forward to let rip with yet another heavy hook or straight right.
Midway through Devine had had enough and instead stood his ground and slugged it out toe to toe before lithely stepping back and letting rip with a massive overhand right whistled by Carr’s ear. If that had landed it would surely have been lights out for Carr. Devine returned to his previous tactics to see the fight out. No surprise when the score card was read out, 40-37 in favour of Michael Devine.
SAM STANDING Vs. JOHNNY GREAVES
The replacement opponent for Plumstead’s Sam Standing, with Aaron Fox being pulled for being fifteen pounds over the weight limit, was West Ham’s Johnny Greaves.
Greaves must have been mightily peeved at being called in at late notice as he went for it hammer and tongs right from the start. Standing kept a cool head to outbox the ever charging Greaves at bay.
Throughout the bout Greaves would try to bully and push his younger opponent, but Standing stuck to his game plan and boxed beautifully to take the victory by a tidy 40-37 points.
ALI ADAMS Vs. REMIGIJUS ZIAUSYS
Prior to the start of the bout there was a minute’s silence in remembrance to Ali Adams’ Father who passed away last month. After which London based Iraqi Adams said he was dedicating the fight to his late Father.
Adams, who was a previous quarter finalist in Prizefighter – Heavyweights, rocketed from his corner as the bell rang and landed a massive right that sent the Lithuanian reeling back to the ropes. Adams stepped forward and continued the assault. Ziausys returned some heavy shots of his own in a vein attempt to stop the ever forward rolling Adams juggernaut.
For the full four rounds Ziausys attempted to stand his ground as Adams showcased his fully loaded Arsenal of punches. So often the crowd jumped to their feet shouting Ali, Ali, Ali, as Adams set about the Lithuanian, you could have been forgiven in thinking that you were at a Muhammad Ali fight in the sixties. Mind you Adams’ performance was not that different to one of those by ‘The Greatest’ himself.
No surprise then that Adams takes the win by a shutout 40-36 points victory or that this fight gets my award as the Fight of the Night.
DAN WOODGATE Vs. SABIE MONTEITH
Another Fight of the Night contender featured Minster, Kent’s Dan ‘Woody’ Woodgate against the very, very tough battler Sabie Monteith.
After a fairly slow start the fight soon turned into outright war, after Monteith made his intentions crystal clear late in the first round by letting rip with a huge roundhouse, which if it landed had that much force it would have been lights out for Woodgate for sure.
Woodgate made a mental note and then proceeded to punish Monteith fully, for the rest of the first round and the following three Woodgate. The punishment was dealt out in formidable style. As the rounds progressed it was clear these two just didn’t like each other and in the fourth and final round, which has to be Round of the Night, was plain mayhem – think Gatti-Ward and you’ll have an idea just how good this round was. I loved it.
At the end of four bloody, for Moneith who had been cut in the third round by a vicious right hand, rounds Woody was rewarded by a much deserved shutout 40-36 points victory.
Prior to the Woodgate-Monteith bout promoter Olivia Goodwin was joined in the ring by ‘Magnificent’ Kevin Mitchell, outstanding Light Middleweight prospect Erick ‘The Eagle’ Ochieng and cancer sufferer Jamie Woods.
Erick spoke briefly about his upcoming English title challenge whilst Kevin spoke about his date with destiny against John Murray on July 9th as well as of his friend Jamie who is battling cancer. After which Jamie received a standing ovation from the assembled crowd.
Erick and Kevin were not the only local stars in the audience, so were former European Bantamweight Champion Ian ‘Dappa’ Napa, Scott and Vinny Woolford, Southern Area Cruiserweight Champion Leon ‘Solid’ Williams, undisputed (WBA,IBF, WBC) Welterweight Champion Lloyd Honeyghan, Featherweight prospect ‘Saint’ George Jupp and many many more.
OK, now back to the action.
DANNY CONNOR Vs. DANNY DONTCHEV
Tooting’s Danny Dontchev was really fired up for the bout against Mitcham’s Danny ‘Cassius’ Connor, no testing the waters in this one, Dontchev went straight on the attack. However Connor wasn’t fazed one iota and stuck to his game plan and boxed his way out of trouble.
Connor, who recently got his first pro-win over Duane Grimes, has really come on a pace and endeavoured to control the hard charging Dontchev with crisp sharp jabs and superior movement.
As the rounds went on Dontchev became increasingly frustrated at being so easily picked off, by the relatively inexperienced Connor, and started to let rip with massive bombs. The only problem was most didn’t reach the target, Connor would move fluidly around him and pick him off with either sharp jabs or a double handed flurry.
Saying that I found it hard to score most of the rounds as they were just too close to call and I wasn’t too surprised when the score was read out as 40-38 in favour of Connor, but Dontchev clearly was as he raised his arms to mock the decision and then proceeded to parade around the ring to receive the plaudits of the crowd.
KRIS AGYEI-DUA Vs. LUKE OSMAN
Chelsea’s excellent Kris Agyei-Dua got his third pro outing off to a cracking start.and dominated Treharris’ Luke Osman throughout the first round. in the second round Osman took the fight to Agyei-Dua, which suited him just fine. The pair often just stood toe to toe slugging in out much to the crowd’s delight.
The third and fourth rounds was more of the same, with control passing back and forth. Osman would push forward, occasionally backing Agyei-Dua on to the ropes, before letting rip with double handed exocets. Problem for Osman was that Agyei-Dua would duck and weave before letting rip with solid right hand counter punches.
It was a cracking fight that came so close to be included in my Fight of the Night shortlist and I have to admit I wasn’t surprised that it was a closely scored bout, 39-38 in favour of Agyei-Dua, as it was a fairly evenly fought bout.
WILLIAM CAYZER Vs. MATT SEAWRIGHT
Stoppage of the Night award has to go to debuting Billy Cayzer, for his magnificent performance and exceptional finishing, over Tamworth’s Matt Seawright,
There’s not much to say on this, except to praise the eighteen year old for his mature performance and clinical punching. For two minutes and fifty nine seconds young Cayzer dealt with the hard charging veteran with ease and the finish, well what can I say but it was the most vicious left hook to the body, and it was no surprise that the referee instantly waved the fight off as it was clear Seawright was in no condition to continue.
BRETT O’CALLAGHAN Vs. MATT SCRIVEN
In his short career nineteen year old Brett O’Callaghan doesn’t seem to get many breaks, on his debut back in December he had a last minute switch of opponent and got the highly experienced Billy Smith, on Saturday he got yet another seasoned pro to contend with in Nottingham’s Matt Scriven.
The Scriv was in no mood to give the youngster from Holloway an easy night and went to work hard and fast. O’Callaghan though is as savvy as they come and played the long game with neat jabs and clever footwork.
O’Callaghan remained cool, calm and collected throughout, The Scriv just couldn’t wind him up, and into a slugging match, no matter how hard he tried, O’Callaghan just stuck to his game plan and his boxing was pure artistry. No surprise that the referee scored this one as a shutout 40-36 points win for young Brett O’Callaghan.
I have to make a quick comment as the report just doesn’t get across just how good young Brett O’Callaghan is. In my between rounds notes I praised him so highly for his exceptional boxing, and rightly so.
I have to say I believe that I am lucky enough to be watching a young man who is going to become one of the biggest stars in the sport in a few years. I really feel this kid can go all the way to the top, he has it all plus he has the world class team of Alec Wilkey and Johnny Eames guiding him.
EDER KURTI Vs. JODY MEIKLE
Yet another fight that on any other night would be right up there on my Fight of the Night contenders list. Mind you every fight I’ve seen Woolwich’s Eder Kurti in is a real cracker. On Saturday Kurti had Scuntrhorpe’s Jody Meikle to contend with, no easy fight this for sure.
The first round was a closely fought affair, neither really going to town as both protagonists were clearly sizing the other up.
Round two and three were something else altogether though as they both really livened up. They went at each other hammer and tongs, Meikle turned up the wick first, and promptly must have regretted it as Kurti doesn’t mess around. A full scale war ensued which produced some of the best exchanges of the night, as well as some of the scrappiest.
The final round was all Kurti for me, don’t get me wrong Meikle was in there just Kurti was magnificent. He was picking his punches and landing them at will. He pulled out every weapon from his extensive Arsenal and used them to maximum effect. Body shots, hooks, uppercuts and some sensational combinations. I was surprised that this fight went the distance as Kurti landed a couple of massive left hands that would have stopped most, just Meikle one tough cookie.
No surprise again with the scoring – 39-37 in favour of Eder Kurti.
DIEGO BURTON Vs. IAIN JACKSON
The opening bout of the night see Peckham’s Diego Burton debut against Brighton’s Iain Jackson.
Not surprisingly the first round see both lads sizing each other up, some nice work from both but I couldn’t really split them so scored the round a draw.
After taking instruction from James Cook Burton came out in the second fired-up and proceeded to exert his authority with some cracking body shots. Jackson learns quickly and resorted to his jab to keep Burton at bay, but in my view too late to prevent Burton taking the round.
The tables turned in round three as Jackson turned up the pressure on the new boy to easily take the round.
A lot of back and forth action took place in the fourth and final round, personally I thought Burton had just done enough to take the round but as the referee scored the bout a draw I assume he didn’t.
All in all it was excellent night of boxing, jam packed with drama, excitement and top class boxing. Olivia may only be twenty years old but this girl really knows how to put a show on.
Afterwards I managed to catch up with Olivia Goodwin, who said, “To be honest I thought it was a cracking night, we ended up with thirteen bouts instead of the planned sixteen bouts, so we only lost three bouts which I think was absolutely tremendous because you normally lose a lot more than that.
Everything went to plan, every bout was absolutely brilliant and exciting. Their was not a down point except in the last fight with Ryan Barrett, which was very sad and obviously didn’t go to plan as we wanted. It seemed that Ryan had the upper hand but obviously things can change in a second in boxing. Unfortunately he went down and couldn’t get up. But other than that it had been absolutely electric.
The support that the boys bought with them tonight has been out of this world, I’d like to thank them all for bringing their fans and selling the tickets to make this night such a special one.
I am off to such an amazing start and all I want to do is improve and improve and get my shows bigger and bigger, and I want all my boys to come with me.”