Boxing - Conquest conquers Macho Man; Owen edges out Connor

Despite being put on the canvas in the first and second rounds, Romford's Tony Conquest (12-1) came out a narrow winner against Canning Town's Wadi Camacho (10-2) in a British cruiserweight title eliminator which excited the O2 crowd last night.

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Boxing - Conquest conquers Macho Man; Owen edges out Connor
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Conquest conquers Macho Man; Owen edges out Connor on O2 undercard

Camacho (14st 1lb 14oz) looked the much bigger man and found Conquest's chin with a big right hand early on which sent him down. Conquest wisely took the knee until eight to see out the round.

A cracking 'set-up' left hand put Conquest down again in the second.  With two ten-eight rounds against him already, he'd need a incredibly gutsy performance to get back into it, which is exactly what he conjured.

Conquest clawed his way back with sporadic jabs in the third which bloodied Camacho's nose, and threw double right hands which were effective in keeping him off. But the Canning Town cruiser responded by finding Conquest's chin several times before the bell, punches which were soaked up bravely.

The pace slowed in the fifth. This was unsurprising as Conquest shook off the early setbacks and set about dealing with Camacho, who had taken his foot off the gas and wasn't letting his hands go as frequently as he should have been.

Camacho planted several hooks that looked as if they hurt, but Conquest's responses were enough for a share eighth. By the ninth, both fighters were tired, but Conquest's work was more accurate and frequent. Camacho threw little in the closing round, presumably thinking the two knockdowns would be enough to get the decision. He was wrong.

Judges all scored in favour of Conquest - 95-94 (Steve Gray), 96-93 (Ian John Lewis) and 96-93 (Marcus McDonnell). Camacho was indeed the Macho Man in the opening two rounds, but was the Beta male for the remainder after being out hustled by Conquest, who was originally being lined up for a shot at the British belt prior to being stopped in the first by Neil Dawson last year.

Another cracking Southern Area title fight featured Hackbridge's Danny Connor (10-7), a regular on Matchroom bills, defending his light welter strap against Carshalton southpaw Tony Owen (15-2).

Despite fairly good performances in Prizefighter light welterweights, both lost to the impressive Welshman Chris Jenkins. Tonight, Owen (9st 12lbs 11oz) was off to a fast start, and it was the most aggressive I've seen the Carshalton southpaw to date. He put Connor (9st 13lbs 11oz) down after connecting with a jab, which was ruled no count by Ian John Lewis. Owen went on to take the round comfortably.

Connor found Owen's rangy right hand jab difficult to get past. He started to push Owen back in the second, but a response bloodied his nose. Owen planted a short left to Connor's body which took the wind out of him for a bit, but he'd recovered by the end of the third, and an exciting fourth round took place, mainly in the centre of the ring. The pair exchanged more close range shots in the fifth, with Owen less busy but more accurate. Connor was showing signs of facial wear and tear.

As in Connor's previous ten round excursions, he came on stronger in the second half of the fight, and the popular Hackbridge light welter was in the ascendancy in the seventh as Owen's work rate dipped, before the southpaw returned with a couple of tidy jabs and an uppercut to close the round. Connor was well on the front foot by now, knowing he needed to do more to get the win, but still finding it difficult to land any telling shots upstairs.

Connor got a somewhat dubious count from Ian John Lewis in the ninth, which perhaps made up for the missed one earlier, before the pair boxed out a close final session. Referee Ian John Lewis scores 96-95 in favour of Tony Owen, who gets a Southern Area belt at the second attempt. Connor wants a return after his Spanish holiday.

Slough southpaw George Michael Carman (12-1-1) opened the card with a narrowish points win over Manchester's Matthew Ryan (4-1).

An exploratory first round was edged by Carman  (11st 2lbs 6oz), who was close with a couple of overhead right hands. Carman was more forceful in the second as Ryan (10st 12lbs) tried to push his jab out. Ryan's best work in the third was to the body, and he had Carman pinned backed to the ropes on several occasions. Carman's responses were a little inaccurate. Ryan's patient, rhythmic jabbing perhaps shaded the fourth and kept Carman on the back foot. It warmed up in the fifth, with Ryan having more success, pinning Carman to the ropes. The pair boxed out a fairly unexciting closer. Referee Gino Piccorrino scored 56-58 for  Carman. BoxRec News has it 57 each.

Sunderland's Glenn Foot (10st 12lbs 6oz) was due to face Larry The Natural' Ekundayo in a welterweight title eliminator, but an injury to Ekundayo meant Foot boxed a  four rounder with Slough's Jon 'The Don'  Brennan (10st 12lbs).

Foot's work was more authoritative from the opening bell, and the Prizefighter champion landed with a solid jab and a few right hands to set the pace. When the pair traded at close range in the second, Brennan has more success, but with short with his jab which allowed Foot to step inside and counter.

Repeated left right combinations from Foot got through in the third, and he took control of the fight. Ryan's jab did improve things a little in the closer, but he'd suffered  a nasty cut to the right eye and was dabbing away it while Foot launched more counters from the back foot. Referee scored  37-39 for Foot.

At cruiserweight, Anthony Joshua's cousin, Ben Ileyemi (14st 12lbs 2oz), was also making his professional debut on the card and made relatively short work of Latvian Stanislav Makerenko (13st 13lbs 4oz).

A three punch combination Ileyemi, also trained by Tony Sims,  sent the Latvian down and split his nose, but he rose to see out the round before going down again from an uppercut early in the second. A fairly light left hand from Ileyemi sent the Latvia down once more. This time, Gino Piccorinno waved it off at 1.58 seconds.  A successful debut for cruiserweight Ileyemi.  

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