Boxing - Pagan and Butcher chop down Bulgarians in Motherwell

On a big weekend for Scottish Boxing, fight fans were served up a tasty Hors d'oeuvre with Prospect Boxing’s eight fight card at The Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility, Motherwell. Top of the bill was an eight-threes contest for the vacant International Masters light-middleweight strap between Rhys Pagan (11st) from Sanquhar and Bulgarian Valentin Stoychev (11st).


The Scotsman started brightly and was loading up with some big punches. A peach of a right to the body had the Bulgarian down in the opening minute and he never looked like beating referee Victor Loughlin's count.

Stoychev took his time before returning to his feet and had to remain on his stool for a minute before the decision was announced as a stoppage victory at 1 minute 7 seconds of round one. This was Pagan's first win inside the distance since his pro debut and he certainly looks to be putting more power into his punches.

The main supporting contest was a six-threes between Jerviston's Iain Butcher (8st 9lb) and another Bulgarian, Valentin Marinov (8st 9lb). Local man Butcher is keen to get a re-match with Kevin Satchell for the British title and he remained on track with an impressive first round stoppage win.

Marinov recently went the distance with Belfast’s Luke Wilton. however, Butcher was looking to chop down his foe and targeted the body in a punch perfect opening round. A beautiful left upper cut through the middle to the solar plexus had Marinov down with the stoppage recorded at 2 minutes 30 seconds in to the opening round. Butcher's record now stands at 10(4)-1 and it won't be long before more title opportunities arrive for the talented Scotsman.

The show opener was a six-twos contest between JP McGuiness (10st 7lb) and Bulgarian Teodor Stefanov (10st 6lb). McGuiness was making his professional debut and he looked relaxed going in. The opening round was quite competitive as both men landed scoring punches. The left hand was working well for McGuiness and he landed more throughout. Stefanov had a better round in the third but McGuiness began to take control when he switched between head and body shots.

It was the home fighter that finished stronger and although both men were showing signs of tiredness it was McGuiness that dug deep to earn the victory on referee Kenny Pringle's card 59-55.

George Thomson (10st 4lb) from Dundee was involved in a tear up with Gareth Shove (10st 1lb) from Kent. This one was scheduled for six-twos however it never looked like going the distance as Thomson came out firing on all cylinders from the opening bell. Thomson had Shove pinned on the ropes several times during the opening round and had him down after a flurry of big punches. Shove beat the count, but looked shell-shocked, and it wasn't long before Thomson had him trapped in the neutral corner. As big punches rained down on Shove, referee Loughlin was left with no option but to step in and save the Englishman from more punishment to give Thomson his first stoppage win.

Glasgow's Shaun McShane (10st) and Ryan Love (10st) from Coatbridge served up a cracking contest. The styles blended very well with McShane coming forward constantly and Love boxing off the back foot. Both men were making their debuts and McShane got the nod with a score of 59-55. Both men showed plenty of grit and while my score matched that of referee Kenny Pringle's it was a very competitive contest with plenty of action for the 900+ fans in attendance.

Alloa's Scott Edgar (12st 7lb) picked up his first win against Bulgarian Tzvetozar Iliev (12st 1lb). There was plenty of boxing on the inside as both men neglected the jab and at times the action was a bit scrappy. Edgar had his opponent down in round two with a big right hand and the bell sounded as the count reached eight. The minute interval gave the Bulgarian a welcome break, but Edgar went after him again in the third and a big left hand knocked his gumshield out.

Edgar landed the heavier shots in this one and Iliev was deducted a point in round five after his gumshield came out for a third time. Referee Victor Loughlin was kept busy, and he scored 60-52 in favor of Edgar.

Michael McGurk (10st 8lb) looked impressive in a four-threes against Manchester's William Warburton (10st 11lb). McGurk showed nice boxing skills and moved in and out well against his experienced opponent. He was busier and used his jab well. Warburton was never in trouble though, and was rewarded for his efforts with a share of the last round as McGurk picked up a 40-37 points win.

Motherwell's Lee Gallagher (11st 3lb) made his debut against Jason McArdle (11st 4lb) over six-twos. The local boxer ran out a 59-55 points winner as both men struggled to land scoring shots at times in this one. Gallagher looked better when boxing at range where he had a reach advantage however quite often the two men found themselves in close which meant the action didn't flow as much in this one.

All in all this was a very entertaining card and a great starter for Scottish fight fans before the Burns v Crawford show.

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