Boxing - Etches and Jenkins on song in Sheffield

Adam Etches and Scott Jenkins did the business again in the ring and in terms of ticket sales at Ponds Forge in Sheffield.

Boxing - Etches and Jenkins on song in Sheffield

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Adam Etches (press release)

Promoter Richard Poxon was pleased about this, as presumably are Weston Park Hospital and Cavendish Cancer Care, two immensely important charities based in the city which will have benefited from the promotion and the boxers’ popularity.

They also did the business inside the ropes, with two quick stoppages.

Etches (11st 5lbs 10oz) won the vacant IBF Youth middleweight title, dispensing with Belarusian Andrei Abramenka (11st 5½lbs) after 1:46 of the fourth round. Abramenka, who was a sparring partner for Ricky Hatton and took his brother Matthew twelve rounds in 2011, certainly did not come over to lie down.

Etches, aptly nicknamed ‘The Bomber’, admits himself that he relies on his power to get him results. Having now watched several of his fights (Etches is now 12-0), his strategy seems quite simple. He might eat some leather, but he’ll catch up with you eventually.

A little microcosm of Etches' career thus far came in the first round. After a thoughtful start from both, Abramenka opened up and caught Etches flush with a big left hook. The Bomber sensed war had been declared, stepped forward and simply lamped his opponent with a hefty right hook.

Abramenka went down and plenty wouldn’t have got up. He did and it was testament to his spirit that he was getting on top by the end of the round.

Abramenka won the second round, mainly due to the fact that he didn’t have to go far to look for Etches. Etches does need to work on being more elusive; attack remained the best form of defence and when he caught Abramenka once more, the visitor certainly felt it.

Etches got on the front foot to start the third and midway through the round, Abramenka was starting to look fed up. His professionalism got the better of him and he began to put in a good shift again, though he must have been dispirited by Etches ignoring anything that came his way and getting through with a cracking right hook just before the bell.

Etches was walking Abramenka down in the fourth. The Belarusian became pinned in a neutral corner and a brutal uppercut-hook combination from Etches sent Abramenka down heavily. Just as the stricken fighter was about to roll onto my laptop, myself and Boxing News scribe Andy Whittle manually stopped his descent. His bravery beyond the call of duty ensured he rose to his feet.

I had hoped referee Steve Gray would call a halt to matters as the ending was inevitable, but the Fleetwood official let the contest continue. Sure enough, Abramenka needlessly took another big left hook, went down and managed to get to his feet again. This time he was rescued.

A good win for Etches and he enjoyed it. A nice lad, just like his pal Jenkins, he does possess a good dig but needs to work on other aspects of his game, especially his defence. If you tell him this, he’ll nod, agree and get back in the gym. His development under trainer Dominic Ingle will be worth watching.

Lightweight Scott Jenkins (9st 11lbs) made quick work of Abramenka’s fellow Belarusian Sergey Kisel (9st 11lbs 2oz), stopping him at 1:58 of the third round. Kisel began well with two left hooks, but as soon as pressure came his way, he began holding in a panicky fashion.

The pair had an exchange early in the second round and Jenkins came off the better. Jenkins had Kisel pinned on the ropes for what seemed the entire second half of the round and little came back. No-nonsense Bury referee John Latham told Kisel to throw something; whether the East European understood the Lancastrian is not known but he did offer enough to keep himself in the contest.

Mr Latham laid down the law in the minute’s rest and this saw Kisel start more positively in the third. Jenkins easily avoided his attacks and Kisel’s misses contributed to him tiring rapidly. Next time the assault on the ropes came, Mr Latham’s charity ended and he rightly jumped in. Jenkins, who has yet to lose a round as a pro, moves to 9-0 whilst Kisel drops to 1-3.

Sheffield lightweight Sam O’Maison (9st 9lbs) is nicknamed ‘Sensation’ and he lived up to his moniker, stopping Leek’s Andy Keates (9st 7lbs) after 23 seconds of the third round. It was a battle of unbeaten prospects, with Keates entering on 7-0 and O’Maison 4-0.

The first round was shared. Keates made a very quick and confident start and cut O’Maison by the side of the right eye; referee Mr Latham signalled that it was caused by a legitimate punch and O’Maison was a little distracted, pawing at it on occasion. It didn’t prevent the Sheffielder starting to find his range with a left and then a right cross.

It was one-way traffic from the start of the second round. Hands low, taking his time, O’Maison simply walked Keates down, opening up with both hands to head and body whenever he managed to pin the Staffordshire man against the ropes. Keates kept it tight but an accurate barrage just before the bell to end the second round meant he returned to his corner on shaky legs.

The writing looked on the wall and indeed it was. The two-fisted assault recommenced and Keates could withstand it no longer. He withered and rolled on to his back in obvious pain. He spat his gumshield out at the count of five and Mr Latham dispensed with the count a second later. O’Maison has a reputation in the Ingle gym of being a very hard puncher and this bout did little to undermine that.

The contest, scheduled for eight rounds, was for a belt believe it or not. O’Maison’s first success is winning the vacant International Masters Bronze title.

These titles are proliferating like vermin. A good idea initially, there are now a total of 120 of these Masters straps available to win. The BBBoC doesn’t recognise these titles. Why the Board can’t or won’t do anything to stop them being boxed for on their shows is worrying as it gives the impression that it is toothless.

What must make it worse from the Board's perspective is that the man administrating the potentially lucrative scheme is Bruce Baker, who is currently involved in legal action against the BBBoC regarding their stance over the Luxembourg Boxing Federation (Baker represents the LBF). Whilst being critical of the Board, he doesn’t seem to mind his belts popping up and generating income on its shows. And why not, if he is legally allowed to do so and if the promoters want them? Well, the merit of the belts themselves are another debate.

The point is, if the governing body doesn’t recognise them, the fact that they are appearing with increasing regularity without sanction on their shows is a cause for concern.

Another little twist of the knife to the BBBoC was that the Masters belt representative on the night was Geoff Boulter, former Board man in charge of the Central Area. After what BoxRec News understands to have been an internal disagreement involving Boulter and the Board, if last night is anything to go by it seems that Boulter has decided to side with Baker.

After asking for an additional two ringside seats to be arranged for himself and his guest, Boulter seemed very happy to give O’Maison his belt. It was so ill-fitting that the boxer had to have it put round his shoulder eventually; it would have dropped to the floor had it remained round his trim waist.

99.9% of those interested in boxing are probably not concerned with these matters. But it is a simmering civil war in the governance of the sport that could become significant. Surely the Board have at its disposal enough legal expertise to do a better job in this regard than it is at present.

All its sabre-rattling over the LBF-staged David Haye v Dereck Chisora bill came to nought and now it appears that the Board is either unwilling or incapable of addressing the situation of a title it doesn't recognise being presented with increased regularity on its shows.

Baker and now Boulter turn up at Board-sanctioned shows wreathed in smiles and hand out belts that the Board itself wants no part of. Quite frankly, someone is taking the mickey.  Both parties can't be right. If the Board can't address this issue effectively, what chance has it got when something more serious comes to pass? Policies of appeasement never work.

What is of more concern is the thought that Baker et al are wholly in the right, legally at least, and that the Board is unable rather than unwilling to control what happens in professional boxing in Britain - and many believe that this is the case.

This is thin end of the wedge stuff which won't end happily by the Board turning a blind eye. If it is doing this because it's all they can do, it doesn't bode well for the sport's governance.

Chesterfield’s Kris Davey (9st 11lbs 7oz) certainly brought a good few fans up the road with him. However, they would go home disappointed as Killamarsh battler Lee Connelly (9st 12½lbs) just wouldn’t be denied. As a result, both men now carry logs of 2-1.

Connelly gave Davey a proper ‘hard man’ stare during the introductions. The Derbyshire man laughed it off – but he stopped laughing shortly afterwards as Connelly roared out of his corner, immediately trying to put a dent in him.

Connelly got through with several clean head shots in the opener and it wouldn’t have been a surprise had Davey gone over but he was obviously tougher than his lithe frame would have one believe. His head started to clear towards the end of the round and he laughed again to try and show he wasn’t bothered which, naturally, he was.

Davey boxed better in the second and took that round but Connolly wasn’t going to be denied and hunted Davey down in the third. You just got the impression that Connolly was that bit stronger and fitter and so it proved; Davey moved nicely off the back foot in the fourth to take a share but Connolly just had too much down the stretch.

Davey had skills but Connolly wouldn’t let him used them. Whenever the pair got into exchanges, even when Davey had success he couldn’t stem the tide. A cracking little fight, which Mr Alexander scored 60-55 to Connolly.

Nottingham lightweight Leigh Wood (9st 9lbs 6oz) dominated Birmingham veteran Sid Razak (9st 12lbs) from start to finish in the show opener, winning 60-54 on Mr Latham’s card.

Wood started at such a pace that Razak seemed taken aback at first and then annoyed enough to get on the front foot himself. It didn’t last long though, and Wood’s clever switching and hurtful-looking body shots probably didn’t help matters.

Razak did get through with a big right hand in the fourth round. The only result was that Wood sparked into life and opened up with both hands and continued to do so for a decent spell. In the fifth and sixth rounds Wood showed nice accuracy and variety and couldn’t miss Razak.

The Brummie, now 40, is having his fights watched closely by the Board and this probably didn’t do his case for continuing a lot of good. In his defence, he certainly tried, was in reasonable shape but Wood was just too much for him. Wood improves to 8-0, Razak is 9-107.

Stoke's Josh McLaren (10st 8lbs) moved to 2-0 against another Birmingham veteran, Jason Nesbitt (10st 7lbs 2oz). Nesbitt had more success than his fellow citizen Razak, giving McLaren patches of discomfort before going down 59-56 on referee Latham’s card. At one point in the opener, it didn’t look like it would reach the final bell. A tasty right hand through Nesbitt’s guard made the 39 year-old’s legs dip and McLaren poured it on. Nesbitt did look in a spot of bother, but he’s weathered worse in his now 9-165-4 career and he did so here too.

Nesbitt’s first success came in the third round. He banged in a hard right hand over the top then repeated the same trick with even more effect. McLaren learned the lesson and blocked the third of Nesbitt’s effort.

McLaren understandably came out a little more reluctant in the fourth round and, as a result, boxed in more measured fashion with more success. Nesbitt thought he’d try his luck again in the fifth; he winged away with gusto and he probably did enough to take the session. The effort took it out of the old boy though and he visibly tired in the last.

Rotherham lightweight Atif Shafiq (9st 13¼lbs) beat Trowbridge trier Dan Carr (10st 0lbs 1/2oz) 59-55 on Michael Alexander’s card. The tally was a fair reflection of a fight in which Shafiq clearly had the upper hand in most departments though Carr put up a good show. Shafiq looked sharp from the off and rattled home a couple of early left hands to the body.

Carr tried some characteristic roughhousing in the third but it didn’t work and he reverted to self-preservation for a while. It became a bit messy with Mr Alexander having to call ‘Break’ more often than he’d like.

Shafiq rattled home another left to the body but tough man Carr just waved him in. Carr seemed to be getting a little irritated in the fifth, mainly due to the fact that Shafiq was keeping up a decent pace. Carr came out looking for action in the last and the pair wouldn’t break initially, leading to a lecture.

Eckington’s Callum Hancock (11st 5lbs 5oz) won as he liked against Rick Boulter (11st 6lbs 7oz), 60-54 on Mr Alexander’s card. Boulter employed his usual ‘silent agreement’ (a term coined by Teddy Atlas) which simply means that if the opponent doesn’t try and take his head off, Boulter will go through the motions. At least that what it invariably looks like.

Lincoln man Boulter has talent and moves well – which makes his stock strategy all the more annoying – but he always boxes with defence uppermost in mind. Political correctness alone stops him being compared to a WWII Italian tank – five reverse gears and one forward, in case of attack from the rear.

At one point in the third round he turned his back and jogged away so Hancock ran after him and gave him a left to the head. The referee would have found it difficult to tally any other score.

Not many of the fans would have gone home saying the show wasn’t decent value. Despite the appearance of a few well-known journeymen, it wasn’t over-populated by them. The oldest fighter in the ‘home’ corner was Leigh Wood at the ripe old age of 24. Good signs for the future.

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