Boxing - Butler blitzes Kareem for Commonwealth strap; Walsh too good for Harrison

British super flyweight champ Paul Butler (10-0) added the Commonwealth strap to his collection with a dominant performance over Nigerian holder Yaqub Kareem (10-2-1) at Wembley on Saturday.


The fight was scheduled to take place a week earlier in Liverpool (the whole card was cancelled) but the former ABA champion from Ellesmere Port enjoyed vocal support from a travelling scouse faithful and got off to a flying start. He formed the shape of things to come by whipping in left hooks to the body just before the bell that worried the Nigerian.

'Baby-faced Assassin' Butler had seen enough from the first to reckon Kareem had little to trouble him, and delivered fast and furious combinations at the start of the second. It looked as though the Nigerian would buckle under the pressure, but he stayed upright and rallied defensively.

Kareem's counter jabs were accurate, but infrequent and not powerful enough to put the highly energetic Butler off, and he went on to dominate the action. Another left hook to the body made Kareem wince at the end of the fourth.

Butler didn't let up and went straight on the attack in the fifth. Kareem absorbed two more painful shots which forced him back to the ropes, and during the onslaught, referee John Keane waved it off 24 seconds into the round.

If Butler stays at super fly, some intriguing potential match ups on the European and world scene await him.

Despite claims from the Scott Harrison (27-3-2) camp that this was the best shape he has ever been in, the former WBO super featherweight champion's two comeback fights since an eight year lay off jail stretch were nowhere near enough to prepare him for a younger, fitter Liam Walsh (13-0).

Superior accuracy and much tidier work from Walsh took the first but Harrison's aggression saw him lead with his head, which led to a cut opening up above Walsh's left eye. He was tended to admirably by cutsman to the stars Mick Williamson (how many fights has this chap saved?), kept calm, and carried on.

Even exchanges made up the second and Harrison cranked it up gear to nick the third, but was repeatedly warned by the referee Frank Maass for misdemeanours including using his head and fighting on the break.

Harrison kept up the pressure on Walsh, but couldn't quite cut the ring off quickly enough to unloaded with maximum power, and Walsh avoided the more ferocious shots

Harrison continued with his close range body work in the ninth but  by now was running out of gas fast. Walsh was dominant towards the end of the round, and had Harrison in trouble. But the durable Cambuslang fighter lasted out, and put in a competitive last round, although he was beaten to the punch by a younger man who avoided Harrison's laboured work from range and jabbed his way successfully over the line to clinch it with scores of 98-92 and 97-93 twice. Walsh retained his European WBO trinket, and there was plenty of respect between the pair at the end.

Harrison put in a brave performance, and cut a sad figure, saying afterwards: "I love boxing. I come from a fighting family, and I box for the fans, my fiance Stacey and my kids."

Difficult to see where Harrison goes from here, but he wants to continue. Perhaps boxing is the only thing capable of keep his demons at bay.

In his first fight back since losing by 5th round TKO to David Haye in July last year, Dereck Chisora (16-4), perhaps philosophically, came in the ring to lengthy rendition of Coldplay's 'Fix You'. Borrowed from fictional body building Batman basher Bane, his mask proved to be the scariest part of his perfomance against Argentinian Hector Alfredo Avila (20-13-1).

In fairness to Chisora, his opponent spent most of the fight covering up, but you get the feeling that a gear change from the somewhat lethargic former British champion would have finished it earlier. Avila was happy to hold and spoil and was deducted a point for using his elbow in the sixth round.

The vast majority of the Wembley crowd had buggered off home by the time Chisora managed to stop his much lighter opponent in the ninth round. Maybe the promoter's crystal ball predicted an unmotivated Chisora, and therefore a boring bout, and decided to stick it on last. Maybe Chisora is a bigger draw than TV wise than Nathan Cleverly, and that's why it was left until the end of the night.

Chisora is a tough, tough guy, and is willing to fight anyone. He should be able to get himself up for a fight with David Price, if the price is right.

A light middleweight six threes featured Steve O'Meara (11st 2lbs 4oz) against a pumped up Croydon Bomber Chas Symonds (11st 6lbs), who usually campaigns at welter, but looked well up for it and got off to an aggressive start in the opening round.

O'Meara is a slick boxer with a knockout punch, but Symonds was lively, if a little over exuberant with his crust, which opened up a cut over O'Meara's right eye. Although his work was untidy, Symonds was finding O'Meara in the second with a right hand over the top.

O'Meara was yet to make his height and reach advantage count, and halfway through the third, Robert Williams called the doctor over to have a look as he was now cut above both eyes, and it looked nasty. O'Meara then tried to step it up and take Symonds out. His jab repeatedly rocked Symonds head back on his way in, and the doctor had another look at O'Meara's now swollen eye, but let the fight continue.

By the closer, O'Meara had started to box, and launched some neat combinations as Symonds grew weary, but planted an extremely low blow, causing Symonds to wince, and Rob Williams to take a point off O'Meara for the cod shot.

Rob Williams scored it 58-56 for O'Meara, who had a fair bit of trouble with the Croydon Bomber, and will have a tender boat for a few days. The Bomber's cods should have made a full recovery by now.

The second "Baby-faced Assassin' on the bill, Harrow prospect Mitchell Smith (6-0) had an early night against Aberdonian journeyman Gavin Reid (6-17-1). Mitchell's delivery was highly aggressive. A sharp, crisp right hand put Reid over. He rose gamely, but referee Robert Williams stopped it at 2.39 while he was taking a battering on the ropes.

It sounded like Wise Guy super middleweight Frank Buglioni (8-0) had the most fans in the building for his first eight round excursion against Surrey''s Darren McKenna (2-8). Despite taking a few unneccesaries, Buglioni was forced the issue as usual and knocked out McKenna at 1.36 of the third.

Buglioni's shorts was emblazoned with 'Norgrove' in tribute to fellow Repton boxer Michael, who passed away on April 6 from injuries sustained in the ring nine days earlier.

Michael Norgrove's  funeral will take place at 12.45 on Thursday 25th April at the Forest Park Cemetery & Crematorium, Forest Road, Hainault, Essex, IG6 3HP.

A member of Michael's family said: "Please note seats might be few but you are welcome to stand in the chapel. Funeral colour code - bright and cheerful, as Michael was."

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