There is never a dull moment when there’s a professional boxing card in Wales. Saturday night’s card, in the city of Newport, had a bit of everything from great fights, a shocking upset and strange decisions, and that was just in the ring. A couple of fights fell through, including the headline Commonwealth title fight between Ashley Lane and Robbie Turley. There was, originally, meant to be a vacant Welsh middleweight title fight between Geraint Goodridge and Daniel Barton. That fell through as Barton was taken ill a couple of weeks beforehand. Prospect Jake Anthony was available, to step in, but the British Boxing Board of Control rejected the fight. Ashley Lane and Geraint Goodridge still fought, in separate bouts, but four rounders instead of title fights. The highly anticipated debut of North Walian Sion Yaxley fell through at the last moment. A huge blow for all the fighters that were scheduled to meet. Though the crowd still got to see a fantastic card from top to bottom.
The show was broadcast by Wales’ national broadcaster S4C and the coverage was very good. It’s great seeing boxing cards being shown and available free to all in the UK. Promoter Sanigar Events put on a show with something for everyone – debutants, undefeated prospects and some 5050 matchups.
Wales’ most decorated amateur had been out of action for just over a year. He’s the current No.1 WBC flyweight contender and will likely get his shot at current champion Cristofer Rosales in 2019.
Trained by Tony Borg, his clash with Tanzania’s Adam Yahaya was an exercise in shaking off the ring rust and getting back under the bright lights. It took about a minute of the opening round, for Selby, to start finding his groove. Then came the fast hooks, combos and even a little shuffle.
In the second, Andrew started going through the gears with his opponent wilting under the pressure. Yahaya, 28, was looking lost and starting to get battered. A barrage along the ropes brought the intervention of referee Chris Jones. The gulf in class was clear to see despite Yahaya having never been stopped before. He was outclassed and outgunned.
Afterwards, Selby, 29, said he’d have preferred more rounds and will be back, in action, in December. He’s an extremely gifted switch-hitter and it’s great to see him back where he belongs.
Andrew Selby remains unbeaten at 11-0, 6 KOs while Adam Yahaya drops to 18-4-1, 7 KOs.
Tony Dixon took on Keiran Gething in a highly anticipated clash. The pair had been meant to clash earlier in the year but an injury forced Dixon out. There was a bit of needle in the lead up to the fight but by the end, the two warriors had plenty of respect for each other.
Gething, 24, used his left jab well early on and also landed good body shots. Dixon, at times, had success with his left hooks. The majority of the rounds were close and always competitive. Tony’s breakthrough came in the forth as a thunderous right crashed home, dropping his foe. Kieran beat the count and did well to fend off the follow-up attacks.
Both men won a good share of the following rounds. Gething was always busy with the jab while Dixon, 26, was still landing solid shots. They both gave a great account of themselves and as each round passed it looked like it would be a close-run thing on the scorecards. Tony finished, the last couple of rounds, the stronger and with the knockdown, in his favour, he was awarded the win by referee John Latham, 95-94.
He is now the Welsh champion at 147lbs and 154lbs. So, he has plenty of options. His record improves to 11-2, 3 KOs. Kieran Gething did ten rounds, for the first time, and will have learnt a lot, his record falls to 6-2-1, 2 KOs.
In the show headliner, Welsh champion Gavin Gwynne, 28, took on English champion Myron Mills, 22, in a clash of unbeaten prospects.
Gwynne at 6 feet tall was a few inches the taller man but it was Mills who quickly found his timing and range. Byron was slick and countering well, in the early rounds. As the fight progressed it was the tenacity and huge ‘engine’ of the Welshman that took over the fight and won the rounds. Mills had been slipping jabs and timing his hooks, early on, but Gwynne adapted and was doing the better work as the rounds passed and was always putting on the pressure.
Mills couldn’t keep the early momentum going, as he faded as the rounds wore on. Gwynne did impressive work along the ropes and also inside. Mills has evasive skills but he was landing less frequently. Gwynne was the one maintaining a high work rate and it won him the fight. The three judges had similar scorecards of 97-93 and 96-94 x 2. Gwynne remains unbeaten at 10-0, 1 KO and moves on towards a British title fight. The current champion is hard-hitting Lewis Ritson. Byron Mills suffered defeat for the first time, his record now reads 12-1, 6 KOs.
In a huge upset, 2012 Olympic silver medalist Fred Evans lost his unbeaten record to journeyman Ryan Toms. A determined Toms landed a couple of solid straight lefts, at the end of the first, that caught Evans’ attention.
Ryan landed that hard left, at the beginning of the second, to drop Evans. He beat the count but was very unsteady, a barrage bundled him over the second time. Again, he got up and tried to clear his head but Toms was timing the left hand perfectly. Fred was sent stumbling to a neutral corner and referee Mark Lyson waved the middleweight fight off. It was a sensational win for the visiting Englishman.
Cardiffian Fred Evans, 27, sees his record drop to 5-1. Ryan Toms’, 36, record now reads 16-15-3, 10 KOs.
In an all-Welsh contest, super lightweight debutant Robbie Vernon, 23, wasted no time in taking the fight to J.D. Jones in the opening round. He set upon his opponent with a barrage of solid shots from the off. Jones looked to fire back but couldn’t get out of the way of Vernon’s forward momentum.
A blistering attack of left and right hooks, against the ropes, brought the intervention of referee Mark Lyson.
Trained by Tony Borg, Robbie Vernon made an impressive winning start to his career while Jones is now 0-3.
Super bantamweight Commonwealth champion, Ashley Lane was set to top the bill. But, his opponent Robbie Turley struggled to make weight and was taken ill. In stepped Ricky Leach, 28, from Kent, England. Bristol’s Lane, 28, was now in a four-rounder instead of ten.
He put on a solid, professional performance and won by a score of 40-37. Ashley Lane’s record is now 13-8-2, 1 KO while Ricky Leach’s record falls to 3-31-1.
Middleweight Geraint Goodridge, 30, was originally billed to fight for the vacant Welsh middleweight title, but contests with Daniel Barton and then Jake Anthony fell through. Goodridge, now trained by Darren Wilson, had to re-focus and take on Italian Victor Edagha over four rounds.
Edagha, 31, was evasive throughout and sparse with his swinging punches. Goodridge the aggressor throughout, as he looked to work his way in. His opponent content not to engage. I had Goodridge winning the fight though referee John Latham scored it a 38-38 draw.
Goodridge will now look to secure that welsh title shot next year, his record is now 2-5-3. Edagha remains winless with a record of 0-43-2.
Undefeated light heavyweight Nathan ‘Thunder’ Thorley, 25, added another stoppage victory to his record. Latvian Jevgenijs Andrejevs, 37, was the victim on the receiving end. A barrage along the ropes, in the second round, forced referee Chris Jones to halt the action.
Welsh champion Thorley, now trained by Gary Lockett, improved his record to 12-0, 6 KOs. Jevgenijs Andrejevs drops to 10-102-3, 4 KOs.
Trained by Gavin Rees, super-lightweight Jake Tinklin, 21, made an impressive start to his professional career. He outpointed Kent’s Ricky Rose over four rounds. A big right hand dropped Rose flat on his back in the fourth and he did well to get up and see the final bell. Tinklin won every round, with an official score of 40-37. Tinklin’s record starts at 1-0 while Ricky Rose’s career reads 3-10-1.
Swansea’s Kristian Touze, 28, maintained his unbeaten record with a four-round decision over Yorkshireman Russ Midgley. Touze picked up a cut but the southpaw boxed his way to a 40-36 decision. His record now reads 6-0-2. Midgley’s record drops to 1-22-2, 1 KO.