Newport’s former Welsh and British Masters Champion Lee Churcher made a successful return to the ring last Saturday night, Nottingham’s Matt Scriven by a 40-35 points margin.
Churcher, who hasn’t fought since his ninth round stoppage victory over Barrie Jones that secured him the Welsh title in May 2012, almost didn’t get to fight at all, after his opponent Ratislav Frano, as well as Elimer Rafael, who was due to face Andy Bell, Julius Rafael, who was to be Matt Scriven’s opponent on the night, and their trainer all failed to make their flight from Slovakia.
With time running out promoter Wayne O’Hara initially tried to get the errant Slovakian boxers on another flight, when it was clear that wasn’t going to happen then tried in vain to locate UK based opponents.
With time fast running out Matt Scriven, who had fought Churcher back in 2010, suggested that rather than lose all three bouts off the show that he and Churcher could fight each other.
Right from the off it was clear that both protagonists were in the mood for a good old fashioned slug fest.
After some nice tidy exchanges it was Scriven that was first to let rip in anger, with a scorching body shot, Churcher responded in kind and then for the rest of the round it was pure toe-to-toe pugilistic heaven for the fans, as the pair slugged it out big time.
More of the same in both the second and third rounds, much to the delight of the crowd, who had been on their feet for virtually every second of the fight.
In the forth stanza Scriven came out of the blocks fast, intent on securing centre ring with some beautiful jabs and crisp combinations, however Churcher was in no mood to play second fiddle to anyone, coming in hard and fast throwing powerful body shots and uppercuts at every opportunity.
About half way through the round Churcher landed a peach of a right, sending Scriven to the canvas. Scriven recovered before the count concluded and boxed smart, as Churcher went all out to finish off the Nottingham man.
At the end of four scintillating all action rounds, referee Lee Murtagh scored the bout 40-35 in favour of Churcher.
Prior to the excellent Churcher-Scriven bout, there were five top class exhibition bouts, featuring some of the young guns from Nottingham’s Robin Hood Gym.
These bouts gave the crowd an early peek at some of the future stars that are destined to follow in the footsteps of Nottingham’s most famous boxing star, Mr. Carl Froch.
The first of the bouts featured Robin Hood’s Jack Whitehouse against Will Smith from Leeds.
What a cracking closely fought fight, both boxed beautifully throughout, but at the end of the bout it was Whitehouse whose hand was held aloft in victory.
Following the excellent Whitehouse-Smith battle see Carl Coulthard in action against another local lad Aaron Stark.
Both lads went hammer and tongs for virtually the whole two rounds, but with just about twenty seconds of the second round to go Stark landed a peach of right hand to send Couthard to the canvas, unfortunately Coulthard tried to get to his feet but just failed to make the count.
Next up see Connor Riddick take the victory laurels against another local lad Dan McCreedy.
Right from the off it was clear Riddick wasn’t interested in anything but a good win, letting rip with big rights and lightning quick double handed flurries.
About midway through the bout McCreedy clicked it up a notch, in doing so played straight into to Riddick’s hands, as he was well up for an old fashioned slug fest and ultimately produced the second win of the night for the Robin Hood Gym crew.
The fourth bout of the night was a sensational all action battle royale between Tom Mulligan and Peterborough’s Dominic Masses.
The first round was very much a fifty/fifty round, with both protagonists more than happy to box at a fast pace, however saying that Mulligan shook Masses a couple of times with some pin point accurate exocets.
Round two see Masses in the ascendance, however even though the Peterborough man was backing Mulligan up for a good part of the fight it was the Nottingham man that secured the round, after sending Masses to the deck twice.
With blood pouring from his nose and on unsteady legs nobody would have been surprised if Masses decided not to come out for the third, but he did and as before took the fight to the Nottingham man.
For about two thirds of the round it looked like Masses would turn the tables on Mulligan, having shook the Nottingham man with some big right hands, however it wasn’t to be as Mulligan managed to settle himself after yet another barrage of shots and land a seriously hard right to the head, that sent Masses to the deck once more.
Before Masses had even landed on the canvas his corner had decided enough was enough and quite rightly threw the towel in.
The final exhibition bout was yet another stormer, this time featuring the highly exciting Tom Langley taking on Portsmouth’s Jules Phillips in a four round Super Bantamweight contest.
What a fight, without doubt both lads have a good future in the sport, especially young Tommy Langley, who boxed with a maturity that belied his tender years, keeping his distance nicely and just stepping in whenever he liked to land a cracking right or a tidy combination.
After four fantastic rounds it came as no surprise that it was Langley whose hand was raised in victory, most deservedly in my eyes.
Tom Langley is one seriously talented young man, boy oh boy can this kid box, definitely one to watch in the future, word is the eighteen year old is going to be turning pro this year, I for one look forward to him boxing on the pro circuit, that’s for sure.
With so much drama preceding the event who could have expected that the show would have gone so well and whilst there was only one pro bout in the end, nobody moaned or asked for their money back, how could they, it really was a good night of boxing.