Call me Russ L

A short post about mass transit

Posted in Combat Sports by Russ L on 30 January, 2013

Boxing, it’s like buses. It runs on diesel, and the people in charge don’t go out of their way to make the conditions of carriage all that clear to you (some might also say it’s similar in the sense that a couple of years can pass without going to a fight card and then you find two that you want to go to on two consecutive nights, but given that I catch a bus most days that doesn’t really work as an analogy for me). I had grown weary of the endless procession of local vs journeyman 60-54/40-36s and just stopped going, but here we had a couple of events that promised a touch more within the space of a couple of nights.

It was supposed to be Walsall Town Hall on the night of Friday the 18th. I saw boxing there a few times back in the olden days, but nothing so grand as a British title fight, and this card had two British title fights. Two together. Once again, this is unlike buses – I have seen fights on buses, but never for a Lonsdale belt.

Alas, I travel by bus (and might have mentioned buses in this post already) and after a spectacular amount of umming and arring even by my own standards (and, trust me now, I can um and ar with the best of ‘em) I decided not to go. It was snowing! There was snow! And amongst all the standard panic that such weather creates in this country, I did not judge it likely that the no. 4 (formerly the 404. They changed it to save you time reading it and pack more story in) would still be running to get me home late at night.

(Also there was irritating stuff with work and flex time and being left with several hours to kill so on. For most people, the rare and unlikely event of being told that you workplace is closing early is definitely a good thing. If you have flex time and you were planning to stay later, it’s a pain in the arse).

It was probably just unnecessary mithering and paranoia. It was definitely a waste of bloody money on a ticket. Whichever way up, I didn’t go in the end.

I regret that now, both for myself and given that it was sold out and lots of folks were desperate for tickets. Having watched the telly broadcast, it seems like it was a good night of fights with a good atmosphere. I’m particularly happy for our new British lightweight champ Martin Gethin, who I saw fight a bunch of times back in the olden days. It seems that he still gives up the first few rounds before he switches on, but after that he looked great in methodically breaking down Ben Murphy. I am also very happy that Jason Welbourne – a boxer from The Endz – got a British title opportunity, even if he didn’t win.

The following night (which would be Saturday the 19th) went better for me, in the sense that I went at all. “Prizefighter: The Welterweights III” was at Wolverhampton Civic Hall, and I do love me a one-night tournament. I know all of the objections to them (and do to some extent agree), but there is something exciting about seeing them advance over the course of the night. The last time that Prizefighter took place in Wolfyhampton it sold out before I got a ticket, but here I was a touch better prepared.

Speaking of the ticket: printed on it were the words (and I quote) “Doors open 6.00p.m. Boxing commences 6.30 p.m”. This was clearly very silly and never going to be true, given that the telly broadcast started at 8pm and there were no untelevised fights scheduled. You do have to wonder why they would want to try to do that to people.

I got over there on the bus (buses, you see), and after a quick pint in the Lych Gate Tavern I got into the absolutely packed Civic Hall. I love the Civic for fightsports anyway (the balcony gives you a great view of the ring), and this time the atmosphere was electric. The Chad Gaynor and Glenn Foot fans seemed to be in especially good voice from where I was sitting, although I suspect that might have changed as you moved around the room.

The action itself turned out to be really, really good. There wasn’t a bad fight in the entire tournament, although (of course) all of the locals out were out in first round.

Thoughts:
~ Naturally, all of the locals went out in the first round.
~ It’s hard to pick a fight of the night. I might have to go for Sam Eggington vs Dale Evans, where Stourbridge Sam took an absolute whupping for three rounds but still fought back relentlessly. Chad Gaynor vs Glenn Foot was very nearly as good, though, and Chad Gaynor’s destruction of Callum Cooper may well have been the best individual round of the night.
~ I found myself (not for the first time) unsure about the BBBofC’s cut rules after Rob Hunt went out to Mark Thompson due to a laceration caused by a head bump (I thought they’d changed things so that such things meant a no-contest nowadays, but this one seems to have gone down in history as a TKO. Hunt was losing, of course, but I couldn’t help but flashback to McDermott vs Elcock in the same venue…).
~ I missed the second knockdown in Glenn Foot vs Steven Pierce due to being distracted by what seemed to be a bit of argie-bagie in the crowd downstairs. Everything was all nice and good-natured up in the cheap seats.
~ Khalid Yafai looked good in the only non-tournament fight of the night (as you would expect), hindered though he was by an opponent who wasn’t keen on doing too much other than holding. This young fella-me-lad is fast. He was possibly chasing the big-swing-dramatic-KO a touch too much, but A) he still got rid of his man in four rounds, and B) what the bloody hell do I know anyway.

A great night, all in all. It’s definitely worth watching if you get the chance. I would love to see some of the fights rematched over longer distances.

If you’d like to see footage of some of the buses discussed in this post, try this link.

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