Birmingham: It’s Got Hits (didjaseewhatIdidthere?)
In spite of the big MMA fights that have been taking place recently and in spite of the looming trip to London for UFC95, of late it’s been all about the boxing for me. I don’t know why, but pure pugilism has just been catching my attention more.
Birmingham, bless its little (local) heart, has no fewer than four boxing cards coming up in the next six weeks or so. “What I need is a preview post from someone with no particular information and who barely knows what’s going on with them,” I hear you thinking. Don’t lie. I heard ya.
Sunday the 1st of February – Warrior Promotions @ Edgbaston Tower Ballroom
This is an afternoon card (doors at 2pm), which I strongly approve of as long as they don’t start happening midweek (don’t laugh. This is boxing. The stupider the idea, the more likely it is to happen). I also approve of the big concept at the centre of this one – amongst other fights, there’s going to be a four bout series between Errol Johnson’s and Richie Woodhall’s gyms. It doesn’t seem to be the Black Country vs Birmingham competition that such a thing could have been, alas, but it’s still a fun idea. The headliner will be between Max Maxwell (Woodhall) and Tony Randell (Johnson) for the Midlands Area middleweight (or possibly light-middleweight, not completely sure) title strap. I’m inclined to assume that Maxwell will walk through this one and get it finished inside the time, although I thought that about his fight against Rob Kenney too and turned out to be utterly wrong (typical, ayit. The only time I picked away in all the derby title matches last year turned out to be the only time where the Black Country actually won). My main memory of Tony Randell is of him repeatedly leaping forward for a superman punch against Sam Horton, and as far as I recall not landing it once.
According to the promoter on this messageboard thread the card also looks likely to feature Anthony Hannah, Steve Gethin, Eddy McIntosh, Mark Regen, Rhys and Llewellyn Davies, Chris Male, Keiran Grey, and a whole bunch of others.
Friday the 6th of February – Matchroom Sports @ The Aston Events Centre (formerly better known as the Villa Leisure Centre)
Only announced a couple of weeks ago, which seems a bit saft and has ensured that I won’t be going. I’ve already got other plans, baby. It’s a shame, though, since this means I will be missing a British title fight: this bill is topped by Stourbridge’s Rob Norton defending his cruiserweight championship against David Dolan (of Sunderland and of runner-up-in-the-first-Prizefighter-tournament fame). One would have thought that Dolan would be too young and athletic for Norton, but it’s always unwise to completely count out a crafty veteran with an awkward style and stopping power. Yam though I am I suppose I’ll pick Dolan, but if it all goes a bit Kenney/Maxwell (see above) I’ll still be happy. See? There’s no way I can lose. Y’all wanna play my game but you can’t.
I’m sure I read somewhere that Dean “Deano” Harrison’s crack at Lenny Dawes for the English light-welter title was rescheduled for this card too (after Dawes failed to make weight a little while ago), but that seems surprising. Given who is involved, one might have expected it to be on the Hennessy card in March. Dunno, though. No idea who else is meant to be on the card, either. Mutley? That’d be cool, although since I won’t be there I don’t care all that much.
Saturday the 28th of February – Sports Network @ The NIA
Frizank Wizank (and/or Sports Network, Setanta contract disputes permitting) returns to Birmingham on the 28th with what actually looks like being a surprisingly good card. The big selling point will be the debut professional fights of “The Olympic Three” – gold medalling self-congratulating James DeGale, non-medalling lewd-behaving (allegedly) Billie Joe Saunders, and non-competing non-weight-making Frankie Gavin (from BERMINGU-URM). That’ll be quite the thing to say you saw live, but the best fight here for me is Steve Bendall (Coventry) defending the English middleweight title against Darren McDermott (DUDLA-AAAAY). I think Macca will/should be able to aggress his way through this, but Bendall (who I do like too) can be a tricksy one.
Elsewhere on the coupon, two commonwealth championships are defended. Maulin’ Matt Skelton takes on Martin Rogan in a heavyweight bout that’ll probably mostly consist of push’n’shove clinch stuff but should at least be a fight for as long as it lasts (Skelton will stop him somewhere in the middle rounds, sez me, but Rogan won’t concede a moment whilst he still has his senses about him), and Brumagem’s own Don Broadhurst defends the super-flyweight title against Andy Bell. Never seen Bell and since he’s a former British champ I’d expect this one to be competitive, but Broadhurst looked excellent last time at the NIA and I’d tip him for bigger things.
Saturday the 14th of March – Hennessy promotions @ The Aston Events Centre
First and foremost: Forty-five quid? Forty-five bleedin’ effin’ quid for a card in a sportshall? Ridiculous. Some folk seem to wish to hold up Hennessy as some sort of Promoter Of The People figure, and it’s clearly utter crap.
Putting that aside (difficult as it may be), the all-Birmingham main event is the only thing that’s been confirmed for this but it’s a hell of a fight: Wayne Elcock defends his British middleweight title in a second city derby against Matthew Macklin. Twelve thee-minute rounds of pure East Bromwich fisticuffs. This is a hard one to pick – they both have power and both are capable of actually boxing when they put their minds to it. Macklin is the younger and bigger of the two, though, and Elcock has been known to suffer… lapses. I’m picking Macklin on points (although not without having to struggle through some hairy moments), although a cut stoppage via Elcock’s sharp head is also always a possibility.
£45, though? Jesus Christ Almighty.
Boxing news from The Land Of The Righteous (rather than that there Birmingham)
~ Stuart Elwell of Darlaston will be challenging Kell Brook for the British welterweight title in London on Friday. He’s not widely tipped, but you never know.
~ It doesn’t seem to be reported elsewhere, but Wolves Civic Hall’s website suggests that there’ll be a card there on the 27th of Feb, with Rob Kenney vs Jimmy Doherty for the Midlands welterweight (that’s what it says) title, as well as Lyndsey Scragg, Steve Saville, Chris Lewis, Joel Ryan, Russell Colley, Ben Wilkes, Richard Ghent, and Danny Johnson.
EDIT 2/2/9: In the name of bring you the latest information, I update. Firstly, Andy Bell is off the NIA card on the 28th due to failing a drugs test. Presumably someone else will be found for Broadhurst to fight, as I imagine he’s sold a lot of tickets.
Secondly, at the Tower Ballroom card yesterday I grabbed a flyer/poster thing for the Villa Leisure Centre do on the 6th. According to that, the coupon includes Young Muttley, Michael Hunter, Rob Hunt, Prince Arron, John Donnelly, Nathan Brough, Jamie Ball, Nick McDonald and James Flinn as well as your Norton vs Dolan championship match.