Whilst all the local sporting headlines have been about Saturday’s big game at Anfield, between Liverpool and old rivals Manchester United, there was another local Merseyside sporting event that went somewhat under the radar due to the enormity of the fixture, which is a mighty shame as game couldn’t possibly produce even a fraction of the excitement and drama that the international pugilistic extravaganza presented by Stephen Vaughan Jr and his team did on Friday night.
With the planned headlining title fight falling through just days before the event, a good sized crowd still turned out to watch the drama unfold at the recently reopened Grand Central Hall in Liverpool.
First up was local youngster Jay Carney making his second professional outing, against Czech Republic’s Petr Gyna.
What can I say, young Carney impressed with a very good stoppage win on his pro debut back in December, however to compare that win with the one on Friday night is like comparing a Reliant Robin with a Ferrari.
Carney was far more relaxed, than in his previous fight, picking his shots and controlling virtually every second of eight minutes and thirty two seconds it took him to secure the second victory of his fledgling career.
Carney’s performance belied his tender years, as he controlled centre ring, with good solid jabs and sharp combinations, even when Gyna stepped up the pace Carney kept his cool and just picked the Czech lad off with crisp double handed flurries.
After easily securing the first couple of rounds and with just about thirty seconds of the third stanza left, Carney threw a peach of a right hand to send Gyna to the canvas, as referee Jimmy Byrne made the count, the Czech lad tried desperately to get to his feet, but his legs weren’t having any of it, handing young Carney his second TKO victory, this time on the two minute and thirty two second mark of the third round.
Another of Stephen’s Vaughan’s growing stable of fighters, David Agadzhanyan, was next up, against the seriously tough Daniel Bazo.
Have to say whilst all the performances were exceptional in their own way, this was the fight of the night in my eyes, two tough uncompromising young fighters in a seriously entertaining all action battle royale.
Legendary referee Mickey Vann really had his work cut out for him when these two warlords locked horns, that’s for sure.
It was clear their was no love lost between Agadzhanyan and Bazo, as well as both clearly believing that attack is the best form of defense, I can assure you neither men took a defensive stance anytime during this bout, it was full on attack by both for every second of every round by both protagonists.
Agadzhanyan secured the first three rounds, only just, in my eyes, due to his being just a little controlled in his attacks, as well as landing the cleaner, crisper shots,
The fourth stanza was way too close to call. These two really stepped it up, much to the delight of the crowd they threw caution to the wind and literally went toe-to-toe for virtually the whole three minutes.
After four scintillating rounds referee Mickey Vann scored the bout 39-37 for Agadzhanyan.
Next up was Bradford’s Tasif Khan, against the Czech Republic’s Ladislav Miko, initially it was Miko taking the fight to Khan, however Khan is as savvy as they come and used this to his advantage, drawing the Czech lad into a well conceived trap.
Each time Miko advanced Khan just slipped to the side and either dropped a shot to the body or let rip with a double handed salvo of incredibly quick shots to both body and head.
On around the forty five second mark, Miko felt the full power of a Khan big left to the body and instantly fell to the deck, the brave lad made the count but just seconds later walked straight into another one, again he made it to his feet but it was clear to everyone ringside that he wasn’t in any fit state to continue, as such it came as no surprise when referee Jimmy Byrne waved the bout off on the one minute and fifteen second mark of the first round.
Two unbeaten, big hitting prospects, Birmingham’s Antonio Counihan and the Czech Republic’s Lukas Radic were next up.
I’m sure there’s no need to say this, but someone’s ‘O’ has to go. Counihan has had five wins, four of which were by early stoppage, Radic on the other hand just the two, one by stoppage win and the other by Knockout.
Initially Radic took the fight to Counihan, throwing power punch after power punch, however the Brummie kept his cool and cleverly boxed off the back of his excellent jab, which just kept the dangerous Czech lad back enough to prevent him being able to get the full power into his shots.
Around the two minute mark, Counihan stepped in and landed a big right, which sent Radic straight down to the canvas, clearly disoriented Radic just about made it to his feet just as referee Mickey Vann was one second away from finishing the count.
No surprise on the restart Counihan, a former England amateur captain with masses of international experience, went straight in for the finish and boy oh boy did he do it in style, sending the unsteady Radic back to the canvas with a sensationally quick combination to body and head.
Once again Radic just made it to his feet, but his unsteadiness left no option but for referee Mickey Vann to wave the fight off on the two minute and twenty eight second mark.
Liverpool’s very own Lee Boyce was the next to be in action, against Matus Olah, now if the first round stoppages by Khan and Counihan were impressive, but they just can’t compare to the speediness of Boyce’s victory, which was over in the blink of an eye.
Literally the first shot Boyce threw, a full on power shot to the body, sent the Czech down and out, the time just twenty seconds!
Next up was another Merseysider, Nick Quigley who faced Ludvig Gina. Quigley, who must have noticed just how quickly Boyce returned to the changing room, couldn’t possibly have expected that he too would make an early night of it.
Whilst not quite his first shot, as in the case of Boyce, Quigley dominated the opening seconds, utilizing his jab to great effect, before backing Gina onto the ropes and shooting out a vicious jab, which sent the Czech fighter to the deck writhing in agony and with blood pouring from his nose.
Referee Mickey Vann waved the fight off in an instant and called the ringside doctor into the ring on just the fifty five second mark. As the final result was read out, it was announced that Gina had a broken nose as a result of Quigley’s jab.
With five of the six bouts ending prematurely, surely the final bout of the night, between Paul Economidies and the highly durable Ghanaian Isaac Quaye, would go the distance – Wrong!
The first round was a bit messy, with Quaye holding on each time Economidies started to get his punches flowing, which continued throughout the round, leaving referee Jimmy Byrne no option but to give the Ghanaian a stern talking to.
Economidies was clearly quite unhappy with Quaye’s behaviour in the first round, as such when he came out for the second he changed tactics, this time choosing to step in and let a shot or two off before stepping out, which worked a treat as Quaye was unable to grab hold as easily.
This tactic really paid dividends and after just thirty seconds or so, Economidies sent Quaye to the deck, after he caught the stretching Ghanaian with a perfectly placed side of the shot to the head, sending the off balance Quaye down to the canvas.
Quaye complained bitterly that it was a slip, only for referee Jimmy Byrne to have words with him once more.
Just seconds after the restart Quaye was down again, this time it was deemed a push and not counted, but before he could get himself settled Economidies stepped in with a cracking right to send him down again.
Quaye made it to his feet but as soon as the bout was restarted Economidies once again stepped in to send the slightly wobbly legged Ghanaian down again, this time though referee Jimmy Byrne waved the fight off, on the one minute and forty five second mark.
Great night of action, true some of the fights were over quickly, but as Tasif Khan succinctly said in his post fight interview ‘boxers don’t get paid overtime’, can’t argue with that.