Boxing in Bournemouth is certainly booming, with Steve Bendall and Errol Johnson putting on their third show of the year in The o2 Academy. Back on April’s card, Matty Legg outclassed his counterpart, Rob Brown. Legg who is trained by former World Champion, Steve Bendall, is now set to challenge for The Southern Area title on October 7th.
July’s card in Bournemouth featured Sam Jones who secured an impressive win against former foe, Chris Adaway on yet another entertaining night of boxing in Bournemouth.
Saturday 16th of September saw boxing return to Bournemouth with the jewels of the previous cards returning to action in tougher fights, as well as the addition of hot new prospect Chris Billam-Smith making his professional debut, in what can only be described as whirlwind few months for the former amateur star, as he left the amateur game following a contentious loss in The Elite Championship Final, to turn to the paid ranks where he has signed a managerial deal with ‘Hall of Famer’, Barry McGuigan, and has turned to former trainer of the year, Shane McGuigan, to progress him into the paid ranks.
The card itself stated with a bang, with young Brighton based middleweight, Ben Butler and his trainer, Scott Welch, executing a well drilled plan, as Butler threw a wide variety of shots, managed to stay busy, while his instinctive movement ensured he portrayed he was a class above his opponent in the opposite corner.
Yeovil’s Dean Dodge made his professional debut against the very experienced Kristian Laight who was competing in his 272nd professional fight, in a career which has spanned over 14 years and has seen him share the squared circle with just about every hot prospect in the super-lightweight division.
Southampton’s Jimmy Cooper managed to emulate his home corner counterparts, Butler and Dodge as the trio all took home comfortable wins.
Assassin Boxing managed fighter, Jake Best, returned to The o2 Academy after his last outing there ended in disappointing fashion. It was much the same for Bournemouth based Best, as the light-middleweight who had planned on fighting in Dublin in October, fell to a narrow defeat at the hands of awkward opponent, Paul Cummings.
As The MC on night said, ‘Them 12 minutes of boxing was worth the entrance fee alone’. Best who is known for entertaining fights, did not disappoint as the pair traded blows and went toe to toe. A packed out o2 Academy, groaned and at times looked away as heavy hits meant the claret hit the back end of the room.
Normality soon resumed, as Sam Jones got a comfortable 60-55 points decision over Michael Mooney, to see him move to 5 wins in the paid ranks.
Trainer of Sam Jones, Ty Browne added
‘Sam showed a really good temperament. He settled down, took his time and was patient. We are delighted with the win, and we hope to continue to improve. He has been a pro for a year now and we are seeing clear improvements. Hopefully in a years time we will be challenging for titles’.
Bendall trained boxer, Joe Hayes, recovered from a bad cut over his eye, to get an impressive win over MJ Hall, as the popular light-middleweight dismantled his opponent in style, in yet another fan-friendly fight.
Stealing the headlines on the night however, was Chris Billam-Smith, who faced tough contender, Russ Henshaw. A record of 7 wins and 6 losses probably does not do Henshaw justice, but those in the game know that there is not much more of a tougher opponent for a debut contest than Russ Henshaw. Having gone the distance with Matchroom starlet, Isaac Chamberlain in his 5th pro contest, and having shared the ring with former Olympian, Lawrenc Okolie, in his 4th pro fight, this was most certainly a signal of intent from Billam-Smith and his manager Barry McGuigan.
With an incredible amount of support, Billam-Smith, who looked as though he was already a seasoned pro, was composed entering the ring with trainer, Shane McGuigan by his side. The first 30 seconds of this encounter were fascinating, Billam-Smith, a slick operator as an amateur did superbly to work off his jab during the opening stages, wasn’t afraid to box off the back foot, and when called upon, threw a flurry of leading left hooks, and eventually landed with his left to knock his opponent down.
Henshaw survived the 10-count, and Billam-Smith smelled blood, and carried on with a brutal onslaught of body shots and vicious uppercut, which led to referee waving the contest off with under a minute left of the first round.
Afterwards, Billam-Smith added.
‘It felt great to make my debut in my hometown. The atmosphere was incredible. It was great to get the first round stoppage. I’ll be back in the gym on Monday and looking forward to the next one’