Saturday night saw the Queensbury Boxing League return to the Epsom Downs Racecourse in Surrey for it's fourth exciting promotion of 2011, and the capacity crowd were treated to one of the most electric evening's of boxing ever witnessed inside a Queensbury ring with the thirteen bout card being filmed by Sky's Premier Sports channel 433.
The evening started off with two of the fastest knockouts ever seen in the league when Liverpool's Kevin Burns despatched Connor Mclean in devastating fashion with barely a minute elapsing in the very first round. Flying down from Liverpool to make his competitive debut on the show, Burns connected cleanly with Mcleans exposed chin within the first thirty seconds of the round with a thunderous left hook that sent the Irishman crashing to the canvas. Mclean managed to beat the count being issued by referee Seamus Dunne but there was little rest bite for the stricken Mclean who was unable to recover and went down shortly after the first knockdown forcing the stoppage. In bout number two debutant Mike Clarke posted the fastest victory in the league's history when he ended Mark Wrens evening in brutal style knocking out his more experienced opponent in just 23 seconds of the opener. Clarkes cornermen had barely left the ring as he caught Wren with a a big left hook which ended the argument there and then handing Clarke the victory.
In the evening's third contest Crawley's Stuart Goodwin exacted revenge over Mitcham's Lee Cannon posting a unanimous points victory over his previous conquerer. The pair had clashed back in March on the league's Showdown promotion but Goodwin looked determined to rewrite the script and landed the much more meaningful shots throughout the contest to take the victory. Cannon looked ragged during the bout and showed little of the skills that he had employed in the pairs previous encounter and looked dejected as the decision was read out by MC Gary Logan.
Tobiano Mancuso marked his Queensbury debut with a victory when the pocket rocket from Crawley posted a unanimous points victory over David Evans in bout number four. Mancuso fighting out of the Jumbo Boxing club in Redhill was like a buzz saw from the opening bell showing good hand speed as he mesmerized Evans with fast combinations. The fight followed the same pattern for the duration of the bout with Evans unable to get to grips with Mancuso's work rate and accuracy and at the end of three exciting rounds it was clear from ringside there was only one winner.
Bout number five saw Croydon's Joe McDonald extend his unbeaten run with a comfortable points decision over Hasting's Rian Witcomb. Witcomb came into the contest at short notice weighing in well over his normal fighting weight, but to his credit managed to hold off the relentless McDonald throughout the bout. McDonald looked calm and collected during proceedings as he stalked Witcomb around the ring for the duration of the bout, picking his shots well as he systematically walked the shorter Witcomb down waisting very little. In the final round of the bout with the seconds ticking away McDonald made a concerted effort to finish Witcomb off inside schedule, but the bell came to Witcombs rescue just in time. With the league's middleweight division littered with talent McDonald's victory could set up some very interesting contests down the line.
In the final bout before the first interval London's Michael Woolsey made an impressive start in the league with a vicious third round knockout over Redhill's Ben Stafford. Returning to the league for his second bout Stafford was looking to get back into the mix after a year and a half of inactivity, but it was not his night as Woolsey looked impressive throughout the contest sending Stafford to the canvas several times before the ending came in the third round. From the opening Stafford's work had looked laboured as his punches looked to have little snap in them as he worked behind his low held guard. Over all three rounds Woolsey was able to connect with regularity through his opponent leaky defence and it came as little surprise in the third round when Woolsey connected with another big shot that sent Stafford sprawling to the canvas and end his night.
After the break it was the chance of Redhill's Rab Khan to shine as he and fellow first timer Clarke Jones Jr went toe to toe in the league's Light Heavyweight division. Jones fighting out of the Gracie gym in London had looked extremely confident during the build up to the fight and entered the ring as if we was going for a stroll in the park, but he was soon introduced to the canvas courtesy of some good work from Khan in the opening minute. Arising before the count had reached ten Jones continued to throw wild bolo style punches with little success, and and as the opening round came to it's conclusion Jones walked onto a seemingly innocuous counter that sent him spiraling to the floor unable to to get back up. With Khan's army of supporters celebrating his success, Jones looked a forlorn figure as he made his way back to his dressing room to contemplate his defeat.
In the first of the shows title attraction's the highly anticipated showdown between Bexleyheath's Patrick Fielder and Lee Dalglish took place for the league's vacant British Welterweight bauble. Coming through the title eliminator series to earn his crack at the belt Fielder looked in tremendous physical condition as he entered the ring to a chorus of cheers from his traveling fans. For Dalglish the contest represented the chance to secure his place as one of the league's most exciting fighters and the contest lived up to all expectations as both men went toe to toe over five pulsating rounds of boxing in front of the packed arena. In the end it was Fielder that caught the judges eye to take the unanimous decision with a gutsy display and claim the title.
Returning to the league for the first time since losing his debut to Crawley's Dave Bell, Danny Cruttwell looked determined to erase that loss when he faced another veteran in the shape of Dave White. Fulfilling his ambition to box competitively for the very first time at the tender age of 48, White looked sharp and compact as he exchanged blows with Cruttwell who was young enough to be his son. As the bout played out it was Cruttwell who took control of the action with his more accurate work, but it was far from one sided as White did catch his younger opponent several times during the exchanges. But the writing was on the wall when Cruttwell sent White to the canvas in the final stanza of the contest and as the final bell sounded the consensus at ringside was that Cruttwell was a comfortable winner.
Bout number ten saw Hasting's Ian Fletcher beat Guildford's Dave "badBoy" Bennett to grab the vacant Queensbury British Super Middleweight title in emphatic fashion. Bennett was clearly out gunned from the start of the contest and after tasting Fletcher's power on several occasions early looked confused and dazed as he tried to survive several heavy knockdowns. To Bennett's credit he fought back bravely to extend the contest into the third round of the fight but his bravery was unrewarded as he tasted the canvas for the final time unable to get back to his feet. The nature of Fletcher's victory will surely deter many pretenders from tackling the newly crowed champion, but one interested spectator Huzaifah Iqbal who was in line to face Fletcher for the belt before being ruled out through injury was quick to offer his name as a future opponent.
Returning to action after his impressive debut back in June, Oxted's Roo Abbott locked horns with debutant Steve Dixon in the league's Super Middleweight division. After recording an impressive second round stoppage victory over Gravesend's tough Ronnie Ward last time out Abbott went in search of win number two, but he was unable to make any inroads into Dixon's impressive defence during the contest which did not bode well for a good result. From the opening exchanges Dixon looked compact and defensively savvy as he was able to nullify most of Abbotts work whilst landing his own shots as Abbott retreated in straight lines. Abbott rallied in the second forcing Dixon back momentarily but the majority of his shots were once again taken on Dixon's gloves which did little to deter his advancing opponent. As the final round played out Dixon began to march forward catching Abbott repeatedly and as Abbott covered up he was forced to swallow a vicious looking uppercut that exploded on his nose resulting in an eruption of blood. As the final bell rang out the result was a forgone conclusion with Dixon marking an impressive debut, but Abbott will be back and looks determined to rectify his mistakes.
In the shows co main event the popular Lewis Pinto made his return to action to face late replacement Ben Davies for the recently vacated Queensbury British Middleweight strap. Originally scheduled to face the undefeated champion Jimmy Mizon for the title, Mizon decided to go awol after the bout was announced leaving Pinto without an opponent. After securing a replacement in the form of Hasting's James Kelly Pinto was again let down when Kelly pulled out of the contest at the eleventh hour leaving the door open for Davies to step in with just a weeks notice to save the bout. From the opening bell it was clear Davies was intent on causing an upset as he leaped on Pinto catching him with some heavy shots as Pinto tried to fight off the onslaught. The pair exchanged furious action throughout the duration of the opener and it was hard to split the pair as they both made their way back to their corners after a frenetic opener. As the second round commenced so did the action with both men looking to land their bombs but it was Roundshaw's Pinto who made the first major breakthrough as he connected with some heavy leather sending Davies to his knees. As Davies arose on rubbery legs Pinto sensed the victory and unloaded everything but the kitchen sink to force referee Seamus Dunne to jump in saving Davies from any unnecessary punishment. With Pinto victories he celebrated in style but going on that performance at such short notice Davies will definitely be back and with time to prepare will be a force to be reckoned with.
In the main event the bout that had everyone talking took place when defending champion Marlon Stuart took on mandatory challenger Dan Lawrence for the coveted Queensbury British Light Middleweight belt. Making the first defence of his crown after winning the belt back in April Stuart looked in peak condition as he came in just under the championship limit of 11 stone. Also weighing in just under the limit challenger Dan Lawrence looked confident as the pair faced off in the pre fight stare down and with opinion divided on the outcome of the impending battle the atmosphere in the arena was electric as both challenger and champion made their ring entrances. From the opening bell it was Lawrence who pressed the action as he put the champion on the back foot walking him down as he peppered his opponent with shots. Stuart renowned for his devastating power fired back on several occasions catching the challenger with shots that would have put most people down and looked to have Lawrence in trouble after connecting with one heavy shot, but despite his power Stuart was unable to deter the march of the Bexleyheath man. During the opener after one of several heated exchanges Stuart appeared to pull away from the action in some pain as he gestured to his shoulders as if it had been hurt during the action, but referee Seamus Dunne waived the action on and both fighters continued. Over the course of the proceeding rounds the action followed a similar pattern but it was clear to observers at ringside that Lawrence was in command and piling up the points on the judges scorecards. As the bout entered the final round both men looked to be tiring but again it was Lawrence who was pushing the action and as the final bell rang out the crowd showed their appreciation for both fighters. As the unanimous verdict was read out newly crowed champion Dan Lawrence saluted his supporters and capped off a truly memorable evening of boxing.
With the event being filmed for the first time for Sky's Premier Sports the best of the action will be broadcast at the end of the month on channel 433 with highlights from many of the other fights being televised also. With the work already underway for the league's final promotion of 2011 at the Effingham Park Hotel on November 26th exciting times lay ahead for the UK'S premier boxing league.