On Saturday night British Light Middleweight champion Aaron Lowery and British Middleweight champion Gareth Gardner cemented their positions as the number one fighters in their respective weight divisions after both successfully defending their British titles in front of another massive crowd at the league's World's Collide promotion at Effingham Park Hotel near Crawley in West Sussex.
The show had been hyped as the league's biggest night of summer action with a bumper fourteen bout card of boxing on offer, and the event more than lived up to expectations with Lowery and Gardners title defences headlining the feast of fistic action.
Opening the show with another impressive performance that belied his relative ring inexperience was Margate Middleweight Mussy Daniels who's unorthodox style of boxing bewitched yet another vastly more experienced opponent. Daniels was up against twenty fight veteran Carl Sweeney from Manchester who was hoping his experience would give him the edge in the evenings opener, but once again Daniels proved he is a man going places as he swayed in and out of range before unleashing some powerful combinations to the head and body of the bemused Sweeney to earn a unanimous points victory after three very entertaining rounds of action.
Next up in Welterweight action Southmoreton's Terry Russell and Crawley's Stuart Goodwin threw their names into the hat for fight of the night accolade as the pair treated the crowd to a contest that would have been more than worthy of main event status. Goodwin was entering the bout of a career best performance last time out when he narrowly lost out to current novice Welterweight champion Tom Knight back in November, whilst Russell was looking to record his first win inside the league after his previous contest with Lee Dalglish ended in a draw.
From the opening bell the it was clear that Russell had tunnel vision for this particular encounter with his only thought being victory as he looked like a man possessed marching forward and unloading hurtful looking combinations to the head of Goodwin. But as the round progressed Goodwin started to find his feet and began to find his own success snapping the head of Russell back during the numerous heated exchanges. The pattern of the first continued throughout the remaining rounds and in a seesaw battle that was nail bitingly close, both men found their successes. In the end it was Russell that seemed to have the last word in the rounds with the more eye catching shots that had obviously caught the judges eye to earn him the unanimous point decision.
Returning to the league after a year on the sidelines, London's Joey Pirotta was back in action for the first time since his epic battle with Kris Bain at the league's Collision Course promotion. Pirotta had previously campaigned in the league's Super Middleweight division where he carried considerable power, and for this outing he had slimmed down to the Light Middleweight division to lock horns with Margate's former amateur standout Alan Wilks who at thirty eight was looking to make a name for himself in one of the league's busiest divisions.
As the fighters came together to get their final instructions from referee Seamus Dunne it was evident that Pirotta who weighed in at 11st 2lbs for the contest had the height and reach advantages in proceeding, but the muscular Wilks had a look of confidence as he made his way back to his corner before the action got underway.
Over the three rounds of action it was Wilks who clearly looked the boss as he unloaded some powerful swinging shots that rattled into the ribcage of his taller adversary, but the teak tough Londoner absorbed them all and was still actively looking to land his own bombs right to the very end. Reading out the result master of ceremonies John Atkins confirmed the general consensus at ringside declaring Wilks the winner by unanimous decision.
In bout number four Lewisham's Rossco Parker confirmed his status as one of the league's most exciting twelve stone fighters after being involved in another electrifying encounter this time with Manchester's Dean Whitby. Parker was last in action back in March when he narrowly lost out on claiming the league's vacant English Super Middleweight belt in an epic dust up with Ramsgate's Sam Holloway, and Parker was yet again involved in one of the fights of the night after edging out a determined Whitby during their toe to toe thriller.
From the opener both men had little trouble in finding their opponent as the pair seemed happy to stand and trade. Whitby fighting out of the Urmston Murry camp in Manchester looked menacing as he stood and traded with Parker and found some early success with some spiteful looking uppercuts, but for Parker it was the body shots that looked to be his money punches in the unfolding carnage as he peppered the ribcage of Whitby on numerous occasions. As the bell rang out to signal the end of the round the outcome of the fight was no clearer as both men could not be split in a frenetic opener.
As the contest moved into rounds two and three the relentless pace continued, and it was hard to separate the fighters as both were landing with frequency. Moving into the final round the work rate of Whitby had slowed and it was Parker that was showing the better conditioning as he moved forward landing combinations to the body of the visiting Whitby that looked to have edged the contest in his favour. As the final bell rang out in the arena, both boxers were greeted with rapturous applause from the excited crowd keen to show their appreciation for the contest they had just witnessed, and after three enthralling rounds it was left to the judges to declare Parker the winner by unanimous decision.
In the final bout before the first interval of the show Light Middleweight rivals Rian Witcomb and Mark Fisher were looking to settle the score once and for all as to who the league's best eleven stone fighter from Hastings was when the pair faced each other in a final eliminator for the vacant Queensbury Novice Light Middleweight belt. The pair who had been gym mates previously had met once before in the league when Witcomb had handed Fisher an unexpected loss after edging a very competitive affair, but this time Fisher who had gone on to claim the league's novice title at the weight above was confident his new found dedication to the sport would pay dividends as he looked to erase the Witcomb blemish on his record.
In an encounter that went back and forth throughout the three closely fought rounds the judges were unable to split the pair handing down the verdict of a majority draw. With the argument still left to be settled and no clear winner in the bout, the pair may find themselves completing the trilogy later on in the year.
In a weight category that has never really sparked into life since the league's creation, the Queensbury Heavyweight division finally had something to shout about when league debutants Leroy Manhertz and Adie Eckworth stepped into the ring to produce a highly entertaining contest. Before the bout a very confident Manhertz had predicted a dominant display during his first outing in the league, and over the the course of the first round his pre fight predictions had looked optimistic as the undefeated Eckworth worked well behind his spear like jab that found the target with worrying regularity.
As the bout progressed Manhertz started to look more comfortable as he found his feet and started to back up Eckworth with some clubbing shots, and as the contest entered the final stages Manhertz was visibly growing in confidence as he started to land with a few hefty looking right hands. In the end neither man could find the punch to take the decision out of the judges hands and it was down to the three scoring officials at ringside to give Ipswich's Manhertz the nod via a unanimous decision.
In bout number seven two of the league's newest recruits produced an all action shoot out as Croydon's Tony Clemmey and Dagenham's Craig Hardy put on a thriller in an eliminator for the league's vacant Southern Area Lightweight title. In the pre fight build up Clemmey had predicted he would be the power puncher in the contest, and he looked true to his word during the first couple of minutes as he caught Hardy with a barrage of punches that were raining in from all angles which looked to be shaking Hardy to his boots. To the Dagenham mans credit Hardy showed a granite like chin as he managed to stay upright during the round, but as he made his way back to his corner at the end of the first he looked to be on unsteady legs as he slumped onto his stool.
As the second got underway Hardy looked to have thrown the effects of the first round onslaught and began to find his rhythm as he began to slip the shots that were finding his chin in the first round and come back with some flashy counters, but the question that was on the lips of many at ringside watching the action unfold was could Clemmey sustain that same work rate throughout the contest or could he have blown himself out after exherting so much energy during the opening minutes. As the round continued it appeared that the suspicions of Clemmey's output dropping were well founded as he was throwing far less in the second and getting punished when he missed, and the first major break though for Hardy in the contest came towards the end of the second when a flurry of punches looked to have Clemmey in some trouble forcing him to his knee's. Although Clemmey was not badly hurt, the knockdown had completed a remarkable turnaround considering the punishment Hardy had taken minutes before, and Dagenham's Hardy continued to look the fitter of the pair during the final stanza of action to record his first league victory and set up a showdown with Leatherhead's Mark Holden for the title on September 22nd at the Epsom Downs Racecourse in Surrey.