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Road to Belfast fight report impressive night of comebacks

IRISH featherweight champion Tennyson claimed victory over the number 4 ranked featherweight in Britain on a night that had more successful come backs than Ray Leonard.

Tennyson returned to a Belfast ring for the first time since Pavels Senkovs literally smashed his duck egg in the Odyssey Arena back in October 2013, with a points win over the teak tough Ian Bailey in The Devinish.

‘Tenny’ sported a red glow akin to a someone who forgot to pack sunscreen on a sunshine holiday by the final bell. The sun burnt look, however had nothing to do with basking in the sun or lounging around it arrived because the young prospect threw punches from first to last bell to pass a tough test in style.

Bailey battled bravely throughout and constantly came forward playing his part in a high paced, high octane and highly entertaining eight round clash.

Tennyson matched the English puncher for work rate, but produced superior quality. The young prospect didn’t use his physical advantages or what looked an effective jab in the early rounds. He seemed to be enjoying firing upper cuts the way of his foe on the inside, but still took the rounds.

Tennyson was back on his jab by the half way mark and after impressing with fight showed some flair. By that stage Bailey was sporting more war wounds than Rambo and his left eye was beginning to close.

In the sixth the Beflast fighter showed great shot selection, but despite catching Bailey with a variety of shots the former Carl Frampton foe kept coming forward. The home fighter whipped back his foe’s head with a perfectly timed uppercut in the seventh and seemed to stiffen his legs with a left hook, but Bailey made the last round.

Indeed the Southern Area Champion of England came out firing and caught the local lad with a few shots in the last stanza. An occurrence that didn’t seem to deter Team Tenny as they seemed to think taking a few shots after a knock out reverse might do as much for his confidence as getting victory over a decent opponent.

Martin Lindsay, not quite a comeback kid, but a fighter returning after over a year absence, certainly wasn’t keen on shipping punches. With a Commonwealth and possible British title fight with Josh Warrington scheduled for May 21 the ‘Mac Man’ was worried about getting any kind of cut.

So once Kryzstof Rogowski started to become a bit dangerous with his head Lindsay took him out. The former British featherweight champion showed flashes of quality in the first round. Combinations that would have got you a record score in Street Fighter in the second suggested his timing and accuracy where not hampered by his ring absence.

He rattled his Polish foe with a beautiful right hand before sinking him through the ropes in the third forcing the referee Hughie Russell Jr to call a halt to proceedings 58 seconds into the round.

So long had Dee Walsh been missing from the game that experienced and entertaining ring announcer Harry McGavock afforded him debut status. The 24 year old light middleweight retired after going 5-0 back in 2012, but came back with a bang.

Indeed, Walsh’s first punch since re lacing up the gloves was a knock down blow. A nicely timed right to the temple saw the previously undefeated Krisztian Duka hit the floor. The Hungarian was reacquainted with the canvas just seconds later before another right hand saw a repeat fall and Russell called a halt to proceedings 1:58 into the first.

British flyweight hopeful Luke Wilton put behind him his knock out reverse to Lee Haskin’s with a 60-53 points win over the frustrating Stefan Slavchev.

Wilton might have been wearing the Westham colours, but Slavchev is a ‘Big Sam’ type boxer, ultra defensive. If the Bulgarian wasn’t holding he was running. He was twice docked points for trapping the Belfast fighters arm and he frustrated ‘Winky’ throughout.

The former British title challenger did get a win, but left the ring shaking his head frustrated his opponent didn’t give him a fight.

Before he was opponent for Wilton, Slavchev was camera man and commentator for his stablemate as he took on Alfredo Meli. The Belfast middleweight, however ensured Samet Hyuseinov will not want to watch their bout back with another impressive display.

Meli was aggressive from the off and bullied a mean looking Bulgarian for four rounds. The undefeated 24 year did buzz his foe on an number of occasions, but the awkward journey man managed to survive some big left hands and some flurries and Meli settled for rounds and a shut out 40-36 win.

If Hyuseinov proved a survival specialist then Zoltan Horvath proved the Bear Grills of survival. The diminutive Hungarian showed debutante Paul Hyland the extremes than can exist between the amateur and pro game. The fighter, who has only been stopped once in 38 fights and that was via a cut, only threw punches as a tactic to hold. He seemed to long for Hylands chest like a teen in the 70’s longed for that chest of Tom Jones and tried to bury his head in their from first to last bell.

It was tough opening for the former Ulster champion, but he still managed to impress en route to a 40-36 win. Some right hands in the opening round wobbled his opponent. In the second he showed good footwork and a solid jab thus negating his opponents negative tactics. He had his sizable support of their seats in the third when it looked like he had hurt Horvath again, this time with an upper cut and a left hook.

The fourth followed a similar pattern with Hyland impressing via an impressive skill set and Horvath holding. The Hungarian made the final bell and Hyland got a points victory and valuable exposure to how early pro life can play out.

While Hyland did his best to get tough opposition of the early James Fyres was more keen on getting rounds under his belt.

The lightweight  dropped the brave and game Alex Bazza with a beautiful over hand right in the first round and sent him to the canvas in the third, but on both occasions avoided the clutch electing against up the gears in preference of getting rounds under his belt. As a result he secured a fourth pro win via a 40-34 margin.

To his credit Bazza came to fight and was full of endeavour and heart. The Belfast battler certainly makes his opponents work and helps provide value for money.

Ben Mulligan also made the cards other debutante Derek ‘Del Boy’ Potter work for his win. Breens Gym’s latest pro looked to be hampered by nervous energy in part and took a nice left hook in the second round. However, he was a deserved victor wining 40-37 thanks to some nice flurries and  the fact he landed the more hurtful punches.

An Eastern European import might have afforded Potter the chance to look more impressive, but a test against a fight who came to win will benefit him further down the line.



Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years