Midlands titleholder Ryan Kelly gave a dominant display over William Warburton
Two-time Midlands titleholder Ryan Kelly dusted off the cobwebs with a dominant display over William Warburton at Villa Park on Saturday.
The former welter and light-middleweight champ, fighting for the first time since being outpointed in March by Michael McKinson for the WBC international silver belt, took every session of the six-rounder, being awarded a 60-54 decision.
Fighting as chief support to Jack O’Keeffe and Shaun Cooper’s Midlands lightweight title thriller, bearded Kelly kept his opponent in corners and pummeled the body as if thrashing a drum kit. In truth, the Chelmsley Wood hope never hit top gear.
Atherstone’s Warburton (11st 1lb 6oz) loses many more than he wins and entered the contest on a 21-fight losing streak, but, given hope and confidence, he can be dangerous. His record is peppered with upsets. Kelly (11st 3lbs) kept him subdued and respectful. It was a pleasing, workmanlike display from the 25-year-old.
Warburton endured an uncomfortable evening
As early as the first, 32-year-old Warburton’s back was burned scarlet by the ring ropes. He was caught by a cracking uppercut in the second, wrestled down in the fifth and took heavy clumps to the body throughout. William, who has won 26 of 190 contests (10 draws), never looked like being stopped, but endured an uncomfortable evening.
Afterwards, Ryan, who has lost only twice in 16 outings, succinctly summed up the performance: “Great to be back in the ring on Saturday working on new things and getting a comfortable win. What’s next?” Hopefully more title fights and I expect Kelly, after a flirtation with the welterweight division, to return to 11st. He looks so much more robust at light-middle.
Manager Jon Pegg was pleased with the return. “Ryan ticked all the boxes,” he said. “What’s not to like?” He added: “William Warburton has wins over some very good fighters, including (former British middleweight champ) Jason Welborn. Coach Paul Counihan asked for more from Ryan with each round and got everything he asked for.”
Thompson encountered little resistance from Cummings
Unbeaten Selly Oak southpaw Shaka Thompson encountered little resistance from Paul Cummings on the way to his sixth straight win. The 24-year-old, part of Black Country Boxing’s large stable , simply had too much of everything for the Warminster veteran. He bossed every second of the four-rounder for a 40-36 decision.
Cummings, who has now won only two of 39 bouts, soaked up heavy right hooks to the body and, by the third, Shaka (11st 5lbs 14oz) was confident enough to voluntarily fight off the ropes. Cummings (11st 8lbs 14oz) endured sickening uppercuts in the last, but the 33-year-old rode the storm until the final bell. Much stiffer tests await Thompson, who has had all but one of his contests at Villa’s Holte Suite .
There is much work yet to be done with Birmingham super-middle Idris Virgo, a boxer still best known for the national headlines he created as contestant on sun-soaked reality show Love Island . I felt Virgo (12st 7lbs 4oz) struggled against oft-beaten Lewis van Poetsche, but did enough to take the four-rounder 37-39 on referee Parker’s card.
Lydney’s van Poetsche, taking part in his 120th contest (nine wins), is a man who approaches the sport with a smile on his face. The 28-year-old (12st 4lbs 6oz) wore a cloth cap into the ring and sported a waxed, stiletto-sharp moustache. Grinning broadly, he leapt on the ring’s middle strand at the final bell in a mock show of triumph. He certainly had his moments.
Virgo lost his way down the stretch
Body-beautiful Virgo, aged 26, started positively and clattered home stiff right hands, but lost his way down the stretch. He definitely came up short in the last, looking ragged as van Poetsche upped the pressure. The visitor produced the best shots of the contest – a right down the pipe and left hook – in the dying embers of an absorbing contest.
Over six rounds, the result may have been very different. That tells me unbeaten Idris, who has drawn one of his five pro starts, is not yet ready for the step up. River Wilson-Bent, a middle blessed with an army of noisy supporters, continues to make waves, if you’ll excuse the pun. The appeal of the Exhall, Warwickshire , newcomer is understandable: he hits hard and fights with measured aggression.
Eastbourne’s Scott Hillman, a journeyman who has yet to taste victory in 44 bouts, was mere target practice for the 25-year-old. He was in way too deep. As early as the first, I’d written in my notebook: “Hillman offering nothing.”
Wilson-Bent (11st 5lbs 4oz) reddened his flanks with rib-bending hooks and Hillman (11st 2lbs 4oz) spilled to the canvas in the second after shipping a left to the body. He was down again seconds later and Parker waved it off right on the bell with the 38-year-old taking stick against the ropes.
Wilson-Bent extended unbeaten record to four
Wilson-Bent extended his unbeaten record to four. Hillman, and those around him, should carefully consider his future in the game. He is a man used to being beaten, but he is now getting hurt, to boot.
Pegg has high hopes for Wilson-Bent. He said: “River has a fan-friendly style and a real mean streak when the chance arises. “He goes again in Coventry on October 12. He’s one to watch out for.”
Cruiser Ryan Hatton, having his first fight under Birmingham’s Eastside gym banner , shone against tungsten-tough Lithuanian Remigijus Ziausys, a man more durable than a Duracell battery.
Hatton, from Tamworth , caught the 35-year-old, who lost for the 106th time in 131 contests (five draws), with jarring rights and body shots that made this writer squirm in his ringside seat. Ziausys (13st 10lbs 8oz) kept a high guard and absorbed everything thrown at him. There was an awful lot thrown at him.
The shut-out 40-36 score after four one-sided rounds was a formality. Hatton (13st 8lbs 6oz) is now unbeaten in six. The 23-year-old looks a useful addition to the pro ranks.