A passionate crowd gathered at the Everton Park Centre on Friday night, as Matchroom Sports re-introduced big time boxing to the city of Liverpool, England.
The main event saw Coventry based Ugandan ‘Action’ Jackson Asiku 19-3-0 (10) put his commonwealth Featherweight title on the line against Birkenhead’s ‘Relentless’ Jamie McKeever 18-5-1 (5).
The fight was barely a minute old when Asiku exploded a left hook on McKeever’s chin which shook the hometown fighter to the soles of his boots. Asiku (whose only defeats have come against world class opposition in Nedal Hussein, Gary St Clair and Fahprakorb Rakkiatgym) followed up with a combination of hooks to McKeever’s head and body which sent the Birkenhead fighter to the canvas. No sooner had McKeever cleared his head following a mandatory eight count from referee Phil Edwards he was down again, this time from a venomous left hook to the ribs. McKeever looked for support from his corner before rising to beat the ten count and declare his willingness to continue in what was already shaping up to be a very one-sided affair.
What followed was a forty second systematic demolition of a man whose only previous stoppage defeat had come against Craig Docherty some five years previous. Asiku cleverly calculated and landed punch after punch to McKeever’s head and body, resulting in referee Phil Edwards stepping in to call a halt to the contest after two minutes and thirty five seconds of the first round.
During his post fight interview the well travelled Asiku, who has previously won titles in Australia, Uganda and Thailand, completed his night’s work by informing SkySports interviewer Adam Smith “This is the dream and now I want to go for world titles”.
Chief support on the bill saw Liverpool fighter Tony Dodson face off against London based Jamie Hearn for the English Super Middleweight Championship. Dodson, still only 25, has been plagued by injury during his seven year boxing career and the opportunity to win a title, and continue his pursuit of a shot at British champion Carl Froch, had inspired the Liverpudlian to train like never before.
The partisan crowd welcomed Dodson to the ring with a rousing ovation, and his hardcore following didn’t have to wait long for their support to be acknowledged.
The first round was an even affair, with both fighters feeling their way around the ring whilst landing good shots to the head and body. Hearn looked single minded in his attempt to maintain a high work rate, whilst Dodson looked the more relaxed, calculating his assaults on Hearn.
The fight exploded into life in the second round as Dodson landed a right hook to the jaw of Hearn. Dodson then followed up with a series of sickening uppercuts on the inside as Hearn desperately tried to hold on.
Dodson’s marauding style was clearly starting to sap the energy from Hearn, but the London based 24-year-old refused to lie down and proceeded to go toe to toe, hook for hook much to the delight of the Liverpool crowd.
By the start of the fourth a cut had developed above Dodson’s eye, and Hearn once again upped the tempo in a brave attempt to outwork the Liverpool man. Hearn landed good hooks to the body of Dodson who retaliated with some of his own. With only five seconds in the round left Dodson landed a right hook, right uppercut combination which left Hearn needing the referee’s eight count, before wearily staggering back to his corner.
The fifth round started just as the fourth ended with Dodson landing a solid shot to the face of the now dejected Hearn, leaving him once again to receive a count from referee Howard Foster. By this time the corner of Hearn decided enough was enough and threw in the towel to save their fighter from further punishment.
As Dodson celebrated his victory chants of “We want Froch” rang around the Everton Centre as the fans clearly voiced the fight they’d like to see Dodson take next. Dodson improved his record to 20-3-1 (12) whilst Jamie Hearn dropped to 10-7-1 (4).
On the undercard 22-year-old super-featherweight Stephen Mullen forced Dubliner Eddie Hyland to retire on his stool at the end of the fourth round. Hyland, whom I gave a share of the first, took the fight at short notice, and could not keep up with the workrate and aggressive style of Mullen. At the end of the fourth, I had the fight 40-37 in favour of Mullen, who gained his first win inside the distance. Mullen progresses to 8-2-0 (1), whilst Hyland drops to 4-1-0 (3).
25-year-old Steven McGuire defeated the awkward Simeon Cover over the distance in a light heavyweight contest. This uninspiring six rounder saw Cover content to spoil, hold and smother McGuire’s work. Referee Keith Garner scored the contest 60-54 to McGuire.
Young Sheffield fighter Dwayne ‘Hurricane’ Hill accepted a fight at late notice against game journeyman Daniel Thorpe over four rounds. Hill controlled the fight and had Thorpe on the canvas in the second round, following a three-punch combination. Thorpe looked disinterested in the third and fourth, before crashing in an uppercut to the jaw of Hill with seconds remaining of the fight. Hill was saved by a combination of the bell and ropes and after the fight Thorpe yelled down from the ring “How unlucky was that”. Should the round have been twenty seconds longer Thorpe may well have finished the Sheffield youngster. Referee Steve Gray scored the fight 40-37 in favour of Hill.
Former Welsh commonwealth games hopeful Mike Allen challenged the Blackpool based Slovakian Richard Turba over four rounds. Turba pressured Allen from the opening bell and finished the fight after a minute of the second round. A cluster of hooks to the head of Allen ended the contest. Allen seemed content to sit on the ropes and accept defeat, Turba looked a strong, committed fighter who could be value for money at any show.
David Appleby contested a hard fought draw with Birkenheads Peter Allen. Both fighters were content to throw wild swinging hooks for most of the fight with very little clean work. The referee scored the fight 38-38.