Leigh Wood, Ryan Walsh, Jazza Dickens and Tyrone McCullagh are the first ever Golden Contract semi-finalists after the tournmaent's opening night at London's York Hall. The featherweight division of the competition saw Wood and Walsh halted Davey Oliver Joyce and Hairon Socarras respectively to earn over $6,000 in bonuses while Dickens and McCullagh scored points wins over Carlos Ramos and Razaq Najib respectively. Here’s all you need to know…
Leigh Wood TKO9 Davey Oliver Joyce... Wood (23-1) said, “I’ve told everyone I have power and nobody listens. I proved in my last fight that I can box. I’m well educated but tonight I was in with an Olympian. Let that sink in. In the next round, I’ll do what I did and pick to fight the best. Who’s the best with the bookies? That’s who I’ll pick…” Joyce was a 2016 Olympian listed with a pro recrd of 11-1 but more accurately 20-6 figuring in the World Series of Boxing
Ryan Walsh TKO9 Hairon Socarras... Like Joyce, Cuba's Socarras took his first pro loss to fall to 22-1-3. Walsh, the British featherweight champion is now 25-2-2. He said: “I’ve sparred my brother Liam throughout because he’s the best. It’s the best I could have asked for because he’s better than everyone in this competition. I have to thank him and all my team. I can’t thank [my management] MTK Global enough. Actions speak louder than words. I never said too much about this. I knew he was a good fighter and so are all the others – but you’re going to have to be very, very good to me. I’ll fight anybody not just in this tournament but anywhere.”
Jazza Dickens W10 Carlos Ramos... Now 28-3, Dickens said: “You’ve got to enjoy it. Boxing is too hard not too. This was all about getting through to the semi-final so I played it safe. Why would I try and knock him out when I can make sure? I just thought I’d jab him off and make sure I was in the semi-finals. No disrespect to him but I didn’t have to go to top gear.” Ramos falls to 11-2.
Tyrone McCullagh W10 Razaq Najib... Now 14-0, McCullagh said: “One down, two to go! I’m one step closer to meeting my pet panda, ‘Just Dave.’ There’s still a way to go. I think it’s down to inactivity partly. I’m going to keep training now and staying active and it’s going to come. I’ll work on putting the shots together and on staying active. I felt the pace in there because it was very high. There’s a lot better in me.” Najib is now 11-4.
JACOB ROBINSON bt SEAN DAVIS PTS8... Robinson: “I’m happy with the performance. I thought he’d commit more because he’s a former English champion and a very good fighter. I did the eight rounds and shook him up in the last round. He’s very experienced and I want step-up fights now. I want regional titles.”
SAM GILLEY bt ARNOLDO SOLANO KO1... Gilley: “I expected to stop him but I expected it later. I didn’t expect to put him out cold in the first round. It’s all down to my trainer and the hours we’ve been putting in in the gym. What MTK Global is doing is amazing and it’s a big platform. I can bang with both hands so I’ll be a problem for a lot of people. I want the Southern Area title.”
MITCHELL FREARSON bt ROD DOUGLAS JR. PTS4... Frearson: “I think I boxed to instructions. I could’ve upped the tempo more but he was a game opponent. He didn’t give me any respect so I just put him on the jab. I’m back to winning ways. I put a lot of pressure on myself in my own head. I’m starting off with a clean slate here. I did well with tickets so I’m buzzing with the whole thing.”