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A loaded Welsh card

Boxing returned for its third visit, of the year, to Merthyr Leisure Centre on Saturday, 12th December. Sanigar Events put on a card featuring two Welsh title fights and a European title fight. Eight contests in total and a live TV audience, for the main events, on the national channel of Wales – S4C. The promotion was called ‘Up for Grabs’ and it certainly was for the fighters involved.

In a contest for the vacant BBBofC Welsh Area Light Heavyweight Title, Cardiff’s Nathan ‘Thunder’ Thorley took on Pontypridd’s Jermaine Asare. The match-up had been mooted for a while and it was good to see these two punchers meet, with the National title up-for-grabs. Both orthodox boxers, the taller, rangy, Thorley looked to get the jab working straight away, Asare getting success with single straight shots to the mid-section. The two combatants had success with the right hand, Asare finishing the round pushing forward. It was the calm before the storm.

Into the second round and the boxers were fighting with intensity, looking to establish control. Referee Reece Carter warned them for a little bit of roughhousing. Asare was forcing the action and landing good shots, to head and body. Thorley, trained by Chris Davies, staying composed. A flash, powerful right-hand detonated on Asare’s temple and it was like a rug had been pulled from under him. He beat the count but was very unsteady. The referee calling a halt. It was an exciting, compelling battle that was won in spectacular style by the new Welsh champion Nathan Thorley. Thorley remains unbeaten at 9-0, 5 KO’s. Jermaine Asare, trained by Darren Wilson, is now 8-3, 2 KOs.

Local boxer Gavin Gwynne, trained by Tony Borg, was involved in a tough battle for the vacant BBBofC Welsh Area Lightweight Title. His opponent was veteran Henry Janes, 34, of Cardiff. The height and reach both favoured Gwynne, who stands at 6 feet. Janes used his experience to get inside and both found a home for right hands. This was a tough, competitive fight between two men giving their all to become the champion of their country. This wasn’t a fight built around defensive subtlety, both men happy to take a shot to land one and neither willing to back down.

Gwynne, 27, was the more compact, throwing the jab followed by the straight right hand. Janes (10-22-2) having success with hooks, leaping in at times. As well as trading heavy leather, the pair swapped Ali shuffles in the fifth. Twice referee Martin Williams warned ‘Double G’ of illegal use of the forearm/elbow in the sixth. Gwynne was marked up under the eyes but doing the better work overall. From the sixth onwards, it was the younger man that was looking the more in control, dictating the action his opponent reacting rather than initiating.

The Merthyr prospect had a point deducted in the ninth for use of the elbow. The final round and the two warriors continued to trade blows, Gwynne (8-0) continuing to assert himself. The pair had put on a tremendous battle for the Welsh title and referee Martin Williams scored it to Gavin Gwynne 99-93. The right winner in my eyes and such a great fight that I would love to see it again.

Wales’ top female boxer, Ashley ‘Storm’ Brace (7-0-1), got to challenge for the vacant EBU Female Bantamweight Title. Spain’s Melania Sorroche (13-2-2) was the visiting fighter. The two battled hard, swapping the edge in a close, hard contest.

Brace, 26, is a terrier in the ring, battles hard and fast. Sorroche was the slower of the two but just as determined and both showed a lot of grit and determination.

No British female has won the historic EBU belt and that record still stands. The original scorecard announced, by MC Ricky Wright, had Sarroche, 27, winning via a split decision. Later it turned out that one of the judge’s cards had been wrongly added up and actually scored 95-95. So, the overall verdict was a split draw. The judge’s scores: Leszek Jankowiak 95-95, Grzegorz Molenda 97-93 for Brace, Beat Hausammann 96-94 for Sorroche. It was such a compelling fight that ended without a clear winner. A rematch would be more than welcome.

Former IBF World Bantamweight champion Lee Haskins, 34, made a successful return, after losing his title via unanimous decision to Ryan Burnett back in June. He outpointed Ghanaian Isaac Quaye (31-15-1) over six rounds. Quaye was deducted a point by referee Martin Williams for ducking low in the fifth. It was in the fifth that a left dropped the visiting fighter. Official score by the referee Martin Williams, 60-52 in favour of the Englishman. Haskins record is now 35-4, 14 KOs.

It was a successful debut for southpaw Jacob Robinson. The 23-year-old son of former WBO featherweight champion Steve Robinson, put on a classy display of boxing against Latvian import Dmitrijs Gutmans (4-24-2). The super-bantamweight contest was brought to a halt by a quick Robinson right-left combo that had Gutmans down. Referee Chris Jones completed the full count.

Swansea Southpaw Kristian Touze (5-0-1) maintained his unbeaten record with a four-round decision over Stockport’s durable Jamie Quinn (3-51-2). Super-Featherweight Touze boxed, moved and picked his shots well. He won by a score of 40-37.

Newport’s Daniel Barton, 27, stopped Torquay’s Nathan Halton, in the third round. The end coming after an accidental clash of heads. Barton (2-0-1) bloodied, the referee Chris Jones waved the action on and Barton went in for the finish, with Halton (2-2-1) being saved by the referee.

London 2012 Olympic Welterweight Silver Medallist Fred Evans (3-0) was in action. The 26-year-old southpaw, outpointed tough journeyman Adam Jones (6-29-5), over six rounds. Referee Reece Carter scored the competitive fight 58-57 in the Welshman’s favour.


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