Maximum Impact II Fight Report

Maximum Impact II Fight Reports

Words – Mike Lockley –

Pictures – Dexter Hastings

Ryan Kelly vs. Serge Ambomo

RUTHLESS Ryan Kelly is back – and the fans’ favourite used science rather than savagery to record his first win following a 13 month ring absence.

On BCB’s Eastside Rooms, Birmingham, bill, the middle relied on textbook left-hand work to dominate tough Serge Ambomo, a muscled Cameroonian as wide as he is tall.

Referee Jamie Kirkpatrick scored last night’s (Saturday’s) six rounder 59-55, presumably giving Ambomo the last session when he bulled the Chelmsley Wood favourite to the ropes.

Kelly can today reflect on a thoroughly professional performance. He kept a solid jab in his opponent’s face throughout and refused to get drawn into the kind of trench warfare the Sheffield based African wanted.

Getting the show back on the road was everything – and 29-year-old Ryan can now begin his ascent towards lucrative title fights.

In the dressing room afterwards, he said: “I knew I had to keep him at range, I felt I did what I had to do.

“If I’m honest, I didn’t agree with the scoring. I thought I won every round, but he did try to put it on me in the last.

“I’d like a rematch with Brad Pauls (the then unbeaten prospect Kelly lost a highly controversial decision to last time out), but I know that’s not going to happen. There are definitely titles out there for me, and I’m not just talking at British level – there are continental titles.”

Kelly, in his 21st contest, showed the maturity that comes with ring years. Footwork was excellent, concentration never wavered and the left hand was delivered with authority and regularity.

That incessant jab prevented Ambomo – an individual built like a pitbull – from setting up anything or bullying his way into the fight.

In short, it kept him respectful.

Kelly’s trainer, John Costello, said: “We told Ryan it was about the left hand and he did that, he kept the jab going. I believe he’s good enough for top titles, I know he’s good enough for top titles.”

Kelly (11st 8lbs 5oz), much taller than his opponent, set the blueprint for the absorbing contests in the first. Jabs threaded through Ambomo’s guard before left hooks dug into Ambomo’s flank like a harpoon.

By the second, Ryan was dipping his knees and delivering that pin-point lead to the body. He apologised in the third after a clash of heads brought blood spilling from Ambomo’s nose and by the following session the visitor was caught by right uppercuts as he trudged forward, poker-faced.

Ambomo (11st 8lbs), taking part in his 59th contest, was caught by a cracking straight right in the fifth and also shipped a right downstairs.

But the 36-year-old gamely rallied in the last, pinning Kelly to the ropes in the dying seconds and connecting with one clubbing left on the bell.

Ryan won and won widely without fuss or drama. Ring rust was clinically removed in the process.

Now much bigger tests beckon.

Jake Melvin vs. Georgi Velichkov

JAKE Melvin has voiced his desire to fight for an Irish title like his father and trainer, former welter and light-welter contender Malcolm.

The welter took a step closer to that ambition last night (Saturday) by totally dominating unbelievably tough Bulgarian Georgi Velichkov. Somehow the visitor survived to the final bell, losing every round on referee Jamie Kirkpatrick’s card, 60-54.

I didn’t see a shot of any significance land on 21-year-old Melvin who has now won all four pro contests.

On BCB’s Eastside Rooms, Birmingham, show, Jake, taking part in his first six rounder, administered a fearful beating to the body.  At times it was like watching a lumberjack felling a mighty redwood.

Today, I’d imagine sitting down is a rather painful experience for Velichkov. Getting up more so.

By the third, the right side of his body was crimson as Melvin (10st 7lbs 8oz) drove home spiteful hooks.

It was my first ringside view of the young fighter billed out of Stourbridge, but with strong Birmingham roots.

He’s sharp, accurate and well-schooled.

I was, however, surprised by his height – the lad’s a very, very tall welter. A move to light-middle surely beckons.

At times, Jake’s boxing was a joy to watch – and he kept the combinations coming, no coasting, no sessions where his foot was eased off the pedal.

Velichkov (10st 5lbs 2oz) took an incessant beating.

The Bulgarian shipped a classy lead uppercut and left hook to the body in the first and, throughout, Melvin turned that piston lead into a venomous hook downstairs. Right uppercuts also took their toll.

Jake cranked things up in the fourth and, down the stretch, was doubling jabs, then slamming shots against Velichkov’s ribs.

The grim faced Eastern European took them all. In hindsight, that’s not a surprise: Velichkov may have now lost 15 of 19 (one draw), but he’s only failed to hear the final bell on a single occasion.

After the win, Melvin told me: “He was a very tough opponent and it was a good learning six rounder. What’s next? I definitely want another six rounder and, down the line, I’d like to fight for an Irish title.”

Dad Malcolm outpointed Shaun Cogan for the vacant Irish light-welter belt in a famous all-Birmingham battle back in 1993.

But Jake admitted his future may lie at a higher division.

“We’ll see,” he added. “I’ll stay at welter for as long as I can, but I’m still growing and I’d still be a tall light-middle.”

Lewis Morris vs. Tatenda Mangombe

LEWIS Morris, unbeaten and tipped for a very bright future, tasted professional defeat for the first time on BCB’s Eastside Rooms, Birmingham, bill last night.

The Walsall feather was rough-housed and harried by unorthodox Tatenda Mangombe throughout the four rounder.

The points loss constitutes a significant upset. Lewis was unbeaten in six going into the fight, while the Zimbabwean had won only one of eight and been stopped twice.

Lewis coach, Richie Carter, questioned the decision, but it was the correct one on my card. Jamie Kirkpatrick’s 40-36 card – a whitewash for Mangombe – did seem a little harsh on the Black Country hope, however.

Morris, just 21, landed the cleaner shots and, for me, certainly took the second. He simply didn’t throw enough of them.

The result underlines the perils of four round contests. Another two rounds and Lewis would’ve found a solution to the problem before him.

But the apprentice distance denies a boxer the luxury of patience. There came a point when Morris, who possesses textbook skills, had to fight fire with fire, yet he looked to land precise counters.

And, let’s be honest, Chatham based Mangombe was a total nightmare. The man breaks every rule in boxing’s textbook, swinging shots from his bootlace, hanging his chin out to dry and, against Morris, actually running into the fray.

How do you subdue a man who doesn’t know what he’s going to throw – even when he’s throwing it?

That was the dilemma facing Morris (9st 4lbs 4oz).

He elected to try to tame the whirling dervish before him – and long-limbed Mangombe fought like a man possessed – with stiff counters. Down the stretch, he needed to let his hands go and didn’t.

This morning, whether he agrees or disagrees with the verdict, Lewis Morris will be kicking himself.

Sometimes you have to win ugly.

Mangombe (9st 7lbs) gave a taste of what was to come seconds after the first bell had sounded, rushing forward and swinging wild shots. He shifted stances, not because he wanted to confuse his opponent, but because he simply lacked the discipline to keep any semblance of shape.

In the second, Morris seemed to be solving the conundrum. Mangombe was caught rushing in by two solid left hooks and rattled by a lovely one-two down the pipe. My notes state: “Morris settling into it.”

That was his cue to step on the gas. He didn’t – and with each minute of the following rounds Mangombe’s confidence grew.

He barged forward and landed slapping right hands to the body as Morris retreated to the ropes. Lewis did snap Mangombe’s head back with one cracking right hand in the last, but he never truly managed to turn the tide.

Viewing his social media posts, Lewis is today railing against an injustice.

I disagree. It became a question of quality versus quantity – and Morris let his opponent throw far too much leather.

Kay Jimenez vs. Rustem Fatkhullin

KUTAIBA “Kay” Jimenez is a Birmingham based Syrian who enjoys very noisy, very enthusiastic support from his countrymen.

They chanted, they sang, they gathered at ringside during his six rounder against Russian Rustem Fatkhullin at Birmingham’s Eastside Rooms last night (Saturday).

And when he gained landslide points victory – 60-54 – they paraded “The Beast from the Middle East” on their shoulders as if he had won a world title.

They appeared extremely excitable. It didn’t matter that Fatkhullin has won only six of 71.

Away from the euphoria, Spencer McCracken Snr and Jnr, who guide the 30-year-old, still have work to do.

Jimenez, who scored his third straight pro win, was caught too easily by left hooks and needs to let his hands go more. My notes for the fourth state: “Kay waiting too long.”

Fatkhullin (10st 7lbs 9oz) came on a losing streak stretching more than 60 fights, but enjoyed pockets of success. He’s also well versed in the dark arts and received a string of warnings for dangerous headwork.

Much shorter than Jimenez (10st 9lbs 3oz), he stayed mobile and, particularly in the second, found the target with left hooks: in fact, I gave him that session.

Jimenez stalked patiently, cut off the ring and slowly turned the screw. Too often, when within range, he failed to pull the trigger. He took control from the fourth and, by the following session, Fatkhullin was under heavy pressure against the ropes.

By the last round, Kay was totally dominant as his opponent attempted to slip and slide to safety.

Jimenez is a work in progress. If he gets to lift a title, the man’s adoring public will raise the roof from the venue.

Brandon Jones vs. Darryl Sharp

CHELMSLEY Wood’s big punching Brandon “Bomber” Jones received invaluable lessons from journeyman Darryl Sharp as he moves towards title contention.

And the light-heavy, who has stopped half his eight victims to date, was never allowed to detonate the dynamite he carries in each fist against the canny southpaw.

In fact, at BCB’s Eastside Rooms bill last night (Saturday) Jones had it far from his own way. Manchester’s Sharp had success with southpaw lead hooks and, in the second, connected with the shot with alarming regularity.

In the dressing room afterwards, Brandon admitted he was caught too often with the punch.

Jones, aged 23, won the four rounder beyond doubt – 40-36 on referee Jamie Kirkpatrick’s card, but it was no walk in the park. Sharp, taking part in his 120nd bout (seven wins, one draw) made him graft for every minute of every round.

That’s exactly what a novice pro needs.

Sharp (12st 11lbs 4oz) grinned and talked his way through the encounter, despite blood spilling from his nose. He’d flash his gumshield in a smile, say something, then point a glove at the ring canvas.

“I was trying to get him to stay in the ring centre,” the 31-year-old told me afterwards, “but it didn’t work. Catch him with right hooks, that was the plan, but that didn’t come off, either. He’s a good, tidy boxer.”

Of his profession as a journeyman, Sharp laughed: “I could never hold down a proper job.”

Jones (13st 1lb 5oz) will be a better, more rounded boxer because of the encounter.

After a wake-up call in the second when Sharp connected with two flush rights, Bomber took control of the fight.

He shrugged off the running commentary from his opponent to land left hooks to the body and banged in right hands.

Trainer John Costello said afterwards: “Darryl Sharp is tough as a pebble and can be a nightmare, 100 per cent.

“There’s no rush with Brandon. He’s 23 and still learning.”

He learnt a lot from Sharp.

Jasmin Harmitt vs. Angelika Oles

JASMIN Harmitt made a pleasing pro bow at Birmingham’s Eastside Rooms last night (Saturday), gaining four rounds victory over Angelika Oles.

Dudley Port’s Harmitt – a cleaner by day – is not yet polished, if you’ll excuse the pun. But against Poland’s Oles she fought aggressively and bossed the action.

Referee Jamie Kirkpatrick scored the 25-year-old a 40-37 winner, presumably giving Oles a share of the last round when she forced he opponent back.

Jasmin (9st 11lbs) showed good feet, cut the ring off well and displayed a stinging right hand. In the last Oles (9st 12lbs 2oz) tried to bull  the action, but copped a cracking right uppercut.

Angelika represented a good test for the debutant. She’s now fought seven contests, winning two.

On Facebook, Jasmin posted: “What an experience it was to be able to step into the ring as a pro for the first time. The hard work during fight camp paid off. I will always be my toughest critic inside and outside the ring, but, fingers crossed, we get to go again soon!

“But for now, a couple days rest then back to the drawing board, reflect on the fight and then back to training.

“It was amazing to have my son there to watch! Always nice to do him proud.”

Jamie Behan vs. MJ Hall

In the opening bout of the night, Lincoln light-middle Jamie Behan was made to graft for his four round, 40-36 win over MJ Hall.

That was Jamie’s third win on the spin, while Brierley Hill’s MJ was competing for the 105th time.

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