Tommy Collins made it to double digit wins with a dominant performance beating Bryan Mairena on points at the Bescot Stadium in Walsall.
The 25-year-old from Birmingham headlined the show billed as the ‘Battle At The Bescot’ and demonstrated why so many have tipped him to make the step up to title level. Boxing back at the six-round distance ‘Tommy Gun’ kept a fast pace throughout utilising his improved jab to tremendous effect.
His Nicaraguan opponent couldn’t avoid them, walking on to double and triple blows and being consistently beaten to the punch. The sold-out crowd were loving what they were seeing from their charge early as he held the centre ring and started to whip in right hands.
At times Collins may have been a little over eager to let those punches go and his corner were instructing him to give himself more space but he was still landing at a high percentage and didn’t seem troubled by the leather he was taking in return.
Mairena has been a frequent visitor to these shores since his move to Spain and he knows how to survive, having only failed to see the distance three times out of forty-one bouts. Numerous times he took five or six punch combinations flush, only to shake his head and feign that he wasn’t hurt.
Collins showed better patience in the late rounds and really picked his shots nicely and used his switch-hitting style to keep Mairena guessing. When the final bell rang he was a clear winner and judge Chris Keane gave it to the Birmingham City fan 60-54.
It was the perfect way to round out the year for the former amateur stand out, three wins out of three and he and his army of fans will be hoping for a big opportunity next.
Boxing at his favourite venue proved inspirational for Ryan Woolridge, who dropped Octavian Gratii in round five before taking a wide judge’s decision victory. The 23-year-old from Bloxwich is a huge Walsall fan and made his debut at the Bescot Stadium in 2021, this was the first time he has boxed in his home town since that night, with his last six bouts being spread out across the Midlands.
Entering the ring to the very festive ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ complete with himself and his team in matching Santa hat’s you could be forgiven for thinking he might be overlooking his Romanian opponent. However, after all the fun of the ring walk the tall southpaw got straight to work, using his size and range to pick apart his smaller opponent.
Woolridge was working hard to create angles and was digging in point scoring body shots which was slowing down the sixty-fight veteran. The knockdown came in round five, it didn’t appear to be a heavy shot and to his credit Gratii bounced straight back up and made it to the bell.
Judge Chris Keane gave the away corner one round but the knockdown and general dominance from Woolridge saw him rightly take the 59-54 points win.
Conor Baker gained some valuable rounds and experience beating one of the sports busiest fighters in MJ Hall. The super lightweight prospect from Tipton made his debut in October and after considerable time away from the sport has ended his year with back-to-back wins and put himself in some solid grounding ahead of next year.
Hall boxing in his 115th bout fancied a tear up and let his hands go in the early stages forcing Baker to use his good footwork and hand speed to land counter punches before he asserted his dominance in the later half of the fight taking a 40-36 win.
‘Baggie Boy’ Jay Griffiths bloodied and beat Paul Cummings over four gruelling rounds getting his third win of the year since joining the paid ranks in July.
The 28-year-old from Wombourne has a white-collar background but showed he has made the step up to the pro game with some quality work inside and great use of the uppercut. Cummings who was boxing for the eighty sixth time was busy early but the better work of Griffiths told with him taking a 40-36 win.
After a tricky last fight Ryan Griffiths handled a potential banana skin of an opponent in Stu Greener well getting the decision win. The 22-year-old from Dudley was dropped in his last contest against Stefan Vincent and he made sure there wouldn’t be a repeat of that night showing improved defensive work and a higher punch output.
Greener was lively as ever and kept Griffiths honest managing to win one of the four rounds but it was the latter who took the win 39-37.
Ameen Khalid had to settle for a draw after four hard fought four round’s against Tatenda Mangombe as the referee was unable to split the pair scoring the contest 38-38. Mangombe who hails from Zimbabwe but now boxes out of Chatham, has been on a brilliant run of form beating contenders Lewis Morris and Lewis Wood in his previous two contests.
The pace of the fight was frantic and Khalid the neater boxer who came in the fight unbeaten in seven had to work for his openings and try to cope with the very unorthodox style of Mangombe. It got a little rough towards the end as Khalid was warned for hitting after the bell but the Worcester man may feel a bit hard done by that he didn’t get his hand raised as he was landing the cleaner shots but the volume of Mangombe was enough to get him the draw.
Callum Blockley was boxing away from his home City of Leicester for the first time and the Carl Greaves promoted 27-year-old will have been happy with his performance, beating Ukrainian Mykhailo Sovtus 60-54.
A Midlands title shot could be next for ‘Blocko’ who improves his record to a perfect eleven wins from eleven contests.