Knockout For Vaughan and Henry Rips Away Midlands Title

Ben Vaughan showed why so many think he has all the tools to compete at the British level, winning the vacant Midland’s Area Welterweight Title with a devastating first round stoppage against the formerly unbeaten Liam Gould at the Eastside Rooms in Birmingham on BCB Promotions ‘Collision Course’.

Contesting for the belt, which was vacated by James Scarrott back in February, both men looked in excellent condition as the fight got off to a quick start, with Gould looking to work to the body and match the relentless pace that Vaughan sets.

The ‘Bomber’ who trains at the Shoe-Box Gym lived up to the nickname as the 24-year-old from Northampton unloaded a vicious right hand from his southpaw stance, which sent his opponent from Coseley crashing to the canvas. Gould somehow bravely made it to his feet at the count of eight, but he was on very shaky legs, and referee Chris Dean rightfully waived the fight off at 2.49 of round one.

Gould was given oxygen immediately after by the ringside paramedics. It wasn’t to be his night, but most importantly, he left the ring healthy, and he can now rebuild and return. It was a statement victory from Vaughan and one that will put him in the domestic title conversation in one of the most hotly contested divisions in the sport.

However, it wasn’t to be two wins from two for the Shoebox Gym as Northampton’s Michael Stephenson lost his Midland’s Area Light Heavyweight Title in his first defence on a narrow points decision against Herefords Gyvon ‘Cliff’ Henry.

Stephenson won the belt back in March last year, and these two men were scheduled to box each other in December, with the champion forced to pull out through injury. Inactivity was always likely to be a factor, but most ringside observers felt he would have enough to overcome his 43-year-old opponent boxing in just his fifth contest and first over ten rounds.

The champion made a good start, finding home with his right hand, but power punches didn’t seem to deter Henry, the full-time soldier, who was matching Stephenson jab for jab in the early exchanges.

At the midway stage, Stephenson was narrowly ahead and landed another solid right hand that shook Henry, but he was unable to follow it up, and the full-time soldier recovered well. The tide turned after that, and Henry looked the fitter and sharper of the two, landing some clever body shots and using his switch-hitting style to great effect.

Closing the fight strongly down the stretch, it looked close to call as both men were brought to the centre ring to await the decision. Referee Chris Dean saw it 96-94 for Henry, who won his first title, and showed that age is just a number.

Highly touted Ben Collins picked up win number two with a crowd-pleasing performance against Pavol Garaj. The 19-year-old from Stourbridge has recently signed with promotional powerhouse Queensbury, and the former top amateur showed why Frank Warren wanted his signature.

The light-heavyweight talent showed patience and maturity against a boxer who has only been stopped once in fifty-six previous contests. Collins worked well behind his long jab and kept things simple with some tidy two- and three-punch combinations. 

After overcoming a bad cold in the lead-up, it was no surprise to see him fade a little towards the end, and Garaj took the last round, with referee Ryan Churchill scoring it 39-37 to Collins.

After the fight, Stourbridge MP Suzanne Webb entered the ring to pose for photographs with Ben, who has been working tirelessly on anti-knife campaigns, a project that is gaining more attention and support.

Tipton’s Conor Baker made it three wins from three with another solid showing against the veteran Naeem Ali over four rounds. The 27-year-old has had an active start to life in the paid ranks, this being his third bout in six months.

The super-lightweight prospect started quickly and kept up a decent pace against the wily Ali, working behind his jab and landing some crisp right hands. Baker was holding the centre of the ring and forcing Ali to tuck up against the ropes for the majority of the first three rounds.

The fourth saw Ali start to engage more and land the occasional blow as Baker began to tyre against his heavier opponent. Referee Ryan Churchill gave Baker the win 39-37, his first loss of a round in three fights, but another impressive performance.

Nico Ogbeide got back to winning ways with a comfortable four-round point win against the experienced Simas Volosinas.

The 29-year-old from Birmingham had to settle for a draw in his previous fight, and after that disappointment, he decided to make the leap into being a full-time professional, a decision that has clearly benefited him as he looked in superb shape and much sharper from the start.

His opponent from Lithuania kept Nico honest and defended well but offered very little offensive output, and it was no surprise to see a 40-36 score card from referee Ryan Churchill. 

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