Jones Demolition Job

Unbeaten Troy Jones looked in devastating form, demolishing Prince Oko Nartey in three rounds in the headline bout on BCB Promotions show Friday night at the H Suite in Edgbaston.

The 25-year-old from Birmingham faced arguably the toughest test of his career in what was his tenth professional bout. Nartey came in with a decent record, including ten wins of his own by stoppage, but the Ghanaian had been knocked out in his last fight by the talented prospect Ezra Taylor.

Jones quickly took control of the centre of the ring as the southpaw Nartey was forced to box off the back foot, moving against the ropes and absorbing several right hands in the first round.

It wasn’t all one-way traffic, and Nartey landed some stinging straight left hands of his own, but Jones made some adjustments and carried a tighter guard, nullifying the power of these punches.

Coach Lee Beard looked happy with his charges work in the first two rounds, and you could sense the confidence in Jones growing. Nartey started the third, the busier of the two, but Jones was slipping the shots and caught him with a heavy right hand that sent him clumsily into the ropes. A quick series of unanswered blows followed, forcing referee Ryan Churchill to step in to waive the fight off, much to the protestation of Nartey, who angrily pushed him away.

The light heavyweight talent is now in his third year in the paid ranks, and although his team isn’t in a hurry, he looks like a potential serious player in the division, and a domestic title shot could be in his near future.

Sian O’Toole made it a fantastic five wins from five, nearly managing to force a stoppage, but instead settled for a shut-out points win against Yaiza Souto. The 25-year-old from Droitwich has had a very active first year in the sport and has already won the Midlands Area Featherweight Title when she defeated Beccy Ferguson in December.

Entering the ring to her son’s favourite song, ‘Sky full of stars’, the full-time teacher looked every bit the star herself, controlling the distance and landing her jab with accuracy. O’Toole showed she can punch as well as box and was putting more into her shots than we have seen in previous bouts, and she had her Spanish opponent hurt several times throughout the six-round contest.

Souto has only failed to see the final bell twice, and she did just enough to finish the fight on her feet. Referee Kevin Parker scored the bout 60-54 in O’Toole’s favour, and another title shot could await the talented featherweight this year.

After seven months out on the ring, you could expect some ring rust from Tori-Ellis Willetts; instead, the 28-year-old from Sutton Coldfield put on a career-best performance against Liubov Oksha.

Willetts was an excellent amateur, and she showed her class early by dropping her Ukrainian opponent in the second round with a combination of left and right hands that sent Oksha stumbling to the canvas.

The Acocks Green coach maintained the pressure throughout and landed some crisp jabs and straight right hands that were having a heavy effect on Oksha, putting her in survival mode in the later rounds. Willetts finished the bout strongly and deservedly took the 60-53-point decision, and is now unbeaten in four.

Levi Vaughan got his professional career off to a winning start but had to climb off the canvas to do so. The 26-year-old from Birmingham was dropped in the second round by the experienced and heavier Harry Matthews with a heavy counter left hand.

Fortunately, Vaughan managed to recover quickly and landed several power punches of his own, throwing some nice combinations to the body and head. Heading into the fourth round, he couldn’t afford to make any mistakes, and he showed a level head and maturity by boxing at a distance and controlling the round. Referee Kevin Parker scored the fight 38-37 for Vaughan, and he will have taken a lot from the experience.

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