In my quest to watch ‘different’ sports – i.e. not Rugby League, Union, Cricket or Football I had a look at the possibility of an evening watching boxing. A sport that isn’t to everyone’s taste I knew I liked watching it on the TV but was unsure if I’d feel the same at a live event.
I found Championship Boxing with George Groves v Andrea Di Luisa as the headline fight – that looked pretty good to me so I booked tickets for my son Jake and I – this was one sport I thought I might not feel happy at alone, and it was a chance to spend time with my somewhat elusive son.
When the tickets came they stated a 4:30pm start – what??? I had a Saracens match to watch! On good advice from Neil Fissler, Sports Journalist, Twitter friend We didn’t set off until after the rugby match had finished. A great win for Saracens I ended up watching from the comfort of my settee.
We arrived at the Copper Bowl to discover we had great seats – well, that was until the Sky cameraman stood up and blocked 50% of the ring! Not so good it seemed , I can only imagine what the people who’d bought ringside seats thought at having the rear of a man in black to watch most of the evening!
I’m not going to have too much to say about the boxing, because I’m not going to kid anyone that I know much about it! I might, when I have time do some research and write an idiots guide however – teaching myself at the same time.
First up was Kris Agyei-Dua v Ben Hall in the 10 x 3 minutes Southern Area Super Welterweight Championship bout. Agyei-Dua had won the title at stake in October and was looking to get himself into position to have a shot at the English belt. At 35 his record was Fights 13, Won 8, Lost 3, Drawn 2.
His rival Ben Hall at 22 was facing his first title fight against a man he knew quite well as they’d been sparring partners. A big age gap, but not such a big gap in experience in the ring – Hall’s record – Fights 8, Won 7, Drawn 1 – a fairly immaculate record for the younger man.
Here’s a virtual blue by blow account of the fight Agyei-Dua v Hall but the result in a few words is that Hall won the bout after the referee stopped the fight in the 6th round, Agyei-Dua looked dazed as Hall landed punches, but he wasn’t badly hurt. For a novice that reassured me that I was unlikely to see anyone badly damaged that evening.
Next up we had John Ryder v Sergey Khomitsky in 12 x 3 minutes bout, at stake was the vacant WBA International Middleweight Championship. This was a fight with a wider age gap – although I have to say I’d never have said the `Russian boxer was 41 years old!
Ryder – known as The Gorilla (?) is 27 – he has a longer record than the 2 fighters in the earlier fight – his record Fights 23, Won 21, Lost 2. None too shoddy a record!
Khomitsky, known as The Ghost at 41 had a lot of fights under his belt – his record (by deduction – Fights 45, Won 29, Lost 13, Drawn 3.
This fight went the whole way, and with my untrained eye I’d say that Ryder was in charge for the majority of rounds – here’s a more knowledgeable report John Ryder v Sergey Khomitsky
The next fight probably cemented my position as a fan of live boxing, John Wayne Hibbert v Tommy Martin fighting in a 12 x 3 minutes bout for the Commonwealth and WBC International Super Lightweight Championships.
The Copper Box truly came alive as Martin seemed to have brought half of St Neots with him. At 21 years old he had an impressive record – Fights 13, Wins 13.
Hibbert at 31, a full 10 years older than the man he’d shared many sparring contests with didn’t have that many more fights under his belt – Fights 19, Won 16, Lost 3. He was well supported too which made for a noisy arena.
The fight was truly entertaining, again with an untrained eye I’d say that Hibbert was ahead in most rounds, Martin seemed to be happy to lift his gloves and take a punch – yet I’d also say that not many punches landed while he was against the ropes with his gloves up. Again a report is here – John Wayne Hibbert v Tommy Martin
The fight was stopped in the final round as Martin went down on his knees. It was clear that Martin and his corner felt the fight was stopped too soon, but I’m not sure the result would have been different. He was clearly distraught, yet in a show of pure class lifted Hibbert onto his shoulders as he celebrated.
After what was a great fight we had the main event – George Groves v Andrea Di Luisa – this was a 12 x 3 minutes bout – a Super Middleweight Contest.
At 27 Groves had 3 high profile losses behind him after he fought Carl Froch twice, being knocked out in the 2nd of those fights at Wembley. He was then beaten by Badou Jack in Las Vegas in September. His record, Fights 24, Won 21, Lost 3. This was his chance to get back on the horse so to speak.
Andrea Di Luisa at 33 looked a menacing character as he came into the ring to much fanfare- at 33 his record was – Fights 21, Won 18, Lost 3. A very similar record.
Both came out to music and in the case of Groves, drums and a rousing speech. The drums continued for a couple of rounds – a bit off putting of this opponent I’d say. Groves was a whirlwind – this fight was the shortest we’d see as it was stopped in the 5 round – a report here – George Groves v Andrea Di Luisa Again a thoroughly enjoyable fight!
A few comments on the venue and atmosphere – It was annoying to have paid nearly £70 to have a view blocked by a cameraman, but we did get to see the fights for the most part, next time I’ll book seats higher up. There was clearly a lot of beer consumed and maybe as a result there was a fight of sorts amongst the crowd. There were a few women dressed as if they were going to a prom which I found odd, but each to their own. I was glad I went with Jake, I felt a lot more secure and enjoyed having his company and seeng him enjoying the experience. We’ll definitely be back!