McGivern Secures Light Heavy Crown the Hard Way at Historic Clacton-on-Sea Event.

Ringside Report:Gianluca Di Caro – Photographs courtesy of Shane Leach

On Saturday night at the Princess Theatre in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, Professional Boxing made a most welcome return to the seaside town after almost 80 years, when Colchester’s Tommy Jacobs presented his latest boxing promotion, aptly titled ‘History’.

The previous pro boxing in the town, back in February 1939, see Ireland’s Mike Kavan beat London’s Charlie Mack at the then recently opened Butlin’s holiday camp.

Clacton is a town that’s steeped in boxing history, although since the second world war mainly of the Amateur variety, in fact Tommy Jacobs himself fought in the town on numerous occasions during his Amateur career and one of the greats of the sport is immortalized by the restaurant at the bowling alley on Clacton Pier, Armstrong’s, which is named after the American boxer John Henry Armstrong who beat British champion Ernie Roderick also in 1939.

 It seemed rather appropriate that the very first of the pro boxing contests of this new era should feature the current World Boxing Foundation (WBF) International and European Champion, as well as promoter of the event, Tommy Jacobs, in a non-Championship six round contest against Dundalk, Ireland’s Michael Kelly.

Right from the opening bell Jacobs took to the fight to his highly experienced opponent, albeit with just tentative testing jabs, but as the round progressed the action became more full on, with Jacobs backing up Kelly on to the ropes before letting rip with slick combinations to body and head.

Kelly, a previous multi-title challenger in his own right, initially covered up and absorbed the shots but soon began to counter effectively.

More of the same early in the second, although must credit Kelly for his slick responses that prevented Jacobs from having quite the same level of success in the first stanza, however as the clock entered the final 20 seconds or so of the round Jacobs started letting rip with big shots to the body with increasing success,so much so that literally in the final seconds Kelly was forced to take a knee after a particularly vicious left.

Unfortunately Kelly struggled to catch his breath and rise to his feet in time to beat Referee Lee Murtagh’s count, official time of the stoppage being 2 Minutes and 56 Seconds of the second round.

Following the fight Tommy Jacobs announced that the reason he undertook a non-championship six rounder and not the originally planned WBF Intercontinental title fight against Albanian Xhuljo Vrenozi, was that he has been proposed to potentially challenge Australia’s two time World Champion Sam Soliman for the World Boxing Foundation(WBF) World title in December.

The second bout of the night see Dean Porter making his professional debut against Liverpool’s Steven Sunners (2-0-0).

What a cracking all action affair, from start to finish both lads really went for it hammer and tongs.

After four scintillating closely fought rounds it came as no surprise that the result was going to be close, and close it was, Referee Lee Murtagh’s scorecard reading39-38 in favour of Liverpool’s Steven Sunners.

Next up was a four round Featherweight contest between Clacton’s very own Ben ‘The Claxican’ Cook and Belfast’s Chris Wong, both of whom were making their pro debuts.

The first couple of rounds, as with Porter-Sunners, were so closely fought that it wasn’t easy to call the winner of each round, however in the 3rd the decision was made a little easier after Cook landed a cracking body-shot late in the round to send the Irishman to his knees.

After four highly entertaining all action rounds Referee Lee Murtagh’s scorecard read 40-37 in favour of local hero Ben Cook.

As with the previous contest this was an all action thriller of epic proportions, so much so that it was without doubt it was the Fight of the Night.

Have to say really enjoyed this fight and hopefully after this pair get a few fights under their belts there’ll be a rematch as I would love to see these two in action against each other again, it was that good.

The fourth fight of the night see Ipswich Super Middleweight Rob Elden making his pro debut against Liverpool’s Lee Cooper.

Elden started hard and fast, taking the fight to his more experienced foe and letting rip with big shots to body and head. Initially Cooper covered up but soon started countering with some big shots of his own, however in doing so left an opening in his defence that the Ipswich man was quick to capitalise on with a big right to the head to send Copper to the canvas.

Copper made it to his feet and action resumed in very much the same vein, with Elden backing Copper up before letting rip with big shots, Cooper once again responded with big shots of his own. As the round approached the second minute, once again Elden found a chink in Cooper’s armour and this time landed a big right to the body to send the Liverpudlian to the canvas for a second and final time. Official time of the stoppage was one minute and fifty-nine seconds of the first round.

The headline fight of the night see Hove’s Navid Iran and Scotland’s Ben McGivern battling it out for the vacant Professional Boxing Council (PBC) Silver International Light Heavyweight title.

Battling it out is the correct term; this was a Battle Royale of epic proportions.

Right from the off Iran took the fight to McGivern, backing the Scot onto the ropes and letting rip with a flurry of big left and rights. McGivern sensibly covered up and waited an opportunity to counter, which he did with good effect once the opportunity arose.

However it wasn’t enough to prevent Iran coming back with a similar forceful attack almost immediately. McGivern once again managed to counter and initially take control.

As the round progressed Iran landed a couple of cracking shots that again forced McGivern tocover up. Iran kept up the pressure with big shots, whilst McGivern caught most with his gloves a big right got through the Scots guard, shaking him to the core.

How McGivern made it to the end of the round, I just don’t know, his legs were well and truly gone,but somehow he did.

Round two see Iran come out hard and fast, however McGivern was ready for the assault, again initially covering up but this time instead of just countering and covering, he spun his opponent and went hard on the attack himself.

Round three see McGivern taking the fight to Iran, which led to some great technical boxing ensuing from both protagonists.

The next few rounds were fought in similar vein. The final round though was an out and out war; both boxers throwing caution to the wind and an all out slugfest ensued for the entire final three minutes – what an exhilarating round.

After eight fantastic rounds of boxing it was Ben McGivern declared victor by scoring referee LeeMurtagh, by a 79-74 points margin.

Have to say whilst definitely the right result, the result just doesn’t convey just how close each and every round, but the first, was. These two really put on a magnificent show and was a serious contender for the Fight of the Night award.

What a great event to welcome pro boxing back to Clacton-on-Sea after a close to eighty-year hiatus, a return clearly appreciated by fans of the pugilistic arts who had packed the historic venue to the hilt almost an hour before the event was scheduled to begin.

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Jacobs Sensationally Stops Cudjoe in One to Secure WBF International Crown

Tommy Jacobs poses with WBF Supervisor Mr David Murphy following Championship Belt presentation.

Report: Gianluca Di Caro
Photographs courtesy of Shane Leach Photography
 

With temperatures soaring into the 30s in the UK most of the country seemed to be headed to the beaches, or watching the World Cup, however a huge contingent fans of the Pugilistic Arts had bigger and better things on their mind and instead headed to Essex for the Tommy Jacobs versus Bilal Mohammad World Boxing Foundation (WBF) International title fight, which was due to be supported by Iain Weaver versus Emmanuel Addo Professional Boxing Council (PBC) International Title clash at Charter Hall in Colchester.
 
However on their arrival they were greeted with the news that not only had Jacobs’ opponent been changed to Godwin Cudjoe at the last minute but the aforementioned PBC title fight had been switched to a ten round non-championship contest in which Weaver would face Ghana’s Michael Barnor instead, as neither Mohammad or Addo had received their Visas in time.
 
With the Charter Hall literally rammed to the hilt Ghana’s Godwin Cudjoe made his way to the ring and received a very warm welcome from the fans, however as Jacobs began his ring-walk the decibel levels went through the roof, leaving no doubt it was the local hero Jacobs that they had come to support.
 
Right from the opening bell Jacobs and Cudjoe moved to centre ring and began to tentatively test the other with a series of good solid jabs, then around the thirty second mark Jacobs lets rip with an explosive right hand to the head, which he immediately backed up with another huge right to send the Ghanaian reeling backwards.
 

 
Cudjoe initially covered up before throwing a big solid jab, Jacobs responded in kind, before letting rip with another big right. Cudjoe boxed behind his jab to open up some room for a body shot, but as he goes to throw the shot Jacobs throws another big shot and starts to push the Ghanaian back towards the ropes.
 
With his man backed on the ropes Jacobs stepped forward and let rip with a series of big shots to force Cudjoe right back into his own corner before proceeding to let rip with big left and rights, culmination in a huge right to the head that sent the big Ghanaian to the deck.
 

 
Cudjoe bravely tried to make it to his feet but immediately dropped down onto his haunches, initially referee Lee Murtagh continued the count but then waived the contest off so that Cudjoe could receive attention from the medical team.
 
After a thorough medical check-over Cudjoe rose to his feet to applause from the crowd and then moved to centre ring in time for the MC result announcement and Championship belt presentation to Tommy Jacobs by World Boxing Foundation Supervisor Mr David Murphy.
 

 
Official time of the stoppage was one minute and eleven seconds of the first round.
 
Side note to this fight, the Judges for the WBF title fight were former British, European and WBU World Champion Wayne Alexander, former British and Commonwealth Heavyweight Champion Julius Francis and Ghana’s top International Championship referee and judge Roger Barnor.
 
As mentioned above Ferndown, Dorset’s Iain Weaver was due to be challenging Ghana’s Emmanuel Addo for the Professional Boxing Council (PBC) International Lightweight Crown, however as Addo hadn’t received his visa in time to travel over to the UK, Weaver instead had to be content with a non-Championship ten rounder against late replacement Michael Barnor.
 
Both boxers moved to centre ring on the opening bell and began exchanging testing shots in an attempt to wrestle control, initially it was single shots but after about twenty seconds or so Weaver started to let his shots flow, letting rip with combinations to body and head.
 
Barnor responds in kind, doubling up his jabs and shooting solid rights to the body of the Englishman. Initially Weaver steps back a touch and works behind his jab, before powering another stinging combination to the body and head of the Ghanaian.
 

 
Barnor throws caution to the wind and goes on an all out attack and throws a powerful jab followed closely by a big right hand and a double-handed shot to the body. Weaver weaves and bobs to avoid the shots landing solidly, before responding with a double-handed flurry.
 
Weaver then proceeded to drop his hands in an attempt to draw his opponent in, which he does, before shooting a looping shot into the face of the forward marching Ghanaian, quickly followed by a couple more solid rights.
 
Barnor kept marching forward behind some good solid jabs, Weaver though just stood his ground before launching a massive right to the head. Barnor though is made of sterner stuff, he didn’t back down, just stood his ground and got back behind his jab.
 
Both protagonists vied for control of centre ring in similar vein for the next minute or so until the end the round.
 
Weaver started had and fast with a big combination, Barnor responds with a solid jab, but in doing so left a the smallest of openings, Weaver doesn’t need a second invitation and lets rip with a big right to the body followed up with a double right to the head and a huge left to the body.
 
Barnor survives the onslaught and gets off a couple of powerful shots of his own, Weaver just walks through them and backs the Ghanaian onto the ropes and proceeds to pepper Barnor with shots to body and head.
 
Barnor manages to spin off the ropes and dangles a jab; Weaver stalks him and throws a right, left to the head, right to body and left hook to the head combination. Barnor weaves and ducks to avoid another big left, but on rising was confronted by a big sensationally quick double-handed flurry of shots.
 
Barnor responds immediately with a cracking left, right combination of his own, Weaver shrugs the shots off and steps in with a massive left to the head immediately followed by massive right, left exocets to the head that sent Barnor crashing to the canvas.
 

 
Barnor began to rise on the sixth count point, but as he did his legs just folded and down he went again, Referee Lee Murtagh didn’t hesitate, he waived the fight off on the one minute and forty nine seconds mark of the second round and signalled for the medical team to enter the ring to attend to Michael Barnor.
 

 
I’m pleased to report Michael Barnor was perfectly OK and even joined Iain Weaver in centre ring for the official result announcement.
 

 
At the end of the contest it was announced that Iain Weaver Versus Emmanuel Addo for the Professional Boxing Council (PBC) International Championship will now take place in Aberdeen on the 28th July.
 
Also on the event was a four round Welterweight contest I was really looking forward to watching and reporting on as it featured the UK’s youngest professional boxer, Grantham’s Max Brown, making his pro debut against Belfast’s Marty Kayes.
 
I’ve seen young Max Brown in action on a number of occasions and believe he has the skills and ability to emulate other stars, such as Saul Alvarez (Canelo), who turned pro at a tender age and went on to secure Championship honours.
 
Kayes, a seasoned pro, on the other hand has been quite successful over the past couple of months, securing two victories in his previous three bouts, one of which was a Masters Title fight and the first of those wins was over a top former Amateur star, which made it clear to me that young Brown was destined for a true Baptism of Fire, what I didn’t realise was just how much though.
 
I’m not going to write a round by round report on the fight, just an overview as much of the action throughout the fight was in similar vein.
 
Brown boxed his normal slick, boxing long style, whilst Kayes stuck to what he does best – pressuring his opponents.
 
Brown concentrated on utilising his jab, to fairly good effect early in each round, but as the rounds progressed just seemed to hang the jab out there but not actually connect. When the youngster did let his hands go he landed some sensational shots, just not enough.
 
Kayes seems to love walking down his opponents, he just keeps going, and like a steam train he just keeps on chuffing away ignoring obstacles, such as jabs, until he reaches his destination. Once there the tough Belfast man lets rip with big flurries of shots to the body before stepping back and getting behind his jab, which is exactly what he did on Saturday night.
 

 
The later rounds got quite messy at times, much of it after Kayes corralled the youngster on the ropes, Brown’s response was to grab hold to prevent the Belfast man throwing his shots.
 
To the same degree there was some exquisite work from Brown, just unfortunately only a small amount of the shots reaching their intended target.
 

 
After four rounds of boxing Referee Lee Murtagh scored the bout 39-37 in favour of Belfast’s Marty Kayes.
 
Whilst the correct result without doubt, I can’t help but feel for the youngster as I know how good a boxer he is, his style and approach usually similar that to the “Blessed One” Iain Weaver, so will definitely be there for his next fight and watch him get his first Pro win.
 
My final words are on the event itself; this is the first time I’ve been to a Tommy Jacobs promoted (as well as headlined) event. Jacobs sure knows how to put on a show, the presentation was first class, the fights, not just the pro bouts but also the undercard sanctioned by Essex Boxing Organisation, were all of the highest standard, no wonder on the hottest day of the year so far so many people turned out. Kudos Mr Jacobs.

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BIBA Appoint Former Irish Champ Lee Murtagh as Head of Ring Officials


 
The British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) today announced that former Boxing Union of Ireland (BUI) National Ireland Super Welterweight Champion and current A Class Referee as the Head of Ring Officials effective immediately.
 
Murtagh, who had a stellar 51 fight pro boxing career which culminated in a trip to Rochester, New York to fight Hector Camacho Jr. in August 2013.
 
Shortly after hanging up his gloves, Murtagh trained as a referee for the Malta Boxing Commission (MBC), after passing the course with flying colours and just ten months after boxing for the final time, Murtagh was charged with officiating his first contest, Tyrone Borg versus Zoltan Szepesikb at the Ex Triad Fairgrounds in Naxxar, Malta.
 
Back in April this year, after refereeing and judging some eighty plus contests, Murtagh received the call to referee four contests in Nigeria, three of which were World Boxing Union (WBU) Championship bouts – Demarcus Corley versus Patrick Lopez for the World Lightweight Crown, Paul Venenzuela Jr versus Aaron Coley for the World Middleweight title and King Davidson versus Ishmael Tetteh for the African Middleweight belt.
 
Murtagh’s refereeing skills impressed Nigeria Boxing Board of Control (NBBofC) President Dr. Rafiu Ladipo and Secretary General Remi Aboderin so much so that they have since licensed Murtagh.
 
On making the announcement British & Irish Boxing Authority CEO & Executive Vice President Gianluca Di Caro said;
 
“I am so pleased to announce that Lee Murtagh has been appointed as the new Head of Ring Officials for the British & Irish Boxing Authority.
 
“Appointing Lee was a no-brainer, undoubtedly he’s been one of the best referees, if not the best, in the UK for a while now.
 
“Lee has proved over and over again just how good he is, but I suppose the clincher was his first class performance over in Nigeria, I was there and can say that without doubt his refereeing was faultless.
 
“He had the daunting task of refereeing four big fights in a row, three of them Title fights, in a foreign country, yet his focus never waivered for a second. It was a faultless performance, so no surprise the Nigerian Board wanted him on the books as one of their Officials too.”
 
Murtagh’s next assignment is just over a week away, when he Referees two Championship contests – Tommy Jacobs versus Bilal Mohammad for the World Boxing Foundation (WBF) International Super Welterweight Crown and Iain Weaver versus Emmanuel Addo for the Professional Boxing Council (PBC) International Lightweight Championship at the Charter Hall in Colchester on Saturday 30th June 2018.
 
www.boxbiba.com

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Tommy ‘Sweet T’ Jacobs set to face Bilal Mohammad For WBF International Crown

 

Colchester’s Tommy ‘Sweet T’ Jacobs is firmly on a fast track to achieving his dream of being a World Champion, when he takes on Ghana’s Bilal Mohammad for the World Boxing Foundation (WBF) International Super Welterweight Crown at the Charter Hall in Colchester on Saturday 30th June 2018.

 

Back in April this year Jacobs secured the WBF European Super Welterweight title with a convincing unanimous points victory over Matar Sambou, who to date has been the only boxer to beat him, when they first went toe-to-toe on Jacobs’ first defence of his British Masters crown back in October 2017.

 

Jacobs, a former Team GB International Amateur star, only turned professional in March 2016 and in that short time has already secured three Professional Titles, the British Masters, the International Masters and the World Boxing Foundation (WBF) European Championships and is confident that he will be adding the WBF International crown on just his ninth professional fight.

 

More importantly Jacobs’ eight fights to date have been against prospects, a rarity in the sport these days and one that sees Jacobs join such luminaries as all-time top fifty Pound 4 Pound Champions, Muhammad Ali, Oscar De La Hoya, Bob Fitzsimmons, Andre Ward and Joe Gans, who also only fought prospects with positive records in their first nine professional contests.

 

Speaking earlier Jacobs said;

“Really looking forward to the fight, I had tunnel vision before and was so fixated on facing and beating Sambou after the controversial way the initial contest ended. I couldn’t deal with losing to someone who wasn’t better then me.

 

Now that’s done I’m firmly looking to the future! In no way I’m overlooking my next opponent, he is many levels above anyone else I’ve faced previously, but I feel he is a gatekeeper to bigger and better things and cannot wait to show case my talents against an opponent of that calibre.”

 

Tommy ‘Sweet T’ Jacobs versus Bilal Mohammad for the World Boxing Foundation International Super Welterweight Championship takes place at the Charter Hall, Colchester Leisure World, Cowdray Avenue in Colchester on Saturday 30th June 2018.

 

Tickets are available direct from any boxer on the card or call the ticket line on 07475 096532.

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