Murray points the way to Leonis win

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On Wednesday I had 15 contests matched up,’ said organiser Dave Thompson.

‘Then on Thursday night I had a phone call at 10.15 pm to tell me that seven Kent boxers had pulled out at the last moment.’With only eight bouts I was left with seven boxers who had no-one to fight.

To help them, and the tournament, I had to match six of them together to make up the bill.’So, as well as the main tournament, there was a mini-tournament of Jersey v Jersey.

From the three bouts Danny Maka took a close points decision against Paul Young; Sean Durkin won on points against the promising Chris Sweeney and teenagers Elliott Kennedy and Ricky Prior opened the show with a demonstration bout of the skills they have honed at South Hill gym.The competition proper, however, in front of a 400-strong crowd, was won by Leonis, who were scored by a new system of hand-held computers under the direction of Brian Pollard and referee Keith Brooking.Perhaps the pick of the bouts was between Leonis’ Ben Murray and Kent veteran John Berry, from Sandwich.

Berry, this year’s Southern Counties’ light-welterweight finalist, had Murray on the canvas halfway through the fight, but by this stage the Jerseyman had proved his worth with quick hands, both left and right, which forced referee Brooking to give Berry a standing eight count in the first round.At the start of the second Berry came out determined to put himself in front on the score cards until Murray again took control with fast jabs and right hand counters, followed by a good right cross, which brought a swelling above the Kent boxer’s eye which needed medical attention.Even after he’d been put on the floor Murray fired back with both hands and, in the final round, his skilful boxing ended with a right uppercut on the bell which helped him gain a points victory from all three judges.Pisces’ Tony Grimshaw also won on points in his bout against the bigger Aaron Lowery from Canterbury.

In this light-welterweight contest Grimshaw’s rights and lefts found their way through to such good effect that Lowery had to take a standing eight count before both men came in to fight at close quarters.

Eventually the Jersey boxer’s cleaner punches gave him a majority verdict.Another Jersey boxer, Ollie Power, won his bout against Peter Jay having won the first round with some good, incisive right hand punches followed by a two-fisted attack in the final round.

Again, this welterweight contest was won by a majority decision.A more clearcut winner was middleweight Craig Le Boutillier, who took on Billy Haldenby from the first sounding of the bell.

Fast-punching lefts and rights early on forced his Kent opponent to take a standing count, before the Jerseyman went on to box at long range, restricting his opponent to too few opportunities to score.

Le Boutillier won by a unanimous points decision.Bantamweight Les Bulpin, on the other hand, had it all to do against Lloyd Brooker from Tunbridge Wells.

Despite stopping the Kent boxer in the first, during which time he was given a standing eight count, Bulpin had to work pretty smartly to take command, which he was able to do by controlling his opponent with long left and right counters and, in the third round, by hitting his opponent early on with some fast, deft punches.

Bulpin’s victory was matched by the delight of his local fan club.Experienced boxer Joey Magrath was not to have it all his own way against big Andy Morris from Margate, however.Despite being quicker off the mark, the fast-punching Magrath had to contend with a boxer completely different in style.

For while Magrath fired in fast jabs and right counters over the top, Morris kept on coming forward at a slower, more methodical rate, even landing a low blow which led to referee Brooking issuing a public warning after Magrath had taken a standing eight count earlier in the round.By the third the contrast in styles saw Magrath take a wicked left hook, that again led to a standing eight count, before he came back with an uppercut and left hooks which should have scored highly in his favour.

At the end of the contest however, with the new computer scoring system very much to the fore, Morris was given a majority decision – although the Leonis man had landed more punches on his opponent for most of the bout.Magrath was only one of two Jersey boxers to lose on the night.

The other was light-middleweight Scott Harben, whose contest was done and dusted within a few seconds of the opening bell.As Dave Thompson explained, he was caught by a ‘perfect, wicked left hook’ by his opponent and, after that, it was lights out until the doctor was called in.So to the duel between super-heavyweight Dave Lund and the shorter, stocky Henry Smith, from Frome.

In a scrappy affair, which saw a lot of holding, Lund only won by a close, majority decision, because the Leonis boxer was unable to stand back to fire in some of the blows his trainer knows he’s capable of.

His future at this weight still looks rosy, but it was a frustrating bout for him.So, with six bouts won and only two lost, Leonis can look back at the tournament with some satisfaction.The only disappointment, from Thompson’s point of view, is those boxers who never travelled.

‘I’ve been left with seven angry boxers who have been in training since August,’ he said.

‘And, once again, through no fault of our own, they’ve been left without any bouts.’

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