Bad luck cuts deep as Josh is denied victory

Dennis Hobson Fight Night - Boxing at Don Valley Stadium, Sheffield. David Howe, left, beat Hastings Rasani
Dennis Hobson Fight Night - Boxing at Don Valley Stadium, Sheffield. David Howe, left, beat Hastings Rasani
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Despair for dominant Wale as fight declared draw after clash of heads

JOSH Wale returned home without the English bantamweight title on Saturday night, but didn’t lose the fight.

Dennis Hobson Fight Night - Boxing at Don Valley Stadium, Sheffield. Nicki Smedley,right, winning fight against Bheki Moyo

Dennis Hobson Fight Night - Boxing at Don Valley Stadium, Sheffield. Nicki Smedley,right, winning fight against Bheki Moyo

The Brampton bantam’s fight with St Helens’ Craig Lyon was called off during the third round after both fighters had sustained cuts through a clash of heads. Lyon’s cut was affecting his vision and he had no objections to the doctors pulling him out, but Wale was left fuming.

Wale had probably won the first two rounds, with Lyon’s right eye puffing up in the first, and the smaller Lyon was then decked in the second by Wale which was deemed a slip by referee John Keane.

Rules state that in the event of cuts stopping a fight four or more rounds have to be completed for it to go down to the judges’ scorecards, so the bout was called a technical draw.

Wale has suffered more than his fair share of bad luck in his career and he was left cursing it once again afterwards.

Josh Wale. Pictures Emily Cooper and Sarah Washbourn

Josh Wale. Pictures Emily Cooper and Sarah Washbourn

He told the Star: “I know for a fact that I was winning the fight and I’m just gutted in general. I was stopped and given my first defeat because of a cut that wasn’t my fault.

“Now the rules have changed and gone against me.

Wale had four stitches into his left eyebrow and now hopes a re-match can be arranged.

“A no-decision draw is neither here nor there. You don’t know where you are, it’s not as if I can go back to the gym and work on something because we learned nothing,” he said.

Dennis Hobson Fight Night - Boxing at Don Valley Stadium, Sheffield. Jamie Ward beat Lee Nicholson. Lee knocked out

Dennis Hobson Fight Night - Boxing at Don Valley Stadium, Sheffield. Jamie Ward beat Lee Nicholson. Lee knocked out

“It’s just my luck really. It needs to be made back on; I just hope they’re all man enough to sort it out.”

The fight had all the makings of a domestic classic, with neither fighter willing to adopt a safe strategy. Promoter of the show Ricky Hatton hopes to re-arrange it for a later date.

Also on the Bolton card were undefeated prospects Richard Towers and Adam Etches and the pair had to put in differing performances to keep their records intact.

Ingle heavyweight, Towers, now 9-0, was first up and his style was far too much for Daniel Bispo.

His jab kept Bispo fully at range and once a swelling had formed on the Brazilian’s eye Towers showed a ruthless streak and targeted that area before the referee stepped in during the second round.

Etches (3-0) certainly had the harder task of the two, but still won 40-36 on points against tough Estonian Aleksei Tsatiasvili.

The fight could have been much easier for the Birley light-middleweight, but he kept needlessly walking on to shots. At least he proved that he’s got a solid enough chin.

Etches had knocked out his first two opponents in the pro ranks and looks a massive hitter, but Tsatiasvili held firm throughout the four-rounder.

Woodthorpe’s Nicki Smedley made a low-key return to action with a modest but comfortable points victory over limited South Africa Bheki Moyo at Don Valley Stadium.

Smedley toyed with the opponent – and his own fans - who were hoping for a knock out.

He explained: “I wasn’t planning on stopping him, I just wanted to get my rounds in.

“I could have knocked him out first or second round, but I didn’t want to. The fans would have liked me to but it’s down to my career.

“If I had have KO-ed him it would not have helped as I am rusty and it wouldn’t have been an experience for me.

“I haven’t boxed in eight months; it felt good. ”

Smedley’s hand speed looked fine, but his reflexes needed sharpening after one fight in three years.

But the talented welterweight, who once seemed to lose appetite in the sport, said he was fully committed to a boxing career now he is supported by expert conditioner Mark Willey.

Gleadless’s Jamie Ward - with ex-world champ Clinton Woods in his corner - inflicted a stunning KO on Mexborough-born Lee Nicholson.

His victim, now based in Retford, was hit flush on the right of his face and needed medics’ help as he lay face down on the canvas. The sporting crowd applauded him when he eventually got back on his feet.

Huge Darnall heavyweight David Howe overcame a spirited, experienced Hastings Rasani in a points victoy which saw several clashes of heads and a nasty cut to Howe’s right ear.

And Manor-based middleweight Reagan Denton’s return to the ring after a five-year absence ended in a sensational knockout of stone-heavier cruiserweight Courtenay Owen, from Nottingham.

Don’t miss tomorrow’s Star for the latest on Denton.