The weekend festival of boxing in South Yorkshire got off to an action-packed start in Dave Coldwell’s bill at iceSheffield.
Rotherham’s Chad Gaynor (previously 14(7)-1-0) inflicted a brutal second round KO defeat on Leeds’ Adil Anwar 20(7)-3-0, on Friday.
And Sheffield Boxing Centre’s runaway Olympian Serge Ambomo had to survive a first round knockdown to beat homegrown Sheffielder Jerome Wilson in an epic and sometimes ugly battle.
Gaynor, 23, had a cautious start in his scheduled 10 rounder for International masters welterwerweight title.
Anwar looked relaxed and in control - we didn’t see what was coming when after just four minutes and 58 seconds of action Gaynor clipped Anwar with a right hand and then drilled a short left to the face.
There was concern for unfortunate Anwar, who fell face-first into the canvas as ref Steve Gray waved off the match. Paramedics had to give him oxygen before he was revived. (See video at the star.co.uk/boxing)
The manner of the stoppage - described by some as the local KO of the year - will elevate Gaynor’s profile.
He sensed that, saying afterwards: “I can’t wait for the big fights! The the plan was to box him but when those bombs land they are going down. It’s fantastic to have my first title.”
Gaynor said he had “massive respect” for Anwar and said he was glad he had recovered.
He may now pursue a contest with English title holder Bradley Skeete.
The fight had followed another cracking spectacle, won by Ambomo, one of five Cameroon boxers to “disappear” from London’s Olympic village in 2012, and who has since settled in Sheffield under the wing of trainer Glyn Rhodes.
The African was initially poor defensively and was dropped in the first round by Wilson, the faster man.
But Ambomo started to close the space between him and Wilson and send him to the canvas in round three.
The final two sets in the six rounders were compelling, brutal exchanges. The Olympian, while missing wildly on occasions, landed the heavier shots and deserved the win. After ref Phil Edwards’ 58-55 verdict, Ambomo fell to his knees, almost weeping, before praying at a corner post.
In the dressing room, later, the 27-year-old said he had touched down after a “lucky punch” but the experience had only reinforced his will to be a major champion in the UK. It was his third, straight pro win. And while he is clearly a powerhouse of fighter, there is much work for trainer Rhodes to do to improve his all-round game.
Doncaster’s Maxi Hughes took last-minute Sheffield super featherweight opponent Qas Hussein to pieces, the ref stepping in a minute into the second round.
Louis Rutherford, from Rotherham beat Danny Brown of Essex. Barnsley’s Ben Wager beat Kofi Yates of Manchester. And debutant Lee Appleyard of Bramley overcame Kristian Laight.
Hard-hitting Ryan Fields, of Belper, stopped Matt Seawright after inflicting a series of horrible right hooks to the body.