THERE were contrasting fortunes at Hillsborough Leisure Centre on Saturday night’s televised boxing show.
It was joy for Doncaster’s Jamie McDonnell - who widely outpointing Kenya’s Nick Otieno to retain his Commonwealth bantamweight title - and despair for unbeaten Sheffield pair Nicki Smedley and Liam Cameron who both lost having gone the distance in their bouts.
McDonnell, with prospective opponent Stuart Hall looking on from ringside, proved the busier more accurate fighter throughout.
But the scores of 120-108 twice, and 118-111 fail to recognize Otieno’s resolution, the man from Nairobi being reluctant to take a backward step.
Attempting to snatch the English light-welterweight title from Crook southpaw Nigel Wright was never going to be an easy assignment for Smedley.
Wright is technically strong and probably the best eight round boxer in the country, although sometimes fades late in fights.
Behind from an early stage, Smedley was guilty at times, of waiting a little too long and whilst switching stance regularly and scoring with a number of solid rights to the head he too often found himself being tagged by the southpaw jab of the visitor.
Caught too, when choosing to get in close, Smedley’s chance of victory was slipping away. The closing session was maybe his best of the evening but the contest, along with the English title that was up for grabs, had moved beyond his reach.
Should Wright move up and challenge for the British title there may be further championship contests for Smedley in the future.
After ten rounds all three judges had the champion ahead, Londoner Mark Green, Doncaster’s Howard Foster and Fleetwood’s Steve Gray scoring 99-92, 97-93 and 97-94 respectively.
Cannonball Cameron never looked like picking up his 10th straight victory. He appeared lethargic and his work lacked the necessary snap against competent Stoke Newington puncher Erick ‘The Eagle’ Ochieng who duly ran out a 77-74 winner.
Cameron’s cause was not helped when he was deducted a point late in the 5th for holding. The later rounds proved closer but by that stage the Londoner had the contest well and truly won.
Middleweight Tommy Coward of Swinton, Rotherham, improved to 5-0 as a pro, taking all four rounds on the card of Doncaster referee Michael Alexander to run out a 40-36 victor over Guildford’s Louis Byrne.
Welterweight debutant Kyle Winters needed less than a round to see off fellow Sheffield puncher Imran Khan, Mr Alexander halting it with 57 seconds of the session remaining.
Bouts involving Sheffield’s Kid Galahad and Doncaster’s Gavin McDonnell both fell through at a late stage.