Jez Wilson’s valiant but ultimately unsuccessful assault on Lewis Taylor’s English title will be the last professional bout of the brave boxer’s career.
The Sheffield middleweight retired from the ring after a right hand from the champion impacted on the same chin that had been broken in two places last year.
To the victor - who had to overcome a first round cut above his right eye - the spoils. But while Taylor was delighted to have pipped such a tough, aggressive competitor he had nothing but respect for the 36-year-old afterwards, saying he’d been a stronger opponent than even he had imagined.
Likewise, it was fitting that the first person to congratulate the Dronfield 25-year-old at the Magna Centre was the vanquished fighter’s trainer, Glyn Rhodes.
Rhodes said: “No excuses. Jez was up for the fight and it we all knew it was his ‘Last Chance Saloon.’ We did think we might pull it off when Lewis got cut but he showed a lot of character to stick to the game plan and it paid off so well done to Lewis. Jez can now retire knowing he won two titles and fought an eliminator for the British title. He’s marred with two kids so he is more than happy and is still going to be a regular at our gym to help younger kids.”
Wilson had perhaps been ahead when he was caught. He’d opened up an old cut on Taylor’s face and was relentlessly busy and aggressive. Taylor, while being dragged into the trenches, was able to dig deep. He had to weather a low blow which took a while to wear off. But in round five he caught the older man, hard. Wilson turned away and started to slump towards the canvas. Instantly, Rhodes was on his feet, unwilling for his boxer to take any more. The battle between two noble warriors, who live eight miles apart, was over. The champion, by day a department manager in Dinnington had stopped the Crosspool-based fireman. Wilson bows out with a W12 L3 D1 record, while Taylor has 18 wins, one loss, one defeat.
n In the chief support, Frank Dodzi had flown nearly 5,000 miles from Ghana to challenge Sheffield’s Sam Sheedy in a Commonwealth title eliminator. Diodzi has probably never seen the ice and frost he’d witnessed outside the event hall.
And he didn’t see much of Sheedy’s fast hands which wobbled his legs so badly in the first round that the ref waded in to stop a one-sided rampage. The African, who’d looked a frightened man in the weigh-in the day before, looked thoroughly wretched after being so easily beaten.
In other bouts, Sheffield lightweight Sam O’maison dominated William Warburton, of Lancashire, but local super middleweight Nicolie Campbell was schooled and lost his unbeaten record to Plymouth-based Spaniard Christian Gomez. Owls fan and Doncaster super bantam Tommy Chadburn triumphed over Sheffield Ryan Hanson in a fine scrap.
On Friday, cruiserweight Tony Cruise, 34, a father-of-two and security guard from Athersley South was knocked out at the Metrodome in the seventh round by Martyn Grainger, of Lancashire. A left hook did the damage.
Local super feather Jack Churchill outpointed Bristol’s Harvey Hemsley. And there were wins for Darfield’s southport lightweight Robbie Barrett and Grimethorpe welterweight Ryan Hinchliffe.