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Boxing round-up

KING NORTON

10-02-2009

boxers

The cream of the West Midlands boxing fraternity was out in force on Friday , with Rob Norton, Dean Harrison and Young Mutley all in action on a Barry Hearn promotion. Dave Woodhall was ringside.

Stourbridge boxer Rob Norton added the vacant Commonwealth cruiserweight belt to his British title when outpointing David Dolan last Friday. On a bitterly cold night when the temperature inside the Aston Events Centre was scarcely warmer than outside, Norton had to climb off the canvas three times to beat the game Dolan.

Norton began the fight well, with an evident game-plan of counter-attacking against the more orthodox Dolan, a former Commonwealth gold medallist before turning pro.

The champion took the first three rounds, although doing himself no favours with his habit of holding, which brought several warnings from referee Dave Parris, and far too much showboating. This was to have consequences for Norton in round four, when he stuck his chin out once too often and found himself floored. Norton seemed to have learned his lesson, only to be knocked down once more as the round ended, although TV replays seemed to indicate a clash of heads was the cause.

A quiet fifth round was followed by Dolan being put down in the sixth, although there was a suspicion that this was due to a slip. Dolan edged the seventh round, and particularly the eighth, when he once more dropped Norton, who complained bitterly that the punch which did the damage was thrown after the bell.

Dolan’s noisy fans, who had travelled in numbers from the north-east, were roaring on their man, but his inexperience began take its toll. Never having been past six rounds before, Dolan tired in the final stages, and was knocked down once more in the eleventh.

The challenger staged a credible rally to take the final round, but the result was never in doubt. Most ringside observers gave the verdict to Norton, but by no more than two rounds rather than the 115-110, 114-111 and 116-109 which the judges awarded.

Heading a competitive undercard was Wolverhampton light-welterweight Dean Harrison, who extended his record to 14 wins against a solitary loss with an eight round points win over Hungarian Laszlo Kumjathi. Roared on by a noisy following, Harrison was made to work by the game Hungarian, both men finishing with cuts as the Wolverhampton fighter took the verdict 78-75 on the referee’s scorecard and can look forward to a possible shot at the British title.

Liverpudlian bantamweight prospect John Donnelly made it nine wins and one defeat with a messy six round victory over Spaniard Carlos Ruiz which saw both men repeatedly warned and Donnelly have a point deducted for persistent holding.

West Bromwich welterweight Young Mutley enjoyed an easier night, beating East End journeyman Gatis Skuja at light-welterweight to keep his dreams of another title shot alive. Mutley, who was briefly British welterweight champion in 2006, took every round of the scheduled six.

Dee Mitchell of Birmingham lost a six round light-middleweight contest to the former British Masters champion Prince Arron, the referee awarding the London man a two-round victory.

Other local interest saw Wolverhampton light-welter Carl Allen, in his 100th paid contest, losing on points to Stafford’s Rob Hunt, himself now unbeaten in 12. The bad weather saw a change to the scheduled undercard when Coventry super-middleweight James Flinn took his 100% record to four contests when outpointing Birmingham’s Jason Nesbitt.

The weather had prevented Flinn’s original opponent from travelling, a fate which also affected the proposed foe of Coseley light-middle Jamie Ball. Instead, Bell faced debutant Artul Selaves and proved too good for the Coventrian, the referee halting the contest in round three to extend Bell’s record to five wins out of five.

A good-value bill, and although the weather kept the crowd smaller than hoped for Barry Hearn is to be congratulated for his attempts to bring top-quality boxing back to Birmingham.

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