DERRICK OSAZE won the third Ultimate Boxxer tournament, a last-round knockdown earning him a majority verdict over Chatham’s Grant Dennis in the final.
A right uppercut had Dennis down in the third, and when referee Kieran Mccann had completed the eight-count Osaze (Nottingham) was on to him at once – though he was warned for use of the forearm. Osaze took the verdict by two scores of 29-27 (Lee Every and Mark Bates) against a 28-28 card from Lee Cook.
Both got stuck in from the first bell, though Osaze was warned for a low blow in the first and Dennis was given time to recover. The second saw Osaze pressing and Dennis holding, though Dennis tried to counter as Osaze came in.
An Osaze attack had Dennis grabbing in the last, and then Osaze landed the right that put Dennis down and sealed the win. Venue was the Indigo at The O2, and Carl Greaves promoted.
Osaze had won his semi-final with a split decision over Northampton’s Kieron Conway, all scores reading 29-28 – Bates and Mccann for Osaze, Cook for Conway. Every refereed.
Both slipped over in the first, and this got messy at times. Osaze pressured, Conway his back – Conway was bundled down in the third, and held when he was backed up against the ropes.
Maybe this is a flaw in the format, but I wondered if Conway’s terrific quarterfinal against Witham’s Kaan Hawes had taken something out of him.
This was a real tear-up, and the three 30-27 cards for Conway (Bates, Cook and Mccann) didn’t tell the whole story. Hawes came forward all the time, and Conway was forced to stand and trade – which he did, drawing blood from Hawes’ nose.
Conway had to fight for the whole nine minutes – and though there was (very sensibly) a four-rounder before the first semi (and a six-rounder before the final) a war like that takes a lot of getting over.
The second semi-final saw Dennis pip Gravesend’s Sean Phillips after an exciting battle that saw both on the floor. Dennis won by three scores of 28-27 (Every, Bates and Mccann) – Cook refereed.
A right counter had Phillips down for two in the first, and Dennis outworked his man in a messy second. In the third a right to the head sent Dennis down, face-first, for four – when the eight-count finished, Phillips stormed in and Dennis held.
Phillips’ power had been on show in his quarter-final, when he halted Uttoxeter’s Josh Groombridge in just two minutes 22 seconds.
Groombridge came out fast but Phillips was there to meet him. Groombridge landed two to the head but Phillips came back – and a right to the head stunned Groombridge, and had him covering up on the ropes. A burst from Phillips convinced Mr Mccann to wave it off.
The other quarter-finals saw Osaze and Dennis prevail over Tey Lynnjones (Grays) and Joe Hurn (Clacton) respectively. Lynn-jones tried but was floored in the second by a right, for ‘two’, and sustained a nasty-looking cut in the corner of the right eye. Osaze won by 29-27 from Mccann, Bates and Every, Cook refereed.
Dennis’ power proved too much for Hurn. A combination to the head had Hurn backing off in the second, and in the third a right put him down. He was up quickly, but walked unsteadily along the ropes – and referee Bates called it off at 2-13.
An interesting four-rounder between Birmingham’s Idris Virgo and Rene Molik of the Czech Republic ended prematurely when Molik was cut in the corner of the right eye, from an accidental head-clash in the first, and the bout was declared a technical draw at 1-50 of the second. Molik came to fight. A right to the head had Virgo holding in the first, and moments later he was on the floor – referee Cook ruled a slip, but I thought he had taken another right. Heads bumped, and the cut looked bad.
Virgo came out strongly for the second but Molik came back – then Molik’s cut re-opened. Referee Cook took him to the corner, and called on the doctor, who confirmed it was too bad to continue.
Mr Cook made Birmingham’s Shakan Pitters a 60-54 winner over Lithuanian Dmitrij Kalinovskij over six, and Manchester’s Sean Fennell a 40-36 winner over Simas Volosinas (Lithuania) after four.
THE VERDICT The Ultimate Boxxer format proves a winner again.