Elite Boxing Championship: Week 2

Darren McCosker Roar Rookie

By , Darren McCosker is a Roar Rookie

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    After watching week one of the Absco Sheds Elite boxing, the biggest question was: can this three-round format maintain the action across a series? Based on last night’s episode, it’s an unqualified yes.

    Here’s a summary for those that missed it.

    63kg: Michael ‘Boom Boom’ Black vs Fighting Braydan Fenwick
    An interesting matchup with Black, fighting out of Redland City, showing excellent skills, good ring smarts and the ability to stick to a clear plan that was built around a hammering long left jab and following up from there.

    Fenwick looked more flexible in his approach showing a wider variety of punches and a chin that Gennady Golovkin would be proud of.

    As the rounds settled, the greater experience of Black began to tell as he gained a clear upper hand. Black is considered a genuine chance in this division and he showed why with this performance. However, Fenwick continued to throw and connected with some very good shots that would worry many a fighter in this category.

    As the bell tolled to end the bout, Black had shown enough to warrant close attention as the series progresses, while Fenwick, one of the lesser experienced competitors showed that what he lacks at this point is experience. His heart, determination, and willingness to keep fighting will have won him many admirers and much respect from his fellow competitors.

    56kg: Carly ‘Cahira’ Salmon vs Jessica ‘Smashman’ Cashman
    Salmon has been around the fight game for a while and is considered one of the genuine contenders for Commonwealth Games selection, while Cashman came to boxing later in her life journey and is coming up in weight to be part of this series.

    Salmon, looking to make a statement came out pressing the action, forcing Cashman to fight off the back foot. While clearly, it was Salmons round, she went to the corner with a face reddened up enough to suggest Cashman’s counters hit the mark often enough.

    Round two saw Salmon continue to press the action while Cashman’s use of angles was much harder to catch, moving off effectively to thwart Salmons attacks. The round went Salmons way again, with a high work rate and accurate punching continuing to make the difference.

    The start of round three saw Cashman come out firing. As they went toe to toe, desire and intent eventually gave way to fitness, ring smarts and strength. Salmons alternate head and body attacks began to tell and despite displaying the spirit of a lion, Cashman’s body began to slow.

    By the end of the round, there was no doubt this was Salmons fight as she took the well-deserved victory.

    70kg: Julian ‘Mad Man’ Muscat vs ‘Fijis Own’ Winston Hill
    Hill, a Rio Olympian, is somewhat of a star in Fiji. With his impressive physique and megawatt smile, he has several sponsors happy to trade off his name. While Muscat trains out of Bethania and works as a tradesman in Acacia Ridge – interesting contrast in back stories.

    The traditional ‘warm-up’ period lasted about two seconds before they started wailing away as young men full of ambition usually do. Some early standing eight counts on Muscat appeared unwarranted even allowing for the lesser impact on scoring they provide in this category as opposed to the professional ranks. Nonetheless, his response was to stand and trade.

    This slugfest continued through all three rounds as the momentum of the fight ebbed and flowed between these two extremely fit, willing, and able young men.

    Every legal punch in the book was on display as they set about highlighting their abilities and heart. Hill was the technically superior fighter, and his ability to slip and then score was most impressive. Muscat was certainly no slouch with his uppercut a delight to watch.

    In the end, a close decision went the way of the Olympian Hill, and while one wouldn’t dispute it Muscat can console himself with the fact that a decision favouring himself would not have caused a major protest either.

    78kg: Lightning Liam Nicolson vs Thomas ‘the Hit Man’ Van Dijk
    Nicolson is a very experienced boxer and was expected to dominate the ‘smokey’ from Cairns. A spearing right jab from the southpaw Nicolson proved a great weapon. Fast, direct, and strong, it collected Van Dijk on many occasions.

    Van Dijk, though, is made of pretty stern stuff and shook them off. Also a southpaw, he delivered a long straight left to make his own mark. He appeared overly cautious, perhaps under the bright lights in Capital City, he second-guessed himself a couple of times when he found an opening. By the end of the first, I picked Nicolson to be in front.

    Round two continued to be back and forth, with Van Dijk starting to connect on more occasions including a wicked punch halfway through the round that sat Nicolson back on his feet. The round finished full of action as Nicolson looked to steal it back and it ended very close.

    About one minute into round three the fight complexion changed. The travel, nervous energy, cold weather or Nicolson’s ongoing pressure – who knows – but Van Dijks body began to fade.

    Breathing heavily, he continued to try and pinch it but this was all Nicolson needed to step up his attack and take a clear win. In his post-fight interview, he stated he wouldn’t have joined the series if he didn’t think he could win, and based on this he does have a claim.

    So, another interesting and action-packed episode and more to come next week.