Elite Boxing Championship Week 4

Darren McCosker Roar Rookie

By , Darren McCosker is a Roar Rookie

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    (Photo Credit: Terry Long)

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    The final of the preliminary rounds finished up the showcase of all fighters in the series last night.

    As has been come to be expected, the concept of settling in periods doesn’t seem to occur to most of the elite boxers with their 3×3 round format encouraging action from the opening bell.

    63kg Rhys Evans (Gladstone) versus Isiah Carter (Stretton)
    Evans is a very well credentialled fighter with around 100 fights under his belt and plenty of time at the pinnacle of the sport in Australia with four national titles.

    When asked to describe himself he summated that he is ‘a plumber who likes to fight’. On this alone he deserves support.

    Carter is a young gun, fresh out of school and fighting out of the same Gymnasium as recently crowned boxing hero Jeff Horn. Carter suggest Horn is an inspiration, and drew parallels between Horns taking on acknowledged hot favourite Pacquiao and his own challenge against Evans.

    Round one saw Carter bobbing and weaving like a man possessed. Coach Glenn Rushton would appear to have counselled against trading with the stronger and more seasoned fighter. The result was a variety of flurries and lots of movement around the ring.

    Both scored cleanly through round 1 though at the end the impression was that should Evans get his timing sorted the young man from Stretton may be in trouble.

    In round two Evans found his range, unloading a collection of very crisp combinations. It would not have been unreasonable to see the young Carter take a knee to escape the pressure at times but that is obviously not his character.

    Instead he would pivot, move and try to score his own counters providing a testament to his intention to mix it along skills that indicates some very good coaching.

    It was to no avail in the end though as Evans found his rhythm and demonstrated why he is a favourite for the series. Seizing on openings he forced a standing eight count, though this moment showed Carters character as he waved off the refs offer to end the bout and came back swinging.

    A powerful jab, strong combinations and excellent ring craft all combined to hand Evans the clear victory, though Carter could take solace from a number of positives that should set him for a much stronger showing in future series.

    Watching Evans against previous winner Michael Black promises to be an absolute barn stormer based on what we’ve seen so far. Its pleasing that this fight is on the very next episode.

    70kg Sean Evans (Gladstone) versus Jacob Bobir (Allstar Boxing Brisbane)
    A very interesting bout. In their intros Bobir stated he likes to suffocate his opponents while Evans indicated he was a more technical fighter, so this was set to be a clash of styles. While a feature of the series has been the comraderie among combatants, one gets the feeling these two won’t be exchanging Christmas cards after a willing contest.

    Bobirs suffocation tactics included skating rather close to the line with regards to rabbit punches and the two clashed heads with the regularity of a couple of Bison during breeding season. Evans struggled to find his range throughout the first round and was quickly frustrated by Bobirs crowding style. The first finished with Bobir slightly ahead in this viewers mind, and as they came out for the second Evans needed to do something.

    A switch to southpaw provided some success as did better movement around the ring. Bobir however is not a person who is happy to let his opponent set the pace and stepped up the pressure a notch. Both scored quality punches interspersed with some willing wrestling and continued head clashes that created some bloodshed.

    As they went to the third Evans moved to southpaw more often and started to find success with the left down the pipe. As they hit the final minute the level of desperation for the win showed how much this new series and its exposure meant to both with plenty of action and a never back down mentality prevailing.

    In the end a very close decision went to Bobir and one may have felt for the judges as this affair would have been a very difficult fight to score. Both men demonstrated the mantra of ‘the best against the best’ attached to this series and will both press for honours later in the series.

    78kg Jack Bowen (The Boxing Shop Brisbane) versus Amaeze Enyi (Stockade Training Centre Canberra)
    Bowen, the highly touted Commonwealth Games prospect, partner of 56kg division favourite Skye Nicolson and local star squared up with Canberras boxer, hip hop band front man and all round interesting character Enyi.

    From the opening minute two things were clear – both men a very skilled and both are comfortable in both sides of the old axiom to hit and not get hit.

    Lightning fast hands were greeting with slick head movement to make this a high speed, all action chess match. The momentum ebbed and flowed with both men scoring as well as wearing clean shots and at the end of the first it was difficult to pick.

    This fashion continued as the two demonstrated the skills and fitness that indicate this category is far more entertaining than two off-season footballers punching on which has masqueraded as boxing on TV in recent years. Slowly Bowen gained a slight edge through his cleaner shots and excellent footwork.

    It is clear that he is a talent worth watching with a cool head allowing excellent execution of a good plan. This is not to discredit Enyi, as he was never out of the fight and one more clean punch may have swung things in his favour.

    Once the bell closed out the third ‘Pretty Boy’ Bowen collected the judges nod, and both men earned a place in discussions for potential finalists. A joy of the repecharge system of this series is the fact that someone as skilled and well performed as Enyi is not lost after such a good showing, while Bowen moves straight through to the semi-finals which is well deserved.

    56 kg Jess Retallack (Platinum Boxing Gold Coast) versus Lauren Kidd (Fortitude Valley)
    In this second round bout Lauren Kidd looked to continue from her earlier win while Retallack, who splits her time between Florida USA and the Gold Cast was seeking validation of the pre tournament talk of her being one of the favourites.

    In the first Retallack was composed, with direct hard punching and good ring control enabling her to take an early lead. Kidd looked a little pensive, perhaps cautious of the obvious heavy hands of her opponent and would have headed to the corner for a chat with Coach Todd about the best way forward.

    The between round discussion obviously involved the need to make this a fight and round two saw both girls testing each other’s mettle by standing and exchanging with a mixture of rapier like jabs and heavy power-shot combinations.

    If anyone tells you ladies can’t box have them view this fight as watching the two raise their games through ongoing pressure and willingness to meet fire with fire made for great viewing.

    The second and third were ongoing flurries of action as Retallacks come forward style was met by Kidds counter punching combinations to set the scene for a battle of skills and wills. Eventually Retallack gained the ascendancy and took a clear but not large win, while Kidd lives to fight again in the quarter finals and deserves to still be considered a chance for the title.

    Next week sees the contest move into elimination and finals mode, with some absolute showpiece contests on display.