Elite Boxing Championship: Week 6

Darren McCosker Roar Rookie

By , Darren McCosker is a Roar Rookie

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    Elite Boxing Championships Week 7 is about to begin (Photo credit: Terry Long)

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    As the second half of this inaugural series came to air this episode provided an interesting contrast with some of the favourites for the titles on display, as well as some of the less fancied combatants who are making a name for themselves under the TV spotlights.

    This series claimed at eth start that it would provide even matches and lots of action and against that measure this episode provided another resounding pass mark.

    78kg Jack ‘Pretty Boy’ Bowen (The Boxing Shop, Brisbane) versus Lightning Liam Nicolson (Shotgun Boxing, Logan)
    Billed as somewhat of a grudge match, pitching fighters well known to each other and representing gyms from neighbouring areas these two started out cautiously, feeling each other out as experienced opponents do.

    It showed a contrast in styles, pitching Bowen’s slick moves and bouncing in and out style against southpaw Nicolson’s tapping jab and long, heavy left hand. The first round ended about even and both looked deep in thought as they went to their corners.

    In round two Bowen edged it with some freer use of his lead left hook and very good use of the feet to evade Nicolson’s counter.

    There was talk before the series that as the less glamorous half of Australian boxings Golden Couple (his partner is 56kg favourite Skye Nicolson) this series would be something of a coming out party for Bowen, whose silky skills as well as a willingness to trade when required should make good TV.

    Perhaps with his in mind, the Pretty Boy didn’t simply score and move, but looked to take advantage of his flurries and turn them into momentum towards a win.

    Bowen bounced out in the third and starting scoring regularly to the body. Nicolson, by no means spent, scored some very powerful shots which would have tilted the momentum to himself against many an opponent.

    As the headed down the stretch in the third they gave their parochial fans lots to yell about. As the action ebbed and flowed, the two boxers looked to put a final exclamation point that might sway the judges. In the end a sharp series of combinations gave Bowen a clear, though not large victory.

    One couldn’t help but feel that after fighting each other on multiple previous occasions these two boxers are well aware of each-other’s strengths and were as focused on nullifying their opponents’ strength as imposing their own. As it stands, Bowen goes through to the semis and looks like one to watch.

    63kg – Luke ‘Mad Dog’ Martin (Impact Boxing – Cooroy) versus Colan ‘The Nauruan Knight’ Caleb (Za Gym – Nauru)
    As we’ve come to expect in the 63kg division, the little big men came out chock full of action. These two threw more punches in their first round than most professional fights deliver in the first six. An interesting contrast between the Nauruan’s technically classic style against ‘The Mad Dogs’ peek a boo style and giant overhand rights.

    This fight had some subtle drama in the first round as Martin reeled back from one exchange shaking his hand and with a worried look on his face.

    One does not need a medical degree to assume it was broken at that point – a fact later proved – but with only 30 seconds gone and a chance to make the semis what can you do but punch on? Martin obviously carries this philosophy dearly and it was bombs away!

    (Photo Credit: Terry Long)

    The two combatants traded exchange for exchange, regularly backing each other up against the ropes and firing away, only to have their opponent come roaring back with returned combinations full of snap and vigour. Moving around the ring in a continuous hail of action both earned a well-deserved round of applause after the first two rounds.

    As the final round started the Nauruan continued with his long straight jab setting him well for scoring combinations. This had given him a slight lead on this viewers card to this point and it was looking like he might have been edging out his opponent.

    However, Martin is nothing if not determined and lifted the pace again as the clock counted down. Caleb was happy to match it and they finished the bout with continuing flurries of action.

    In the end the Nauruan took the win, and in an interesting postscript was drafted into the world titles shortly after this victory, bringing an end to his run in this series of the EBC.

    As for Martin, he was off for treatment on his hand to ensure he could complete again, though based on his demonstration of heart, were his hand amputated he would probably be like Monty Pythons knight and demanding he be allowed to fight on and will return for the quarter finals.

    56kg – Skye ‘The Prodigy’ Nicolson (Albert Boxing Club – Yatala) versus Carly ‘Cahira’ Salmon (Murphy’s Boxing – Melbourne)
    Carly Salmon travelling up from Victoria and fighting under the Celtic Warrior name (Cahira) certainly had the look of a fighter walking with purpose as she entered the ring. Nicolson – the face of women’s boxing in Australia is clearly the one to catch.

    It is worth noting that the outstanding long-term support of the team at Hannay Lawyers permits Nicolson to devote her focus to her boxing and is no doubt a critical part of her increasing success on the world stage.

    Salmon spent the first round eating leather on a regular basis as she pushed the action and seemed happy to wear Nicolson’s counter punch. However, most of her attacks were from different angles and approaches, as she wore the look of a chess master parrying various moves as they try to unpick the game of a reigning champion that they are after.

    Nicolson held magisterial sway over this round, using her southpaw stance to good effect as she regularly delivered a long jab and backed away, only occasionally being caught.

    No doubt the minutes rest was put to good use by Salmon’s cornerman Tim Locock, as she connected far more regularly in round two and turned the bout at times into somewhat of a phone booth style war.

    Her consistent body work, close in hooks and general grinding frustrated Nicolson at times as it bought the fight to life. From this point through to the end of the third round it was a battle of styles and fitness. Salmons aggression forced every ounce out of Nicolson and her evasive actions.

    As the bell rang this one must have gone to judges preferences – the greater volume of punches and aggression of Salmon balanced against the cleaner scoring shots and undoubted evasive skills of Nicolson.

    In the end Nicolson got the nod and made the point in her post fight interview that she had worked particularly hard on her fitness in the lead up to the tournament and clearly this was something she is very grateful for.

    Nicolson moves on to the semi-finals and Salmon to the sudden death quarter finals with both boxers appreciating that the winner of this division will have to earn it.

    63kg ‘Fighting’ Brayden Fenwick (Grange High Performance – NSW) versus Isaiah ‘The Usurper’ Carter (Stretton – Queensland )
    Both boxers were coming off a loss. Carter to the pre-tournament favourite and multiple time Australian Champ Rhys Evans, while Carter drew the short straw of facing up to the man who beat Evans to progress directly to the semis, and one of the finds of the tournament – Michael Black.

    As such, both entered the ring marked up and with a whiff of desperation that comes from an elimination round. Fenwick travelling Goulburn, the town once famous for the Big Merino, and now unfairly most commonly linked with the Supermax Prison came out looking a little more relaxed.

    Carter’s impersonation of a classical boxer with ADHD, kept up his bobbing, weaving demonstration of unbridled kinetic energy as both looked to assert their will on the match. By the end of the first both had scored and been tagged and there was little to split them.

    In round two Fenwick’s commitment to doing the basics right at all times started to pay dividends – his straight jab and overhand right combo caught more regularly and perhaps more importantly, his good defence with his left hand at his temple stopped a volume of Carter’s sizzling left hooks. For mine he clearly took round two.

    One imagines having Jeff Horns Coach as your mentor provides you with a wealth of support and Carter came out in the third with an intent of not letting it slip away.

    Lighting fast hands and slick movement gave him the look of being able to overpower Fenwick and steal the win. However, the ring name “fighting’ tell you all you need to know about Fenwick’s character.

    His local community award for helping at risk youth underlines the fact that he is a man who can stay on task and continue pushing forward with a plan regardless of circumstance.

    As they headed into the final minute Fenwick was again scoring the cleaner and more telling blows, though the flurries of action to finish out the bout where they went blow for blow were reflective of a well contested and evenly fought bout.

    These two are among the least experienced in this field and one would hope we may see them again in future series as they continue to hone their craft and build on their experience.

    In the end Fenwick took the win and will return to battle again in the finals, while Carter takes the experience and left the offer of a return if needed – something viewers wouldn’t be unhappy to see.

    So, as we are fully into the finals next week the bouts will continue to have the extra dimension of the threat of elimination hanging over the fighters.

    The series has shown its stars and uncovered some new ones and looks like a competition that deserves its spot in the Australian Sporting Calendar.