This week’s instalment was much talked about on social media as the boxers moved past the preliminary rounds and are now fighting for a spot in the finals.
The action lifted noticeably and the quality of performances was very impressive. It is clear if you haven’t sat down to view this series yet, you need to listen to Molly Meldrum and do yourself a favour.
We believe this episode will be repeated in the hours leading up to next week, which is just as well, as many a viewer has commented on this weeks fights having so much they are sure they missed some.
63 Kg Rhys Evans (Gladstone) versus Michael Black (Redlands/The Boxing Shop)
Both men were coming off very impressive first round fights and there was lots of chatter about this being a fight of the year contender. Evans last boring fight was when handing his brother a ‘dutch oven’ in 2005 while Blacks highlight reel against the game Braydan Fenwick in earlier rounds indicated that neither boxer would be one to hide.
I could go on with a blow by blow, but for lack of page space the summary is thus: Blacks blistering hand speed, long jab and wicked body shots would cause many to take a knee in the first thirty seconds. Evans response was to answer with a series of cracking overhand rights, hooks and uppercuts. Round one ended with honours about even.
Round two started in a similar fashion to Marvin Hagler versus Tommy Hearns with Black throwing so many punches commentators questioned what on earth happened in the corner. Evans, in the assured manner of a seasoned fighter rode the wave to come firing back with excellent work on the inside, and so the next two rounds continued in this fashion.
The bar in which your author watched the show had people laughing out loud such was the intensity of action, and both fighters have entered the black book of people to make time to watch in the future.
In the end Black picked up a deserved win, even though it was a mild upset. The greatest hope is these two meet again in the finals.
70kg Sean Evans (Gladstone) versus Julian Muscat (Bethania)
Evans, obviously jealous of the cheers his brothers fight attracted took his technician skills and ran them through the hyperactivity machine in this bout. With a workrate and level of connecting punches well in excess of his previous bout in the EBC, it was like watching a man possessed with the idea that workrate wins bouts.
Julian Muscat on the other hand decided that when someone is trying to outwork you, the only option is to fire back with every punch in the book.
Some of the power-punch for power-punch exchanges were simply breathtaking in their showcase of skill, stamina and heart. Slowly, Evans switch hitting and fast hands gave him a slight edge, though every time it appeared he’d edged ahead Muscat would lift his tempo with another powerful exchange.
As they entered the last, Evans may have been a point ahead and while Muscat caught him a number of times in the final round the boy from Gladstone eked out a well deserved, though close victory. This saw
Muscat bows out of the tournament at this stage and TV is worse for it. Make sure you check your TV guide for the repeat as both these fighters deserve another look.
Marcus Nelson (Bethania) versus Jack Littlefield (Orange)
A short, though full fight. Both men showed in their previous wins they’ll take one to land two and so this started with Nelsons sharp punching countered by Littlefields bullocking style and strong hooks and rips. Both landed and caught strong punches in the opening minute, and as your reporter pondered who would be able to assert their will most effectively, ‘Hollywood’ Nelson decided it was time for an exclamation mark.
Spotting an opening he delivered a liver punch that any fighter in the would want in their arsenal and before Littlefield had figured out he’d been hit he was on the floor gasping for breath and being betrayed by his body.
He showed tremendous heart climbing the ropes before the ten count was complete but the referee correctly adjudged he was not ready to continue. This was a shame for the representative of the central west as he had done nothing wrong to that point and as any fighter will tell you – if you get caught clearly on the liver there is nothing you can do.
Nelsons post fight interview included the first real bit of bravado from the fighters as he declared he would go through anyone put in front of him in his search for the inaugural title, and based on what we have seen in two fights he appears to have the ring smarts and power to back the claim.
Amaeze Enji (Canberra/Stockade) versus Thomas Van Dijk (Stingrays/Cairns)
This fight had a hint of desperation as both fighters were coming off a loss. Enyi is a very experienced and confident boxer and seemed to sense that he could impose his will by pressing the action from the get go with flurries of both clean and wild punches.
As a result, Van Dijk was under pressure and may have been looking for some guidance from his sponsor at TJS Services for how to keep things clean and operating effectively as he looked under the pump for much of the round.
By the second round Van Dijk had settled and began firing back, especially going to the southpaw guidebook to let the straight left fly down the pipe on more than one occasion. Enyi, however, was not in the mood to be denied. Continuing to press the action he rarely gave any time for recovery and was clearly in the lead by the end of the second.
By midway through the third Van Dijk looked spent, and while still trying to turn the fight I would be confident in guessing Enyi will record a rap about this fight over a highlights package as a reminder of him taking a strong victory on international tv.
Troy Garton (Auckland/Mayhem) versus Jessica Cashman (Ipswich/The Boxing Shop)
Garton, coming of a close loss to tournament favourite Skye Nicolson was out to prove a point and came roaring out from the bell. Cashman, proving that people from Ipswich don’t fold for anyone, rode the early onslaught before starting to connect with some cracking counters. As they headed to the bell though Gartons superior strength and greater confidence had given her a clear lead.
Unfortunately, due to a technical error the telecast stopped at this point. Your author understands that this episode will be repeated next Tuesday earlier in the evening (7pm?) in prep for the normal episodes 9pm showing. If you haven’t seen it, this is an episode that is well worth catching and if you have its one worthy of showing your friends.