RELOADED UNDERCARD RESULTS
If it was to be Jason Cook’s (30-5-1, 16KO) final fight of a memorable career, it ended with a reminder of why he became one of Wales’ most popular boxers as he stopped the tough Tony Pace (4-7-1) in the fourth round of their Celtic welterweight title fight. There had been doubts whether the fight would happen after Maesteg’s Cook couldn’t meet the British Boxing Board of Control’s (BBBoC) mandatory check weigh-ins earlier in the week but it was rearranged as a welterweight contest which both boxers agreed to. 38-year-old Cook had, like everyone, expected Pace (10st 1lbs) to come flying out of the blocks but the Talbot Green man stayed patient and waited too long in the opener, allowing Cook (10st 4lbs 15oz) to nick the round. It was a more positive Pace in the second and third rounds as he attacked in spurts and forced Cook to the ropes. However, it was that patience that led to Pace’s undoing in the fourth round as Cook timed Pace’s approach to land an overhand right that shook Pace up and the 21-year-old lost control of his body as he staggered heavily across the ring, prompting referee John Keane to rightly end the contest. One of many boxing cliches says how the power is the last thing to leave a boxer and it was definitely the case for Cook, who has scored memorable highlight reel knockouts all through the two decades he’s boxed. Cwmgors’ Chris Jenkins (13-0, 5KO) picked up his first career title with a Unanimous Decision victory over Frenchman Christopher Sibere (22-7, 8KO) for the WBC International light-welterweight title. Judges Ian John Lewis and Terry O’Connor scored the bout 100-90 to the Welshman with judge Mark Green scoring it 100-91 but it was far from routine for Jenkins. The 25-year-old began patiently, displaying a different side to his game than what’s been seen on television screens. Utilising the jab, Jenkins (9st 12lbs 13oz) kept Sibere (9st 13lbs 12oz) at bay and tried to find the room to test Sibere’s rib cage. Soon though, Sibere would be switch hitting and he enjoyed modest success while punching a the same time Jenkins did in the first three rounds. However, the Swansea man would soon pull away and he made his first real breakthrough at the end of the fourth round. A body shot dug in to Sibere’s ribs and he squeezed up to avoid the oncoming onslaught but the bell sounded to give him a much needed break. Aside from a bad cut to the right ear after an accidental head clash, it was relatively one way for Jenkins who slowed the pace, used his jab and enjoyed the experience of going the ten round distance, something he’s been eager to do for the last six months. Sibere remained in his shell for the rest of the bout, while Jenkins was able to try a different way of boxing which will aid his development. Carmarthen’s Dale Evans (8-1-1, 3KO) fought the best opponent of his career and produced his best performance in an exciting eight round contest with former British title challenger Eric Ochieng (14-3, 4KO), winning on points via a 77-76 scoreline. The boxers were originally meant to box in December in London but Ochieng opted not to box as scheduling issues on the night meant that it wouldn’t have started until past 1am. This gave Evans home advantage and he seemed to thrive on it in Cardiff, just an hour from Carmarthen – a shorter distance compared to what his western fans are used to putting up with. It was Ochieng’s (10st 8lbs 12oz) first contest at welterweight, having dropped down from light-middleweight where he unsuccessfully fought for the British title in his last outing. The London based boxer was greeted with boos and Evans (10st 8lbs 5oz) was more than willing to inflict more harshness on his opponent as he stalked behind a compact, high guard and fought the target with his right hand. Not willing to comply with Ochieng’s style, Evans kept the contest at arms length and refused to be drawn in to an inside battle. Instead, the Welshman threw plenty of feints to off-set Ochieng’s reactionary swings and then ambushed Ochieng when he was off balance. When Ochieng was manoeuvred on to the ropes, Evans stayed selective and didn’t head hunt which stopped him falling in to Ochieng’s counters. It was a game plan designed by Evans’ trainer Gary Lockett and it was working. After racking up the first five rounds with relative ease, Evans switched off. It allowed tiredness and a right hand-left hook from Ochieng to take advantage, Evans appeared hurt badly in the seventh round and Ochieng only seemed a few shots away from scoring a stoppage but he didn’t and let his chance slip. In the minute break, it seemed to be a question of Evans surviving the next round to win. Not only did he survive, Evans appeared fresh and managed to win the final round too. Mountain Ash’s Dorian Darch (7-3, 1KO) tried to do what he promised but 2012 Olympic gold medallist Anthony Joshua (4-0, 4kO) was far too talented for the Welshman and proved it by scoring a second round stoppage. It was Joshua’s (17st 3lbs) fourth stoppage victory in as many outings since turning professional and such are the expectations he has, the only person who didn’t seem impressed by his performance was himself. Darch (17st 1lbs 13oz) appears wide open but his rawness is hard for opponents to gauge, it was that awkwardness that allowed Darch to remain unscathed until the end of the opener where Joshua trapped Darch on the ropes and unloaded with a two fisted attack but then the bell rang to halt the assault. In the second round, Joshua carried on from where he left off and it paid off. Darch sank against the ropes to evade the pressure and must have thought he got away from danger as he ducked under a right hand but a follow up left hook saw Darch’s legs wobble in to another set of ropes and it was enough for referee Terry O’Connor to wave the contest off. Former European champion Kerry Hope (20-6, 1KO) was well supported and returned to winning ways, putting a bad 2013 behind him with a points win over Ireland’s Paul Moffett (3-1-1, 2KO). Merthyr middleweight Hope (11st 11lbs) was judged to be the winner by a 59-58 margin on referee Reece Carter’s scorecard. The scoreline flattered Moffett (12st 2lbs), the Irishman fought in spurts but it wasn’t in enough volume to trouble Hope who stayed consistent and composed throughout. Welsh super-middleweight Tobias Webb (14-1-1, 2KO) recovered from a flash knockdown in the first round but eventually overcame Mountain Ash’s Nathan King on points over six rounds. In parts, it was the best Webb (12st 4lbs) has boxed for a long time and certainly the fittest as his output was considerably higher than what he’s produced at times in the past. King (12st 1lbs 6oz) is as tough as they come but when Webb settled in to his rhythm, King found it hard to pin the Swansea man down whose speed was the biggest difference. Ammanford’s Leon Findlay (5-5-1, 2KO) can be proud of the effort he put in against skilful Bristolian Tamuka Mucha (7-0, 1KO). Although always second best, Findlay’s come to win attitude is refreshing to see from an away corner boxer and it will hopefully see him used on Matchroom shows again.