Rumble In The Rhondda Undercard: Clean sweep for Welsh prospects

Rumble In The Rhondda Undercard: Clean sweep for Welsh prospects

Sanigar Events’ ‘Rumble In The Rhondda’ show at the Rhondda Fach Sports Centre in Tylorstown featured a deep undercard and have a full breakdown of the action…

Pontypridd’s light-heavyweight Jermaine Asare (5-1, 1KO) recorded his first early finish with a punishing second round stoppage of Hull’s Andy Neylon (2-13-1, 1KO).

On Neylon’s last visit to Wales, he put Anthony Trow away in a first round upset. It wasn’t long ago that Asare was caught cold in the opening round [KO1 Eric Mokonzo] himself, so the Commonwealth Games medallist was alert from the first bell this time.

In the absence of trainer Darren Wilson, manager Chris Sanigar looked after corner duties and Asare started positively. Asare’s upper-body movement alone was enough to persuade Neylon to concede ground and it was quickly accompanied by prodding jabs that paved the way for more solid power punches.

They were mixed high and low, making a breakthrough in the second round, first with an uppercut that sagged Neylon to his knees. Neylon deserves credit for rising to his feet two more times, having returned to the canvas via body shots, but referee Reece Carter was wise to wave it off on the third occasion.

It was the most impressive outing of Asare’s six-fight career and only the second time Neylon has been halted inside the distance, having been stopped on his debut a year ago.

Mountain Ash’s Tony Dixon (8-1, 2KO) made a successful comeback with a well-earned 60-56 win against Stourbridge’s game journeyman Kevin McCauley (11-127-9).

In July, Dixon suffered his first career defeat at the heavy hands of Belfast’s Paddy Gallagher, losing the Celtic title fight in the first round. It prompted Dixon to move seven pounds north from welterweight to super-welterweight, giving him a bit more breathing space on the scales.

In fairness to ‘The Welsh Terrier’, he showed no lasting effects of that experience and was willing to get stuck in straight away, picking his moments under the instructions of Mountain Ash Boxing Club coach Paul Paveldish.

McCauley, who recently turned 37-years-old, has seen it all before as a veteran of nearly 150 bouts. Knowing all the tricks of the trade, McCauley taunted Dixon in to attacking, before tying him up and turning the prospect to take well-timed breaks.

Though McCauley threw enough to satisfy the referee, the quality came from Dixon, who thudded away with straight rights and lefts to the body. Several times, McCauley was dragged in to trading to stop the onslaught, which was a sign that it was Dixon’s sort of fight.

The intensity increased as the rounds reached the fifth and sixth, though there’s still plenty more to come from Dixon who is only 24-year-old and has more title shots in his future.

Thanks to opportunities made available by manager Mickey Helliet, Blaenavon’s Mason Jones (2-0) prepared for his second fight by working in the Las Vegas gym of Floyd Mayweather.

The hard work was worth it as Jones ran away with a decision win against Paul Cummings (0-2). Referee Martin Williams judged Mason to win every session of the four round scrap, totaling it 40-36.

Cummings was constantly in retreat and Jones was only a step behind in pursuit. The 21-year-old was creative in his approach, dipping low before rising with ambitious uppercuts and hooks. It was a tactic aimed at combatting Cummings’ extra length, in height and reach, which worked well.

By the third round, Jones’ quicker feet meant Cummings was pinned to the ropes for the most part and unable to escape as easily as he had earlier. Repeated flurries of punches rained in and Cummings was forced to squeeze up his defence to survive the final sessions.

Also over four rounds, Barry Town’s Jonathan O’Kelly (1-0) started his professional career with a solid decision win against Lithuania’s Florian Strupits (3-38-3, 2KO), rightly tallied to be 40-36 by referee Martin Williams.

If O’Kelly was feeling any debut nerves, it didn’t show. The light-heavyweight pumped the jab and stepped in with body shots when Florian’s back neared the ropes. The visitor’s body language was less convincing and ‘Spider’, as his closest know him, sensed it to take advantage by initiating almost all of the exchanges.

Trained by Commonwealth title challenger Chris ‘Monkey’ Davies has given O’Kelly plenty of rounds sparring hot prospect Nathan Thorley. Despite not having the deepest of amateur experiences, O’Kelly looked comfortable and visibly grew in confidence.

Beginning with the basics, O’Kelly steadily increased his activity and kept Florian in his shell, mainly making his mark with looping right hands over the top. When Florian did speculate with an attack, O’Kelly would lean back and clip him with a left hook before turning away. It was a risky way to evade punches but worked on the whole, aside from a thudding reminder to stay tight in the last minute of the fight.

Bridgend’s super-lightweight Richie Canning (5-0-1) returned back to winning ways with a hard-fought distance victory against Steven Backhouse (1-3-1, 1KO). The four rounder was scored 40-36, a tally that didn’t reflect the bout’s action.

Nine months ago, Canning’s last outing had ended in a disappointing draw to journeyman Ibrar Riyaz. There were a few more brief moments of concern in the opening round against Backhouse as both swung wide hooks at the same time.

More even exchanges followed and they both took turns to chip away at the other’s defence. It wasn’t until the third round that there was daylight between them, Canning catching the eye with solid single shots from range. Backhouse was always willing, though his concentration would betray him and leave gaps for Canning to find.

Recognising that a result wasn’t completely out of sight, Backhouse made a real effort in the final stanza. The visitor, marked around the eyes, moved Canning backwards and owned the advantage in body language. It bloodied Canning’s nose and he needed a rousing finale to make sure of the result.

Just in time, that came with 30 seconds of the fight left and courtesy of a body shot to Backhouse’s central stomach. It put him on the canvas and sealed a confidence-boosting win for Canning.

Pontypridd’s Kyle Jones (7-0) cruised to straightforward success against Jack Green (0-8), handily sweeping all four rounds on referee Reece Carter’s 40-36 scorecard.

To begin with, Jones was doing enough at the start and end of exchanges to take them. Green’s would respond by holding to force the official to reset the action but as the fight went on, he was less and less keen to engage.

The visitor circled the ring with increasing frequency and Jones had a job to catch up with him. When the Welshman did track him down, his extra aggression, in the form of two-fisted bursts of hooks, made him a clear winner.

Green also owns a promoter’s license and will host a show in Torquay on 22 October, headlined by Southern Area featherweight champion Jamie Speight.

Aberaman’s Anthony Trow (2-3) gained his first victory for five years, toughing it out against Jacob Lucas to win 40-36, decided by referee Martin Williams.

Severely shorter, it was obvious that Trow wouldn’t win a battle of the jabs, so he decided to rush forward and disable Lucas’ long leavers. Trow’s aggression caused Lucas’ nose to leak at the end of the first round and it never looked like the momentum would be reversed.

That momentum meant the gangling Lucas couldn’t make use of his southpaw stance and the pattern suited the more compact local, who was busier throughout, especially with hooks to the body. There wasn’t much that landed clean from either and they often cancelled each other out but Trow’s perseverance paid off.

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