Chris Ware knocks out Frankie Borg to win Welsh title

Chris Ware knocks out Frankie Borg to win Welsh title

By Dewi Powell: Swansea’s Chris ‘Mutley’ Ware (6-1, 3KO) overcame Cardiff’s Frankie Borg (9-4, 3KO) in a seven round war to win the Welsh middleweight title at the Newport Centre.

In total, Borg bravely got up off the canvas a total of three times but couldn’t muster any more energy a fourth time when Ware’s trademark overhand right ended the contest. Ware completed the hat-trick over his fearsome, but friendly, rival having beaten Borg as an amateur in the semi-finals of the 2009 Welsh Senior Championships and in a non-title four round fight in December.

Borg, who entered the ring with Welsh title wins over Gary Cooper and Kerry Hope, was forced to show his resolve from the opening round. The reigning champion began on the back foot, reluctant to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Ware but the challenger tracked him down and sent him crashing to the canvas after scarcely 60 seconds had ticked by on the timer.

It appeared that Borg regained his composure by the time the bell sounded to end the session but it had been costly. He’d also suffered a cut over his right eye and it was instantly tended to by Billy Reynolds in the corner. Early in the second round, Borg was then warned for bumping Ware with his shoulder in an attempt to create space for a breather from the relentless pressure – it wasn’t malicious but it was still a foul.

Whenever Borg had room to step in with his jab or backhands to the body, he was quickly closed down and smothered by Ware’s sheer aggression. Despite Borg being unable to hold his ground and set his feet, he did find more success in the third round as he hit and moved, finding the gaps between Ware’s guard.

The period of success was short lived, though. The Swansea strongman reestablished his dominance, again dropping Borg with his backhand. Borg, trained by his uncle Tony Borg, quickly rose up and they started fighting before the referee could begin counting. It was settled with a stern warning for both boxers, who quickly regained control of their natural impulses.

Prior to tonight, Ware had never been past the fourth round and his trainer, John Kaighin, was shouting instructions for his charge to pace himself. It fell on deaf ears as an enthused Ware ploughed forward, at one point he received a flush six-punch combination down the pipe for his troubles.

Ware refused to take a backwards step and it paid off as he landed a monstrous right hand in round four, sending Borg to the canvas for the third time and hurt worse than before. Still aware of his senses, Borg again got up but he was clearly hurt and knew it, intelligently holding Ware to bide his time. Ware was buoyed by the bullying he was dishing out and he went for broke in the fifth round. It was obvious Borg’s legs were betraying his body.

Borg dug in and displaced Ware’s gum shield with several sharp jabs early in the sixth round. Ware’s output dipped and he was on the receiving end of stinging shots to the body. The champion was visibly growing in confidence and some ringside observers wondered if it marked a turning of the tide. However, it was a false dawn and in hindsight appeared to have been a last hurrah for Borg, who was fighting to his physical limits and beyond the call of duty.

Meanwhile, Ware’s defensive guard squeezed up more and more as he approached the tiring champion. Biding his time, Ware eventually regained the front foot and cornered Borg. The ending came as Ware delivered another thunderous flush right hand and Borg had no chance of surviving this time.

Borg was on the canvas for five minutes and received instant medical attention from the British Boxing Board of Control’s doctors. The 34-year-old left the ring on his feet and to the applause of a crowd grateful for his efforts. He’d displayed the biggest heart in Butetown.

In the other corner, 32-year-old Ware celebrated an excellent achievement; beating a more experienced champion, going past four rounds for the first time and winning in [practically] his opponent’s back yard – all that after only seven fights as a professional. As the owner of the hugely successful Funky Pump Gym franchise, Ware struggles to find time to train but Welsh boxing fans will be desperate to see more of the new all-action Welsh middleweight champion.

Image by Sophie Merlo.

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