Ashley Brace draws with Melania Sorroche in European title fight

Ashley Brace draws with Melania Sorroche in European title fight

By Dewi Powell: There was confusion with the cards as Spain’s Melania Sorroche (13-2-2, 2KO) took a draw on Sanigar Events’ #UpForGrabs show, which was initially announced as a Split Decision loss for Ebbw Vale’s Ashley Brace (7-0-1, 3KO).

One judge favoured Brace by a 97-93 margin at the Rhydycar Leisure Centre in Merthyr Tydfil but the remaining two officials edged Sorroche ahead with a pair of 96-94 and 96-95 tallies… or so we thought. The third scorecard was actually scored 95-95, meaning it was a draw.

Brace was aiming to create history and become the first British female to win the European Boxing Union belt, which would have been a stellar achievement amidst an encouraging era for gender equality in the sport.

‘The Storm’, as Brace is aptly named, was smothered in the opening two rounds, unable to find the space to produce any eye-catching work. The same could be said for Sorroche, who wasn’t discouraged by Brace’s vocal home support.

Brace persisted and managed to edge Sorroche backwards in the third and fourth rounds. It was energy sapping work for both of them, each trying to take a foothold in the early stages.

In the middle rounds, they still spent a considerable amount of time wrestling on the inside and that was a pattern that continued throughout the full fight as neither were able to make a serious dent in the other.

After eight competitive rounds, Sorroche did appear to distress Brace in the ninth round. The Welsh woman took her time to regroup and saved her energy for a late rally, though it was unlikely to have turned the tide for that particular session in the eyes of the judges.

Needing a clear round to be confident, Brace produced some clean shots in the final round, cupping Sorroche with short hooks before turning away in to space. However, it was still competitive and neither appeared completely confident when the bell sounded.

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