Chris Ware knocks out Frankie Borg to win Welsh title

Chris Ware knocks out Frankie Borg to win Welsh title

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 three times but couldn’t muster any more energy the 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 having never lost a Welsh Area title fight with wins over Gary Cooper and Kerry Hope, was forced to show his supreme spirit 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. Just as happened in their last meeting, Borg was down early but with nine rounds to go, he was able to go on the defensive to recover as Ware set on a pursuit from rope to rope.

It appeared that Borg regained composure at the end of the round but it was a costly stanza as Ware also cut the St Joseph’s Boxing Club member, over the right eye. Early in the second round, Borg was 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 a foul.

When Borg would have room to step in with his jab or backhands to the body, he was quickly closed down and smothered by Ware’s sheer aggression. Although unable to hold his ground and set his feet, Borg was finding more success in the third round as he hit and moved, finding the gaps between Ware’s orthodox guard.

The period of success was short lived though, as the Swansea strongman reestablished his dominance, dropping Borg with his backhand, again. 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 adrenaline.

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 was clearly hurt and he knew it, intelligently holding Ware to bide his time. Buoyed by the bullying he was dishing out, Ware went for broke in the fifth and it was obvious Borg’s legs were betraying his body. Somehow though, Borg would keep plugging away and find the energy and leverage to throw enough straight shots to stay in the fight.

Early in the sixth round, Borg displaced Ware’s gum shield with several sharp jabs and bloodied his nose. Ware’s out-put had dipped and he was on the receiving end of stinging shots to the body that would’ve only contributed to his tank emptying. The champion was visibly growing in confidence and some ringside observers wondered if it marked a turning of the tide. However, in hindsight it appears to have been a last hurrah for Borg, who was fighting to his physical limits and beyond the call of duty. He continued to find room around Ware’s elbows to sink in sickening body blows.

Meanwhile, Ware’s defensive guard was squeezing up more and more as he approached but the gaps in his guard weren’t getting any narrower. Biding his time, 32-year-old Ware eventually regained the front foot and cornered an increasingly shattered Borg.

The ending came as Ware delivered a thunderous flush right hand, again, but the fatigued champion had no chance of surviving this time. Borg was worringly on the canvas for five minutes but received instant medical attention from the British Boxing Board of Control’s doctors. The 34-year-old left the ring on his feet, to the applause of a crowd grateful for his efforts and display of the biggest heart in Butetown.

Meanwhile in the other corner, Ware celebrated an excellent achievement; beating an experience champion, going past four rounds for the first time, practically in 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 Welsh Area middleweight champion.

Image by Sophie Merlo.

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