IN THE first event of its kind, York University Boxing Club held a series of three round fights. The exhibition successfully raised the profile of the club and will provide the chance for members to take on other universities competitively in the future.
The event, which was held at York Amateur Boxing Club, began with light heavyweight bout between Umar Durrani and John Hunter. Both fighters exploded from their corners in a frantic opening to the contest. Durrani’s initially quick movement and series of combinations asked questions of Hunter, who responded with enough speed and aggression to counter Durrani’s advances.
Lightweight boxer Tom Daltas comfortably controlled the second fight against Matt Speed, who showed brave resistance but couldn’t match the superior speed and technique of Daltas.
This was followed by the best fight of the exhibition, with Nicholas Gopnik-Lewinski taking on David McDonald in a relentlessly fast-paced match. The bout was won by McDonald, who threw several combinations with great technique, managing to counter Gopnik-Lewinski’s speed and unorthodox style to seal the win.
The next fight pitted former boxing club president Oli Butterworth against Freddy Agyemang in a heavyweight contest full of promise. The first round opened fairly cautiously, with both boxers exchanging a number of jabs followed by big right hooks. The bout erupted in the second round, with Agyemang throwing a powerful right which landed on Butterworth’s temple. The ferocity of the blow prompted officials to end the match prematurely, much to the dissappointment of the crowd.
The award for best fighter of the day went to the winner of the next contest, which saw Ben Matthews comprehensively overcome a visiting member of the York Amateur Boxing Club of which Matthews is also a member. Matthews exhibited phenomenal speed and precision to dominate the fight from the outset, dictating the pace of the match with a mixture of deadly combinations despite the visitor’s brave resistance. The fight illustrated the combination of technique and fitness that makes a good boxer, with the ABC boxers providing a masterclass for the inexperienced York boxers.
The following fight saw York University boxers return to the ring, as Andreas Masoura took on Michael Hartley in a match that saw Hartley dominate the centre of the ring. Masoura lost his shape towards the end of the first round, allowing Hartley to open up with a series of blows.
The fight was controversially stopped at the end of the first round because of a heavy nosebleed suffered by Masoura during this barrage. Both boxers appealed the referee to allow the fight to continue after the magic sponge had been deployed, but to no avail.
Finally, the most eagerly anticipated bout of the afternoon saw the team’s finest light heavyweight, Richard Bartle, challenge ABC’s premiere heavyweight, Ben Fairburn. Despite Fairburn weighing 25 lbs. more than Bartle, the fighter fought aggressively with a combination of jabs and body shots that were aimed to dislodge the heavyweight. The second round saw Fairburn favour the single powerful punch, in contrast to the quick combinations deployed by Bartle, looking to use his weight advantage to land a knockout blow.
By the third round, the fight’s intensity meant that both fighters began to tire, resorting to holding tactics to catch their breath. Despite this, several serious right hooks were exchanged, causing damage to both boxers in a thoroughly entertaining game. Daltas, watching in the crowd, described the fights as “ridiculously vicious.”
The exhibition was a success, being the biggest event in the Boxing Club’s two-year history. Daltas expressed hopes that it will become an annual event and “hopefully boost the club’s profile.” He added that the event was: “A dream come true,” and “something I had looked forward to since my first Bruce Lee film”. He also described the experience of performing in front of a crowd as “exhilarating”, praising the crowd for their vocal support of all the fighters.