PROFESSIONAL BOXING AUSTRALIA #1 REVIEW
By TOM WATT on Aug 8 2015
This past Saturday saw the debut of new promotional outfit, Professional Boxing Australia, as they put on their first card in North Sydney. Main Event and Fox Sports host Ben Damon was ringside calling the fights with help from Daniel Geale, Nigel Benn, and Kali Meehan for a night of hotly contested Boxing headlined by two Australian Title fights.
Mohamed Yousef v Nick Ariel
Kicking off the night was a welterweight bout between two undefeated fighters in Nick Ariel (1-0-0) and Mohamed Yousef (2-0-0) and both men were keen to leave their mark on the night with action from the moment the first bell sounded. Ariel was a late replacement at only four days notice but the Sydney-based fighter looked in great shape and answered Yousef’s unrelenting pressure with smart counter-punching and his own high punch-output.
First fight of the night is never an easy task but the intensity of this fight had the North Sydney crowd on their feet and by the time the final bell rang there was a real sense of excitement around the crowd. Both fighters had put in a tremendous efforts and it was hard at ringside to tell just how the judges would score the bout, would they favour Yousef’s work rate or Ariel’s effectiveness – as it turned out the judges were as split as were and handed down scores of 38-38 (draw), 40-36 (Ariel) and 39-37 (Yousef). A few boos rang out when the decision was made but it was ultimately a fair one in a fight that had been hard to call and that had certainly delivered it’s money’s worth.
Ben Savva v Dillon Bargero
Both Savva and Bargero made unsuccessful debuts earlier this year on the same card in Hurstville with Savva taking the fight on few days’ notice off the back of a five year lay-off and Bargero fighting at 154 lbs against experienced MMA fighter, Alex Volkanovski. The ring-rust for Savva and the size difference for Bargero was too much that night but both men came into Saturday’s card fully prepared and ready to go. With the memory of the war between Ariel and Yousef that had preceded them still in the crowd’s mind, it was time for the second fight of the night.
Central-Coast based Bargero was first to the ring, having come in a little underweight there was thoughts that he had perhaps overdone it when cutting weight but he looked calm and confident as he made his way into the ring. Savva, the former British amateur prospect, brought the house down with perhaps the biggest support of the night as he made his entrance and the Sydney-based personal trainer looked ready for business.
The first round saw elements of caution form both fighters but as the round wore on the fight began to take shape with Bargero pushing forward and Savva looking to counter. Both men had stated prior to the fight they would be looking to assert physical dominance and neither man faltered on his promise. Savva was putting in the more clinical work, picking off Bargero with straight punches and quick combos but nothing seemed to be slowing him down, despite some obviously powerful right body rips to the body.
By the third round Bargero’s nose was bloodied and Savva was growing in confidence, looking much more relaxed and starting to move with ease although Bargero could not be disheartened and continued to move forward and fight back no matter what shots he took himself. It made for a very entertaining bout and Nigel Benn at ringside seemed very impressed with what Savva had to offer (see Benn’s interview here).
As the bell sounded there was little doubt over the result with Savva taking a unanimous decision. Savva will now look to push for a rematch with Richard Smith (4-0-0) whom he lost to in his first pro bout. Bargero plans to fight on and will re-group with a view to once again fighting at welterweight.
See Ben Savva’s post fight interview here and in-ring interview here.
See Dillon Bargero’s post-fight interview here
Randall Rayment v Mo Havea
Third fight of the night saw the Heavyweights making their way to the ring with cross-over athlete Randall Rayment (who had previously lost to Paul Gallen) took on Moses Havea. Rayment was giving away over 6 kilos on the scales but came in as slight favourite.
The first two bouts of the evening had showcased some brilliant technical boxing and inside fighting and although the third fight may have lacked slightly as a technical showpiece, it was just as hotly contested and when there are two evenly-matched heavyweights on show the crowd is always likely to be given what they want, a Knock Out. And Rayment was not about to let them down.
Havea seemed intent on landing that one big shot that would send his opponent sprawling while Rayment was happy to pick his shots and land in volume. Havea looked to be struggling for fitness as the rounds wore on and the rough nature of the fight and high levels of clinching seemed to be taking their toll as his hands dropped lower and lower. After four tough and torrid rounds that saw a number of head clashes, it was in the 5th round where Rayment was to make his break-through and as Havea hit the canvas the referee had seen enough and called a stop the fight.
Rayment plans to fight on but will move down Cruiserweight in his Boxing career.
See Randall Rayment’s post fight interview here
Jake Carr v Togasilimai Letoa
Next up on the bill was undefeated Super-Middleweight, Jake Carr against tough Samoan, Togasilimai Letoa. On paper this looked like the easiest fight of the night to call with the hot Aussie prospect fancied to take care of business with ease with Letoa had other ideas.
Carr isn’t a huge puncher, having previously only registered three finishes inside the distance in his first ten fights, and Letoa had obviously taken notes as he looked to walk Carr down, accepting that he would have to take some of Carr’s punches on the way in. The first few rounds were very close as the pair worked tirelessly on the inside with both men landing a number of clean shots, Carr was perhaps getting the better of the exchanges with the cleaner work but Letoa was moving his upper-body well and making life very difficult for the Australian.
By the time the 6th round rolled along Carr was beginning to wear Letoa down and a thunderous body shot saw Letoa drop to the canvas grimacing and the fight was called to an end, Carr had registered his 4th KO of his career. Although it looked like he was unlikely to beat the count Letoa’s performance so far should have earned him the opportunity to fight on and it was a shame to see such a courageous performance go unrewarded. There was no complaints from Letoa though as Carr’s hand was raised. The former Aussie Super Middleweight Champion can now look to the next chapter in his career as he seeks regional belts to move him up in the rankings.
See Jake Carr’s post-fight Interview here
Faris Chevalier v Tej Singh (Australian Super Middleweight Title)
The Co-Main event of the evening saw highly avoided southpaw Faris Chevalier take on the undefeated Tej Singh for the Australian Super-Middleweight Title. Chevalier and his team had been trying to fight Jake Carr for the belt before he vacated which left the door open for Singh to challenge for the now-vacant belt.
So far the crowd had been treated to a number of tightly-contested battles with plenty of action and although this fight very hotly contested, it didn’t quite deliver in the action department although that was in no small part down to Chevalier’s ability to move around the ring and frustrate his opponent.
Singh knew what Chevalier was all about and came in with the game plan to get in close and rough Chevalier up and it was a plan he executed well in spurts, making for an ugly but close few rounds as the fight got underway. Chevalier was looking the more composed fighter but he wasn’t evading as many as he would like and against tougher opposition he could find himself in hot water very quickly. Tej Singh kept coming forwards and applying pressure but as he grew more tired Chevalier was getting more and more success, particularly with his jab.
By the time the end of the fight sounded the result was almost beyond doubt, it had been a spirited performance from Singh but Chevalier was ultimately too good and walked away with a wide UD decision win to claim the Aussie Title.
Chevalier is now seeking fights with the biggest names in the Super Middleweight Division with Jake Carr and Daniel Geale firmly in his sights.
See Faris Chevalier’s post fight interview here
Kerry Foley v Joel Casey
The Main event of Saturday’s card saw Northern Beaches resident Kerry Foley take on the tough & rugged Joel Casey, this was the second time the pair have met in their professional careers with Foley taking a decision win first time round although neither man had more three fights on his record at that point so a lot had changed.
Foley came in as a slight favourite but Casey, looking fresh and revitalised following a string of very tough fights, was out for revenge and came out flying in the opening rounds, beating Foley to the jab and doing the smarter work for large parts of the opening few rounds as Foley tried to load up on his shots, looking confident that Casey wouldn’t be able to handle his power.
By the third round both men were drawn into the war that everyone was hoping for and we began to see heavy shots landed from both sides with Casey seeing continued success from his body shots which seemed to draw the air from an increasingly tiring Foley.
It looked as though Foley had maybe put too much into those opening couple of rounds as the fourth began with him drawing deep breaths but the Sydney-sider bit down on his gumshield and went to work Casey who was beginning to move back more than he had done previously when Foley landed with big shots. As the round wore on both men were throwing but it was Foley who caught the telling blow with a huge right hand that sat Casey down on the canvas and sent the crowd into a frenzy. After what seemed like one of the longest counts in recent memory Casey was back to his feet but Foley had seen enough and unleashed a barrage of brutal hooks to the head and body as the referee rightly called a halt to proceedings.
It hadn’t been the exhibition of boxing and ring awareness that saw Foley capture the Title and rather a throw-back to the Kerry Foley of old that threw every punch with bad intentions and tried for the knock out from the very first round. Moving forward he might want to take a little of both but from the crowd’s perspective it was exactly how they want to see someone defend that Australian Title.
See Kerry Foley’s post-fight interview here
Foley’s win capped off an excellent night of boxing and credit must go to promoter Astrid Van Der Sluys and match-maker Chris Carman for putting together such a competitive card. All too often in Australia recently we have seen non-competitive cards that allow for an easy home win and whilst it’s good to build a fighter’s confidence to a certain point, it’s only by going through these tough fights early on in their careers can fighters dig deep when they do get to that international stage and competitive fight cards like this one in North Sydney are the perfect way to prepare for that.
The whole show from Saturday night will be shown on Fox Sports this week and can be streamed any time via www.epicentre.tv
1. FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR.
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