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Shamrock Boys invade Braintree

Saturday night saw Shamrock Promotions leave the comfort of their usual venues around the Norwich area and dip their toe into Essex waters with a very good show at the Braintree Leisure Centre. The card was headlined by local fighter Billy “Boy” Bird (13-1-0) who was fighting Evaldas Korsakas (3-3-1) for the British Classic Challenge Belt.

The main event was a tasty one, with the obviously pro Bird crowd cheering their man from the off. Bird started the fight by showing his higher level of ability by using his better timing and skill to land the more meaningful punches and evade the best that Korsakas had to offer. The first two rounds were close but Bird did the better work and took both in my eyes.

The fight really came to life in the third where Korsakas picked himself up off the canvas three times, with one rightly being called a slip. Korsakas started the round well enough but again his best wasn’t catching Bird cleanly. Bird’s tidier work paid off when he floored Korsakas with a minute to go in the round. Korsakas made the count and Bird rushed at him to try and finish the job, where a bit of patience would have served him better. In the rush Korsakas was bundled to the floor and given more time to recover from the first knockdown which had seemingly hurt him. After the ref had wiped off Korsakas’ gloves Bird was again quick to work, but this time not just bulldozing into his opponent. His calmer work paid off when he scored the second knockdown of the round. The bell sounded half way through the refs mandatory 8 count and served to save Korsakas at least for another round.

Bird seemingly took his foot off the pedal in rounds 4, 5 and 6. He was a lot more reserved in his actions, preferring to wait for an opening rather than trying to force one. This resulted in Korsakas having his best spell of the fight. With Bird looking for the opening that could close the show early he wasn’t throwing as much as he had been. But in his defence he wasn’t getting hit either. Korsakas’ best spell of the fight resulted in him sharing the rounds with Bird.

The seventh started to the same script as rounds 4, 5 and 6 with Korsakas throwing a lot but not landing anything of note and Bird working well behind his jab. It took Korsakas being put on the canvas again for this round to not be a carbon copy of the previous three. Both fighters started to trade and Bird caught Korsakas on the way in with a punch he didn’t see coming and put him down. Korsakas was up well before the 8 and looked annoyed that he’d taken another count, he clearly wasn’t hurt like he was by the first knockdown in the third round. Bird sensing this didn’t charge in on his opponent and decided to work for his openings again.

The final round was nothing to write home about, Bird knew that all he had to do was make it through the final three minutes and the British Classic Challenge Belt was his. Korsakas gave it a go but Bird’s good footwork and defensive skills ensured that he was in no danger of losing.

Billy “Boy” Bird improved his record to 14-1-0 and must surely now be looking at a southern area title or English title shot in the near future

 

The chief support came in the form of former IBF Youth World Champion Nathan Dale (17-0-0) making his return to the ring after a lengthy spell out against James Gorman (8-20-1).

Dale had been out of the ring for 15 months with a hand injury but you would never have thought it with the way he started the fight. His timing and accuracy was punch perfect and he showed why he’d won the IBF Youth Title before his injury. Every time Gorman threw a punch Dale countered well. There was a hunger in Dale’s eyes at the beginning of the fight. He seemed to want to take all of his frustration of a year out injured out on Gorman. Dale never looked in trouble throughout, keeping Gorman at range behind his jab and opening up with power shots when he felt like it. Towards the end of the fight I thought Dale could have stopped Gorman if he wanted to but it seemed to me that was enjoying himself too much and decided to savour every second of his return to the ring. Dale won with a wide points victory to extend his very impressive record to 18-0-0. Maybe another tune up fight to get rid of any lingering cobwebs for Dale before he is in there with the best domestically at least, he’s definitely got the talent to go to the top.

The crowd friendly performance of the night will have to go to Joe Hurn who improved his record to 7-0-0 with an empathic knockout of Casey Blair in the first round of their fight. Hurn was in no mind to play games with Blair, going for the power shots from the first bell. Blair was hurt twice before the finish, once from a body shot and once from a hook to the head. The end came after Hurn forced Blair back onto the ropes and connected with a peach of an uppercut. Blair seemed to be out before he hit the canvas and the ref rightly called the fight off before even attempting a count. If you want to see Hurn’s knockout of Blair there is a video of it on our Facebook page.

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Nathan Dale with Zaiphan Morris after their fights

There was also wins for Zaiphan Morris, Alan Ratibb and John Wheatley who improved their records to 6-0-1, 2-0-0 and 2-0-0 respectively. Ryan Frost also improved his record to 2-0-0 but again had to pick himself up off the canvas after suffering a flash knockdown. Frost was visibly annoyed with himself and the knockdown resulted in making a fight that would have been a straightforward win a lot closer on the scorecards.

 

Credit to NBTV for the interview’s and images

Chris Waddams
I've been a boxing fan for as long as I can remember, going back to the fights between Benn/Eubank/Collins and probably even earlier if I think really hard! My favourite boxer growing up was Lennox Lewis, but when he retired it switched to Ricky Hatton and Joe Calzaghe. Away from boxing I'm a season ticket holder at Tottenham Hotspur and I also write a Spurs blog (www.thfc1882.com)
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