Akeem Ennis-Brown claimed the Commonwealth and vacant British Super-Lightweight titles with a unanimous decision win over Philip Bowes on the latest MTK Global bill in Wakefield on Wednesday.
Ennis-Brown (14-0, 1 KO) began the contest by darting in and out of range in what was a technical and scrappy first round.
The Gloucester native throws from wide angles, but was caught by a raking Bowes (20-4, 3 KOs) left towards the conclusion of the opener.
It was frantic stuff as Ennis-Brown was forcing Bowes to dip to the ropes to avoid the wild swings of his opponent in the second and he landed with a big left following a clinch during the round.
Although the volume of punches was coming from the 24-year-old, ‘Quicksilver’ Bowes was timing his opponent with good shots on the counter.
The pair squared up to each other at the end of the fourth, and were warned by referee Phil Edwards to clean up their acts at the start of round five.
It was stop-start stuff, but ‘Riiddy’ started to turn the screw with a series of clean shots landing in the sixth, with Bowes handed a point deduction in the eighth for excessive holding.
The fight was possibly slightly slipping away from Bowes, however the 36-year-old landed a big right hand in the tenth to give him renewed hope, but a clash of heads stopped the action shortly after, with Ennis-Brown’s left eye cut.
The ringside doctor allowed the fight to continue and Bowes landed a left hand on the affected eye of his foe, to maintain his momentum.
Two dedicated boxers who gave it their all this evening 🥊
— MTK Global 🌍 (@MTKGlobal) September 2, 2020
A good short right and left combination to the head may have just swung the penultimate session in the Commonwealth champion’s favour and it looked up for grabs going into the final round.
The pair swung and exchanged, as they attempted to seize the belts, but the fight went the distance with the result anyone’s guess.
It fell to the judges to declare a winner. Howard Foster and Mark Lyson both scored 115-112, while Terry O’Connor had it 116-111, all for Ennis-Brown who became the new double domestic champion.
“I’m a bit annoyed because I wanted to put on a great fight, but that’s no fault to me, my opponent was doing a lot of holding,” Ennis-Brown said post-fight.
“I think once the referee told him about the holding, it allowed me to go to work. If we would have had a fight, I could have stopped him.
“I’m happy to be the first person from Gloucester to hold these belts. My plan is to change the city to a boxing city rather than a Rugby one.”
All five undercard fights failed to go the distance. Dan Azeez retained his English Light-Heavyweight title as Andre Sterling’s corner unexpectedly threw the towel in during the eighth round.
Although it was competitive action, Azeez (12-0, 8 KOs) was always a step ahead of the play using slick boxing and good angles to keep in control of the bout, against his Peacock Gym rival.
A short right hand from the champion at the start of the sixth caught Sterling (11-3, 4 KOs) off balance, but his gloves touched the canvas, so a knockdown was rightly called.
Sterling, 29, had facial damage, arguably needing a knockout to win and there was no complaint from the fighter himself when a halt was called by his corner team.
The renewal of hostilities from the amateur days went the way of Harlem Eubank, who knocked out Martin McDonagh in the eighth and final round of their Super-Lightweight contest.
Eubank, (10-0, 3 KOs) cousin of Chris Eubank Jr, took over after the fourth session and in the dying moments of the fight, he landed a jarring left followed by a right hand that dropped McDonagh (8-2) for the full count.
McDonagh had previously beaten Eubank twice in the unpaid ranks.
Padraig McCrory (11-0, 5 KOs) needed just 70 seconds to dispense of Mickey Ellison at Super-Middleweight.
A big right hand from the Irishman shook Ellison (12-3, 4 KOs) to his boots and a follow up right blasted the 30-year-old almost through the ropes, as referee Mark Lyson dispensed with the count, as the Lancastrian rose on unsteady legs.
Elliot Whale (3-0, 1 KO) won the battle of the unbeatens at Super-Welterweight, as a sickening body shot stopped Corey McCulloch (4-1) in under two minutes of the opening round.
Opening the show was Featherweight prospect Mark McKeown (3-0, 1 KO) and the Scot stopped an exhausted Levi Dunn (0-1), who was making his debut in four rounds, to register a maiden knockout.