When, in a 2010 TV interview, Mike Tyson told Michael Kay that “the attempt for greatness is the biggest drug in the world.” he probably didn’t realise how profound a statement he’d just made. His carefully chosen words were certainly enough to stun the studio audience into a moment of contemplative silence and he would have been well aware of that, but he certainly couldn’t have known that even now, almost ten years later those words would still be resonating in the way that they have and will continue to do.
Making his attempt for greatness on the undercard of BCB Promotions’ Midlands Boxing Super Series, Coventry’s promising southpaw, Jordan ‘The Assassin’ Cooke returned to the ring for his 13th pro fight to take on the experienced Lithuanian boxer Edvinas Puplauskas in the opening contest of the night.
Cooke, who perhaps hasn’t been as busy is he would have liked to be so far in his pro career, especially during 2017 when he only fought twice – losing on points to Henry Janes in February before bouncing back in Birmingham with a points win over Fonz Alexander in the following September, was too clever, fast and elusive for his opponent and notched up a convincing 40 – 36 win.
- Cooke on his way to a convincing points win.
Next up the three-time world kickboxing champion turned boxer Rachel Ball who, following her successful pro boxing debut in December, was making her 2nd appearance at the Stadium Suite.
Ball was up against a tough little fighter and IBF World Super Featherweight title contender, Poland’s 28 year old Bojana Libiszewska.
- Rachel Ball
It turned out not to be the prettiest of bouts. Ball, the taller of the two fighters, struggled at times to deal with her awkward and fleet-footed opponent’s 5’6″ height and would have been frustrated by the degree of grabbing and holding that became a feature of the bout. Undaunted by the task however, Ball attacked solidly and consistently showing true battling grit and a tigerish prowess – which proved more than enough on this occasion to secure the win and chalk up her 2nd victory in as many fights.
- Rachel Ball in action at the Stadium Suite
On to the first semi final.
Tamworth’s Louis ‘Flash’ Fielding went into his clash with the unbeaten and much fancied Derby born featherweight Indi Sangha knowing that he was the underdog to win not just this fight but the tournament outright.
Speaking about his game plan before the fight Fielding said;
“He’s shorter than me and I think that will be a factor. He’ll try and get in close, so it’s up to me to make sure he can’t do that. He’ll struggle, if I get my game-plan right. He’s a slick counter puncher and a tricky kid, so I’ve got to take him out of his comfort zone.”
- Fielding vs Sangha
When it came to it, unfortunately for Fielding, Sangha didn’t just disregard his opponent’s carefully conceived game-plan, he tore it to pieces and set fire to the scraps.
A blistering three punch combo tore through Fielding’s defence landing him on the seat of his pants towards the end of round one and Sangha, who had already clearly taken control of the fight, was just seconds from finishing the bout when the bell brought the round to a close, coming to Fielding’s rescue in the process.
- Fielding was floored towards the end of Round One
Sangha’s domination continued in the following round despite being tagged by the occasional straight shot and he finished the contest impressively, catching Fielding with a bomb of a right cross that sent the Tamworth fighter toppling into the neutral corner before landing a succession of devastating clean head and body shots that left referee Shaun Messer no alternative but to step in.
The second semi final bout was much more evenly contested. Chasetown’s Luke Jones and Birmingham’s Paul ‘The Incredible’ Holt both put on brave warrior-like displays with neither wanting to give way to the other on any front throughout the fight.
- Holt (left) just manages to evade Jones’s straight right.
- Holt (right) lands a straight left.
In the lead up to the clash Holt had made clear that he felt a rematch in the final against Sangha, the fighter who had beaten him on points at The Holte Suite in September 2017, was ‘written in the stars’ despite admitting that he knew very little about tonight’s opponent in Jones.
It was a draining mental and physical see-saw battle, sometimes a little crude, sometimes a touch manic but thoroughly entertaining throughout. With both fighters desperate for the win and after six hard fought rounds it was indeed Holt that edged it (58-57) to seal his place in the Final and set up what will be a thrilling return bout against Sangha.
- Seconds before MC Ben Walters announces Holt (left) as the winner.