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Ringside report: Eddie Chambers in action

By Ian Aldous: This past Saturday night, another quality night of British boxing took centre stage at the ornate and beautiful setting of Leeds Town Hall. The featured fights broadcast on Channel 5 in the UK were the Maxinutrition light-heavyweight tournament semi-finals, as Bob Ajisafe faced Leon Senior and Travis Dickinson took on Matty Clarkson, to determine the names who will go head-to-head in the tournament final on September 27th. Also on the undercard, former world heavyweight title challenger, ‘Fast’ Eddie Chambers, continued his British boxing tour against Carl Baker.

In the first semi-final of the night, Travis Dickinson was the odds-on favorite to progress against ‘Magic’ Matty Clarkson and defend his English light-heavyweight title in the process. A huge following had traveled south to support Dickinson and they roared their approval as he entered the ring through those very fans. A lightning fast start saw a right uppercut drop Clarkson. A slightly over-enthusiastic Dickinson then went looking for the finish and was caught walking right into a solid right counter. The first round saw more punches landed than some twelve round fights! The action was relentless and would not slow up anytime soon. The second round allowed Clarkson some recovery time and he began to establish his jab before being dropped again by a left-right combination. Despite being down twice already in the fight, Matty showed his heart by immediately landing an overhand right, although it was shrugged off by Travis. The exchanges carried on in the third and this time it was Dickinson who touched the canvas via a right hand and forearm push that was wrongly called a knockdown. The tide was really turning in round four as Clarkson smartly began to work the body whilst his own face was beginning to swell badly. He took that success into round five and proceeded to score with left hooks to the body causing Travis to drop to a knee and take a count. He was down again after a multitude of left hooks – again to the body. Yet another body shot dropped Dickinson before he turned the tables and unleashed a comeback, ending the round on top despite the fact he’d been down on three occasions! It will undoubtedly be a contender for round of the year. The epic conclusion to a true war of attrition arrived in the sixth. With obvious pain etched onto his face, Travis went headhunting and nailed a great combo. The facial damage Clarkson had suffered was checked by the doctor, but he was allowed to continue . Shortly after that break in the action, the fight was stopped when referee, Michael Alexander, waved the contest off following another heavy exchange of leather that backed up Clarkson. It was a slightly premature referee stoppage to a contest that had fans disbelieving their eyes.

‘Tasty’ Travis Dickinson had successfully defended his English 175lbs title and earned a place in the tournament final. Even when celebrating his victory in the ring afterwards, you could see he was still in pain. His never-say-die attitude had shone through when many other fighters would have wilted to the intense bodywork that Matty Clarkson employed in round five. Promoter Mick Hennessy and the legendary trainer, Brendan Ingle, both called for the bout to be ‘fight of the year’. Hennessy went on to offer Clarkson a big fight on the September 27th show as a consolation prize for his valiant loss. Neither man deserved to walk away from the ring as a loser in my, or anyone’s eyes.

Hometown hero and British light-heavyweight champion, Bob Ajisfae faced Leon Senior in the main event with the unenviable task of following that epic fight. The overwhelming favourite, Ajisafe, started the fight brightly using his long southpaw jab to keep Senior at bay. In round two, he upped the pace which seemed to wake up both men. Leon appeared up for the scrap, but at the same time it looked as though he was in with someone who was maybe a level above him. In the third, Ajisafe, used his slick style to pin Senior on the ropes and throw punches from all angles. He had begun to find his distance after being a little out of range early on in the fight. Senior began to brawl his way into the contest in the fourth and was making Ajisafe work for every single shot he could land via some impressive movement. But then, less than a minute into the fifth, Ajisafe picked his spot to unleash a barrage of around thirty punches that took all the energy and fight out of Senior and the referee rightly jumped in to call a halt to the bout.

Last week on the Channel 5 broadcasted fight featuring Kid Galahad, Dickinson and Ajisafe were interviewed at ringside to hype this weekend’s fights, appearing to me that these were the two men they were expecting to advance to the final. They were right, but it was a little more dramatic than many fans were ever expecting it to be. So, the final will see a rematch of a 2012 fight when Ajisafe comprehensively outpointed Travis Dickinson. Both men have been through very tough fights since that night and I expect to see an enthralling fight, fought in the same vein that the tournament has been fought in since it started in March.

On the undercard, Team Fury member, Eddie Chambers fought for the third month in succession on English soil. He was outweighed by an incredible seven stones as his opponent, Carl Baker, tipped the scales at twenty-two stones and twelve pounds. Chambers exploited his superior speed to throw straight right-hands seemingly at will. His nickname of ‘Fast’ was particularly apt on this night. Baker was bloodied at the end of the third and clearly suffering with eye damage. His trainer, Dominic Ingle, correctly called the fight off. Afterwards, Baker explained to me how impressed he was with the speed and accuracy that Chambers displayed. It should be noted that Carl took the fight at around 48 hours notice.

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