Home Breaking Boxing News Tony Pace prevails in a classic; Dean Francis victorious in comeback

Tony Pace prevails in a classic; Dean Francis victorious in comeback

Steve Sims and Tony Borg produced another Great evening of boxing in Newport, South Wales as fans were treated to all the excitement that boxing can offer. The drama was high with fights that had shifts in momentum, in front of passionate supporters. The show was a double main event involving two title fights for British Masters honours in the lightweight and light heavyweight divisions.

At lightweight the eagerly anticipated showdown between Tony Pace, of Talbot Green and Aberdare’s Lance Sheehan more than lived up to expectations. The fight saw Tony ‘The Snake’ Pace lift the title in a tremendous and courageous effort.

In the early rounds it was hard to separate the two fighters, as Sheehan worked well with the jab and Pace applied pressure. At times Sheehan was matching Pace’s infighting and having success but he was slowly being drawn into his opponents fight.

The contest looked all over in the fifth, as a left hook early in the round badly hurt ‘The Snake’ and the follow-up barrage had him in all kinds of trouble and he spent the majority of the round being battered by every shot in the book. There were calls for the referee, Wynford Jones, to stop it but he didn’t intervene and the round took a lot out of Sheehan – who had thrown just about everything to end it. How Pace didn’t go down is beyond me and more astounding was that in the next round, it was Pace who came out stronger while Sheehan’s ‘tank’ appeared empty. There are moments when you see a fighters will and determination and in those fifth and sixth rounds, we saw them from Tony. He rode out the storm, in the fifth and in the next round came back firing.

In the seventh we saw a triple left hook from Pace and he was dictating the fight. Once he’s inside and starts to let his hands go, he’s like a dynamo. Sheehan took a few rounds to get back his energy back and started boxing better in the ninth but it was still his opponent who was controlling the tempo of the fight. Pace was having a field day in the later rounds with crunching hooks to the body and hooks to the head.

In the he final round both men still threw leather and considering that neither man had been past six rounds before, it was a feat in itself. It amazed me how well Pace recovered from the fifth round and how Sheehan, seemingly running on empty could carry on round after round.

The official scorecard of referee, Wynford Jones, read 97-93 to the deserved winner Tony Pace. I scored it closer at 96-94, which included the 10-8 round in the fifth.

At only 19 and with a hard start to professional boxing, Tony Pace just keeps getting better, stronger and fitter. His record improves to 4-4 and he won his first title the British Masters lightweight belt. Sheehan suffered his first defeat in six fights but will have gained a lot of experience from this bout and can only comeback stronger. The fight was missed by the TV cameras but will live long in the memories of those there to witness it.

Co-main event was an intriguing battle between undefeated Justyn Hugh, of Newport and former British and Commonwealth light-heavyweight champion Dean Francis of Basingstoke. 38 year old Francis was coming into the fight after a three year absence but entered the ring in magnificent shape as did Hugh (pictured, right).

The British Masters light-heavyweight belt was up for grabs in this one. It was the younger man from Wales that started better and he took the opening two rounds, showing a good jab and some solid combination punching.

In the third, Francis was on the canvas from a flash knockdown but was unhurt. Francis had success in the fourth with the straight right. The fifth was an even round but Francis finished very strongly and it seemed from that point that the momentum in the fight was starting to swing in his favour and he took the next few rounds, his punching more fluid than his opponents.

The major breakthrough for the Basingstoke man came in the eighth as a left hook to the body seemed to hurt Hugh and the more experienced man sensed it and threw more through the round and each time had success and it looked like he might get the stoppage then but Hugh wouldn’t go down.

A spirited fight back in the ninth saw Hugh take the round and it looked like the fight would go the distance. Going into the final round I had it scored 86-85 in the Welshman’s favour. The tenth was fought at a fast pace and both had success. Francis won the fight with a sickening barrage in Hugh’s corner putting Francis on top and the referee rightly stepped in to save Hugh from further punishment.

The fight overall was highly entertaining and both men had plenty of success but it was the senior fighter who rolled back the clock to come out on top. Referee for the bout was Wynford Jones. Dean Francis record improves to 32-4-1 while Hugh suffered his first defeat and now stands at 11-1-1.

The undercard saw a rematch between Adam Goldsmith of Cwmcarn and Blackwood’s Dai Jones. Goldsmith had won a close four round decision back in June at the same venue and took Jones unbeaten record in the process. The rematch was once again over four rounds and the well matched fighters served up another entertaining fight that was to be cut short.

The fight opened with Goldsmith using boxing and movement while Jones tried to close the gap to get inside. The second round saw Jones close the gap but Goldsmith was still doing well in making the Blackwood boxer miss. It was the second round that saw an accidental clash of heads open a very nasty cut over the left eye of Dai and the blood flow was non-stop from that point.

Jones fought with great urgency in the third though Goldsmith did match him with solid shots of his own. Referee, Clarke Joslyn called a halt to proceedings, in the third, due to the dreadful cut and the fight went to a technical decision which resulted in a draw, both having 39 points.

The two evenly matched prospects will likely get to meet again in a rubber match. Goldsmith’s record is now 1-0-1 while Jones is 3-1-1.

On the comeback trail, 30-year-old Taz Jones had his first fight since an eight-round points defeat to Prince Arron in 2009. The opponent this evening was journeyman, Jay Morris from the Isle of Wight.

The fight was mostly a mauling affair that prompted the referee, Clarke Joslyn, to warn both fighters and he took a point away from Morris in the third for roughhouse tactics. Jones was the superior man in terms of punch power and variety but it was still a hard night’s work for a comeback fight. Jones was rightly awarded the decision 40-35. Jones’ record improves to 13-7-3 while Morris’ falls to 15-31-3.

Show opener featured unbeaten Tamuka Muchapondwa from Reading via Harare, Zimbabwe and Swansea man Matthew Ashmole in a contest over four rounds at light-middleweight. Ashmole put in a good effort but Muchapondwa controlled the tempo of the fight and chose his shots well. The contest was fought at a slow pace though Muchapondwa showed good hand speed and variety in the final two rounds including effective uppercuts.

Referee Clarke Joslyn scored the fight 40-36 to Muchapondwa. Muchapondwa’s record improves to 3-0 while Ashmole’s falls to 0-7.

Image courtesy of Ciaran Gibbons