An intriguing match-up at the Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast, Northern Ireland, took place on Saturday, 5th, of November, on a Boxnation card. Dublin’s Philip Sutcliffe Jnr, 27, took on Swansea’s Chris Jenkins, 28, in a non-title contest, scheduled for ten rounds in the super-lightweight division.
Sutcliffe entered the bout with a reputation as a puncher and promising prospect, who was having his fourth fight of 2016. His opponent brought more experience, as he’d twice competed for the British title and won the ‘Prizefighter’ tournament – though Jenkins had been inactive and this was his first contest of the year and with his first with new trainer, Gary Lockett.
In the opening round, the two met each other head-on and traded some heavy looking blows. It was the Dubliner who made the biggest impact, as a short right-left sent the Welsh boxer down. Sutcliffe then piled on the pressure but Jenkins coped and later in the round, landed his trademark left to the body that more than caught his opponent’s attention. The following round, we were treated to classy combinations from Jenkins, while Sutcliffe still got home with his thudding right hand. The third was a close round, though I thought Jenkins controlled the distance and used a pinpoint jab to great effect. A slight drop in pace in the fourth, with the more eye-catching work from the Irishman – he got off some good thudding punches.
A frantic start to the fifth and some good work by Sutcliffe but Jenkins then started pushing his man back and landing punishing hooks to the body, that had a visible effect and swung the round in the Garnant man’s favour. After five, I had it even on the scorecard.
The sixth was a round where the classy left jab was pinpoint and scoring for Jenkins and he finished the round the stronger. Sutcliffe got through with his own right hands but not often enough.
In the seventh, the Swansea fighter tapped his right boot then landed a straight right hand – never one for lack of confidence. He completely controlled the round, boxing and moving with great accuracy. A very quiet round for Sutcliffe. The eighth was a tough round for both men, Jenkins was hit by right hands but still produced some punishing body-shots, I edged it to Sutcliffe. Both traded hard punches. Sharper work from Jenkins in the ninth, landing more – both men feeling the pace, of what had been a hard-fought contest.
The tenth was a scrappy, rough affair with plenty of holding – understandable, as both men had put on a tremendous show in the previous nine rounds. The boxers took their lumps and kept punching in an even round.
Referee Hugh Russell Jnr, of Belfast, scored it 98-93 for Philip Sutcliffe Jnr and while the contest was tough, close and competitive, I don’t know how he came up with such a wide margin for the Dubliner. I’ve seen comments of “a point either way or a draw” and can understand those opinions. I had it 96-94 for Chris Jenkins.
Sutcliffe showed he can compete at this level and will have learnt a lot from the fight, while for Jenkins it was just good to see him back in the ring. A rematch would be welcomed.
Records: Philip Sutcliffe Jnr is now 12-1, 7 KOs while Chris Jenkins is 16-2-1, 8 KOs.
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