A full house of raucous punters witnessed a highly entertaining night of glovework, bloodied noses and black eyes at legendary boxing venue York Hall on Saturday night. "It's Personal" featured several exciting debuts, a series of quality undercard matches and two starkly contrasting title fights rounding out the evening in front of a sold out crowd.
All of our favourite boxing cliches were in attendance: the tux-clad announcer, entourages, shady looking characters, glamorous blondes ringside and scantily dressed round card girls as eight undercard bouts took place in front of a hooting and parochial audience. Light Welterweight Phil Gill (yes, really) accounted comfortably for Damien Turner, Michael "The Zambezi Hitman" Norgrove was magnanimous in victory over Watford's Iain Eldridge, and clear crowd favourite Eric "The Eagle" Ochieng knocked down Alex Spitko in the fourth round of their epic match.
Not all of the action was high-octane, however, with the somewhat underwhelming fight between Essex lad Tony Conquest and Hastings Rasani almost descending into a farcical 6 rounds of peekaboo from behind boxing gloves. Neither of the fighters were willing to fully commit themselves for the majority of the match.
The now restless audience was thankfully repaid with a quality title fight between Pat McAleese and Lee Noble for the British Masters Light Middleweight belt. An epic slugfest between the two highly-entertaining boxers saw the bout see-saw for several rounds, before a noticeably tiring McAleese was felled by Noble with a brutal uppercut in the ninth. Out cold, McAleese was immediately swarmed by medical officials and close family as Noble taunted the McAleese supporters, not realising his opponent was still unconscious. McAleese eventually made it back to his feet, and showed a great deal of sportsmanship in congratulating Noble on the win.
The highly-anticipated bout between Ryan "Mr Attitude" Barrett and Mark "The Flash" Alexander was, in stark contrast, over as quickly as it began. The build up to the International Masters Light Weight Title had been marked by a war of words between the contenders over a period of several months, yet within 30 seconds of the first round commencing, Barrett had floored his opponent with a withering series of blows. Seizing his chance, Barrett then flattened Alexander twice more and claimed the title belt just one minute and 36 seconds into the bout. "Mr Attitude" aptly sums up the type of fighter Barrett can be, as he gesticulated rather crudely to the crowd to communicate how he felt about his victory.
The skills on display for the majority of bouts was excellent, and overall it was a highly entertaining evening, with the occasional gripe. What can only be described as "extremely colourful" language was being thrown around a little too easily by some patrons, whilst the last minute-withdrawal of the highly publicised bout involving female boxer Marianne Marston was disappointing. However, Goodwin Promotions "Judgement Day" (4th December 2010) will be definitely worth checking out for the boxing-curious and enthusiasts alike.
By Ryan Hutchinson
View the full Flickr set here. All photography by Katie McKenzie and Ryan Hutchinson.
Read our review of White Collar Boxing.