Fight Report: Sensational Marston Reigns Victorious, Ozgul and Counihan Impress at York Hall
Report and Photos Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro
Dave Murphy and the Acourtier Events crew returned to York Hall on Saturday night with their latest offering, ‘Capital Punishment’, which was headlined by the MBC International Super Bantamweight Championship clash between London’s Marianne Marston and Hungary’s Marianna Gulyas.
As ever Mr Murphy put together an evenly matched card, first up debuting Cruiserweight Jerome Haywood faced Rolandas Cesna.
After a slightly nervous start Haywood settled down and took the fight to his more experienced opponent, pressuring the big Lithuanian with stiff jabs and heavy rights to the body.
Haywood’s work to the body began to take a toll on Cesna, so much so that by mid way through the third Cesna was clearly struggling to cope with the constant punishment to his ribs, however he did overcomes to see the bout through to the final conclusion.
After four excellent rounds Referee Alf Sprung scored the bout 40-38 in favour of Haywood.
The second bout featured the hugely popular Nathan ‘Nightmare’ Decastro, who was making his third pro outing against a very tough opponent, Deividas Sajauka.
From the off it was clear Decastro wanted to add another stoppage victory to his record, charging in throwing big right hands at every opportunity, however it soon became clear that the tough Lithuanian was more than up for the scrap.
What followed was a virtually non stop toe-to-to battle royale, with both protagonists giving their all for every second of every round much to the delight of the York Hall crowd.
After four scintillating rounds referee Lee Murtagh scored the bout 40-37 in favour of Decastro
Third bout of the night featured sensational former Amateur star Antonio Counihan in his first six rounder, against Janos Vass.
Counihan’s class shined through bright as the Solihull youngster went to work, easily controlling Vass with stiff jabs and amazingly quick double handed flurries.
Counihan stepped up the pressure in the third, going full out on his attacks that Vass just couldn’t counter, instead he relied on covering up in an attempt to get through the round, which turned out to be a bad move as Counihan kept punishing him with vicious body shots, so much so that by midway through the round the Vass’ corner threw in the towel.
Next up see the return of Mark ‘The Flash’ Alexander, who had been training and fighting over in America for the past four years or so. On Saturday night Alexander faced Tadas Stulginskas in a four rounder.
Boxing beautifully behind the jab, Alexander more or less controlled the first couple of rounds, as Stulginskas seemed content to play the waiting game, countering only when he felt he could land the punch.
Alexander stepped up the pace in the third, firing a succession of solid rights into the body of Stulginskas, which soon began to really trouble the Lithuanian, so much so that his corner threw in the towel with just seconds remaining of the third.
It was announced that Stulginskas retired due to an injury to his knee.
Fifth bout of the night see London based Turk Siar Ozgul in action against Nottingham’s Matt Scriven.
What a fight, without doubt the fight of the night, as both protagonists went to war.
Ozgul came out hard and strong, initially putting the Nottingham man on the back foot, however Scriven soon started to exert his authority and then the fireworks really began.
By the third round the non stop action started to take it’s toll on the Turkish youngster, which allowed Scriven to land some sensational power shots of his own.
The final round was a cracker, Ozgul backed Scriven into a corner and let rip with massive right hands, one of which sent Scriven’s mouth guard flying into the crowd ringside.
Once the errant mouth guard was retrieved and the bout restarted it was Scriven who went hard on the attack, one such attack late on in the round see Scriven land a massive right that shook Ozgul to the core, Ozgul sensibly went on the defensive for the remaining seconds to see his way to securing his fifth win.
Referee Lee Murtagh scored the bout 39-37 in favour of Ozgul, the correct verdict without doubt, but one that really doesn’t express how great this fight was or how close each and every round was.
Now to the main event, Marianne ‘Golden Girl’ Marston versus Marianna Gulyas, for the vacant MBC International Super Bantamweight Championship.
Gulyas came into the bout as bookies favourite, due to her ranking – #3 in Europe and #31 in the World – being superior to Marston’s #8 in Europe and #58 in the world, however it transpires that the bookies couldn’t have got it more wrong if they tried.
Marston came out strong right from the off, utilizing her strong right hand jab to great effect, forcing Gulyas to go defensive and grab hold of the Londoner at every opportunity, a pattern that repeated itself throughout the bout.
More of the same in the second, then in the final second of the round Marston threw a sharp left to the jaw, that sent Gulyas to sprawling to the canvas, however much to the surprise of Marston, her team and the York Hall faithful, it didn’t count as Referee Alf Sprung deemed it a slip!
Round three Marston continued to plain outbox the Hungarian, as well as landing some short sharp body shots, one of which appeared to send Gulyas to the deck once more, however this time the referee dismissed it as a push.
Round four Marston controls the centre ground, picking off Gulyas with some cracking shots to head and body, the Hungarian barely able to respond to the constant onslaught.
Marston had really settled into her pace coming into round five, seemingly content to bide her time and just throw supremely accurate jabs shots, again Gulyas was sent to the deck by a lazy looping left to the head, which the referee again deemed as a push.
Once Gulyas was back on her feet Marston went on the attack once again and as if to make a point to the referee emphatically sent Gulyas to the deck for the fourth time – the moves that lead to this were sublime, after shooting a cracking left to the body Marston stepped in threw a big left straight into the Hungarian’s face before shooting three sharp lefts to the head.
In the sixth Gulyas attempted to take control of the centre of the ring, however Marston was having none of it, using her strong jab to great effect and normal service resumed.
Midway through the seventh Marston went on a heavy attack, landing a few real peaches of shots, that sent Gulyas reeling across the ring, the savvy Hungarian’s survival instincts clearly clicked in as she grabbed hold of Marston to prevent any further punches raining down on her.
After being separated by the referee Marston backs Gulyas to the ropes with a succession of short rights to the jaw, that once again sent the Hungarian to the canvas, however as Marston was leaning into Gulyas as the final punch was thrown again the referee deemed this to be a push.
As if to once again make a point to the referee Marston went on a full out double handed attack which Gulyas only survived by grabbing and holding the Londoner, what then ensued was more akin to wrestling as Marston tried to make enough space to let rip with some big lefts again.
The action was frenetic, once the referee split them Marston went hard on the attack and in an almost identical move to the one earlier in the round, Marston once again sent Guyas to the canvas, which as before was deemed to be a push by the referee.
Marston was clearly miffed, as on the restart she threw a big left, Gulyas’ legs wobbled and the Hungarian girl grabbed Marston by the waist and another wrestling style interlude ensued, again after the referee separated them Marston went full throttle, backing Gulyas onto the ropes before throwing a right to the body followed by a cracking hook to the head to send he Hungarian girl back to the deck for the third time in the round, this time the count was made.
On the restart Marston went in hard once more, landing three hooks to the head, once again the move was thwarted as Gulyas grabbed hold for dear life.
Marston started the eighth strong, literally chasing Gulyas across the ring throwing supremely accurate big lefts and rights, that sent an unsteady legged Gulyas backwards, then Marston closed in for the kill a tad to enthusiastically she sends Gulyas off balance and to the deck once more, which was rightly deemed a push.
Marston went straight back on the attack, only to be thwarted by constant holding from the Hungarian each time she started to get close, what followed next was downright scary for all ringside, Marston lands a big right, followed by a huge left that shot Gulyas’ head back and heading to the deck, the Hungarian girl grabbed hold of Marston, pulling her over with her, sending Marston over the first rope and onto the officials table face first.
There was a huge sigh of relief as both girls got to their feet, followed by a round of applause from the crowd. At the restart Marston once again began to throw big lefts and rights that shook Guyas, however she didn’t have to survive this onslaught for more than a few seconds before the bell rang.
Once again Gulyas tried to control centre ring in the ninth, as before Marston was unwilling to concede any ground what so ever and let rip with big shots to body and head, to which Gulyas responded with more holding,
About forty seconds into the bout Gulyas took a right to the head and as Marston moved in she bumps into the unsteady Gulyas, who goes down once more, which was rightly waved off.
Gulyas comes out all fighty for the tenth and final round, which led to a rather entertaining toe-to-toe battle that lasted about fifteen seconds or so before Marston steps it up another level again, Gulyas responds by grabbing hold to ensure she makes the final bell.
After ten highly entertaining rounds the judges scorecards were read out – Judges Ben Doughty (UK) and Matt Hamilton (South Africa) scored the bout 100-89 and Judge Lee Murtagh (UK) scored it 99-88, all in favour of Marianne Marston, the new MBC International Super Bantamweight Champion.
The BoxFit sponsored MBC International Championship belt was presented by Championship bout sponsor Baz Rehman and Melissa Lewars from Marianne’s sponsor JT Clarke London.
The final bout of the night featured Onder Ozgul against late replacement Remigijus Ziausys, following Matthew Pepper having to pull out following his father being hospitalized with a serious illness just days prior.
Onder, the older brother of Siar who fought earlier in the evening, started aggressively, initially forcing Ziausys on to the back foot, as I say initially as the plucky Lithuanian was more than happy to go toe to toe when required.
It was a cracking fight that had the crowd on their feet for almost the whole four rounds, yes it was that good.
At the end referee Lee Murtagh scored the bout as a shut out 40-36 for Ozgul, which again was the right decision, but as with Siar Ozgul-Matt Scriven doesn’t tell the whole story – it was a great, closely fought bout.
Once again Dave Murphy and his crew delivered the goods as promised, it was a fantastic night of pugilistic action, without doubt one of the best small hall shows this year, I for one can’t wait for the next.