THE grandiose surroundings of the Liverpool Olympia played host to a different kind of drama this Wednesday October 12 when eight super flyweights put on a show in one of the best Prizefighter tournaments ever, with Lee Haskins emerging as the leading man.
Haskins, the current domestic 8st 3lbs champion, proved you can win this tournament as the divisional number one, putting on a domineering performance without dropping a round on my card.
The draw, conducted in the ring by two Merseyside fighting legends Shea Neary and John Conteh, threw up some intriguing quarter final matches, the pick of them being undefeated English bantamweight champion Craig Lyon against local prospect and two time ABA champion Ryan Farrag.
The full Quarter final draw was as follows:
QF 1: Usman Ahmed VS Don Broadhurst
QF 2: Mike Robinson Vs Nathan Reeve
QF 3: Lee Haskins Vs Terry Broadbent
QF 4: Craig Lyon Vs Ryan Farrag
The first Quarter final pitted “The king of the ring walks” Usman Ahmed, against former Commonwealth boss, Don Broadhurst; now back under the tutelage of Anthony Farnell. In a fairly one sided affair “The Don”, looking a little fleshy, had everything his own way stinging Ahmed with some classy looking punches to both head and body. Unable to offer anything for Broadhurst to think about in return the fight became a lost cause for the Ingle trained man, as he failed to match the enthusiasm of his ring walk with action inside it, going down 30-27 twice and 30-28. For the record I scored 30-27 in the favour of Broadhurst from ringside.
Local favourite Mike Robinson, coming off a controversial draw against English flyweight champion Ashley Sexton, faced unbeaten Northampton youngster Nathan Reevein Quarter final number two. Reeve, in the silver trunks with “Thunder” emblazoned across his waistband started brightly as he opened up with some flashy combinations although most were largely blocked on the arms of Robinson. With plenty of vocal support at ringside Robinson was moving into range but his timing seemed slightly off as he missed with his attacks. In an innocuous looking clash of heads Reeve emerged sporting a diagonal, deep cut across the top of his nose that bled porously, spurring the inexperienced youngster into action. The cut was examined but Reeve was allowed to continue into the final round as Robinson began to take control of the fight. Reeve, having expelled a lot of energy early was now on the back foot as he struggled to halt the march of Robinson who pounded the head and body of the 21-year-old. When both men exchanged punches Reeve’s seemed to carry the greater venom but Robinson fired back with punches in bunches as he took the last round easily. Judges Howard Foster and John Keane tallied identical cards, matching mine 29-28 in favour of Robinson and Phil Edwards a rather generous 30-27 for the local man, sending him through to the semi final and a meeting with Don Broadhurst.
In the second half of the draw British champion Lee Haskins, with a sizable and noisy travelling support, outclassed 22-year-old three fight novice Terry Broadbent 30-27 on all three judges’ score cards. The unbeaten youngster from Leeds seemed unfazed by the gulf in experience as he started confidently, setting a good pace as Haskins circled looking to land hard counters. In his familiar hands down style Haskins began to dominate the round, countering the lunging attempts of Broadbent as he eased through the gears. In the second, Broadbent was made to miss as the British champion swayed out of the way of his shots and landed hard left hand counters down the middle. Without looking spectacular Haskins was always one step ahead of the youngster and Broadbent was well beaten at the end although he will be proud of his efforts. All three judges’ agreed, scoring the bout 30-27 in favour of the British champion.
Craig Lyon and Ryan Farrag saved the best until last as they fought each other to a standstill in three of the best rounds you will see in a domestic ring this season. Quarter final number four saw Liverpool prospect Farrag immediately jump on Lyon as he tried to instigate a brawl to the delight of his home support, firing away with both hands as he backed the St Helens man to the ropes. The tattooed Lyon, trained by Oliver Harrison, began to punch back as they traded punch for punch in an exciting opener. As the crowd drew breath they went at it again in the second as Farrag, like a man possessed punished the English champion with a two fisted attack with Lyon responding in kind. The final round was an epic, one of the rounds of the year, as both men landed hurtful punches. The ever so slightly faster hands of Farrag enabled him to get off that split second earlier, beating his man to the punch when they traded. As Lyon began to impose his strength, the 22-year-old Scouser suddenly burst into life with a stunning two fisted assault, with the final left hook dropping Lyon on the seat of his pants. Lyon fought back valiantly but the knockdown had sealed his fate going down 29-28 and 29-27 twice, the latter tallying with my own card. A rematch somewhere down the line would be a mouth watering prospect. With Farrag’s victory the semi final line up was complete seeing Mike Robinson clash with Don Broadhurst and Lee Haskins facing Farrag.
The first semi final saw the well rested Broadhurst edge past a respectful Robinson utilising his boxing skills to good effect. Plain and simple Robinson just didn’t do enough. During the introductions I mentioned to my colleague that Broadhurst would need to up his work rate, as I expected “Robbo” to set a hot pace to force the Brummie to work. Surprisingly, and mentioned by Robinson in his post fight interview with Sky, he showed Broadhurst too much respect in the opener as he chose to trade jabs with the superior technician. The former Commonwealth gold medallist showed improved form and timing as he landed a classy uppercut and picked his punches nicely from range. Urged on by his supporters Robinson began the second round with more intent forcing his opponent to work harder than he wanted, but was countered nicely by the Brummie. Sensing he was behind, the local man upped his work in the final round as he forced Broadhurst to trade. Robinson took the final round on my card but went down via a split decision. Phil Edwards scored the bout 29-28 for “Robbo” but was over ruled by his colleagues Marcus McDonnell and John Keane 29-28 sending Broadhurst into the final.
With an hour’s rest behind him Lee Haskins overcame a spirited challenge from 22-year-old Ryan Farrag to set up a final clash, and a rematch with rival Don Broadhurst.
Haskins, in expectation of a Farrag onslaught circled the ring and picked off the inexperienced youngster with solid lead left hands showing good accuracy and power. A clash of heads saw Farrag suffer a horrible cut just below his hair line, spurting blood in the fashion of a horror film, masking the face of the Scouser in claret. To his credit Farrag didn’t let the cut faze him; he just couldn’t land often enough on the elusive Bristol boy’s club member. In round two a left hook from Haskins scored a knockdown although Farrag was more off balance and not hurt by the punch, but this just helped Haskins move away on the scorecards. In the last round Farrag tried to let his hands go but Haskins elusive style prevented him from doing so, easing to victory by scores of 30-26 and 30-25 twice.
The final encounter in a thrilling night’s action saw Lee Haskins repeat his previous victory over Don Broadhurst in contemptuous fashion. Their first encounter for the British and Commonwealth super flyweight titles in December 2009 was a messy affair as their styles failed to gel, producing little action. The final wasn’t a classic but Haskins showed good lateral movement and punch power, easily slipping the slow punches of a tired looking Broadhurst. The man from the Chris Sanigar stable repeatedly made Broadhurst miss, before in round two, as both men traded right hands the harder shot from Haskins sent Broadhurst crashing heavily to the canvas. Badly hurt on unsteady legs the Brummie shipped a follow up attack from Haskins as he again ended up on the floor. He showed heart and bravery to survive the round but the contest was a lost cause for Broadhurst. The final round saw Haskins skip around the ring punishing the still hurt Broadhurst as he stumbled around the ring, one heavy punch away from victory. Haskins seemed to settle for an easy points win, choosing to pick off his prey with ease as he coasted to an easy win. To underline his dominance of the final, Haskins landed 44 of his 117 punches thrown to 9 landed from 69 thrown for Broadhurst who simply couldn’t pin down the slippery British champion. In his post fight interview with Andy Scott of Sky Sports Haskins underlined his intentions to secure a world title fight next. “I beat anyone they put in front of me, I take any belt up for grabs and I want a world title” said the Prizefighter champion. The bantamweight and super flyweight world champions are perhaps two or three tiers above Haskins but a fight with domestic rival Stuart Hall could be a fight to savour sometime next year.