Friday night saw the return of professional boxing at Elland Road centenary pavilion, writes JAMES ODDY.
In front of a large crowd, former Great Britain amateur Jack Bateson (1-0) made a scintillating debut, stopping opponent Zsolt Sarkozi (6-2-1). Hungarian Sarkozi was far from an easy debut opponent, having lost only once previously, yet Bateson tore into him from the opening bell. Switching from head to body with snap and power, Bateson, boxing on dad Mark’s promotion, stopped Sarkozi 2:29 into the first round.
Fellow Leeds favourite Josh Warrington joined Bateson in the ring following the fight, and it’s easy to envision him reaching similar heights in the future. Bateson is due to box again on the undercard of Warrington’s next fight.
The card also saw two highly entertaining all-Leeds clashes. Mikey Ash (2-0-1) and Sean Hare (2-1-1) battled to an entertaining four round draw. Hare boxed and moved well, yet Ash, sporting a bloodied nose, provided plenty of come forward aggression to keep things level. A rematch, perhaps further down the line, would be greatly appreciated.
The second saw Tommy Broadbent (8-3) pick up a points win over gritty Russ Midgley (1-17-2). Midgley was down in the first round, yet rallied to stay competitive for the full four rounds. Ultimately, however, Broadbent, in a confident and impressive performance, was awarded a 40-35 points win by referee Michael Alexander.
The impressive Hammed Ghaz (11-0) picked up another win in an all action performance against experienced Fonz Alexander (5-62). Ghaz won all six rounds on referee Alexander’s card. Stalemate Billy ‘The kid’ Pickles (4-0) also produced his most complete performance since turning pro, also winning every round against the tough Chris Adway (8-35-4). Pickles picked his shots superbly throughout.
Tom Young (4-0) also looked good in a points win over debuting southpaw MJ Hall. Hall produced some tricky defensive footwork but Youngs regularly tagged him with solid straight shots and was a worthy winner.
Mick Learmouth, a raw-boned cruiserweight from the city, made his debut against Dmitrij Kaliovskij (10-35-3).
Learmouth dealt with the experienced Lithuanian with surprising ease to earn points win.
And looks to be an excellent prospect to join an already exciting scene in the city.