Dinner boxing classic

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And what a night of boxing they put on at the Hotel L’Horizon, winning all but one of their bouts against a strong Southern Counties Select side to lift the James Taylor Trophy.

Witnessing the nine contests with around 250 diners was retired and undefeated WBO middleweight and super-middleweight champion Steve Collins.

Collins led a standing ovation after the last fight of the evening, a tremendous match between Jersey’s Ben Murray and Robin Deakin.

Deakin, who clearly models himself on Prince Naseem Hamed, wound up the crowd with his cocky antics and gestures towards Murray.

But, remaining focused, Leonis ABC man Murray gradually made his opponent pay for his over-confidence.

Deakin’s antics did, however, liven up the Hotel l’Horizon to bursting point, which made for an excellent finale.

The first round saw Deakin trying to draw Murray in and then ducking and diving all around the ring to avoid being hit.

It seemed to be quite effective early on.

But in the second, Murray focused on what he had to do and, after finding-out what his opponent had to offer, launched a series of hard-hitting combinations to almost floor Deakin – much to the delight of the lively crowd.

Again in the third, Murray hit well, with the bell this time saving Deakin from certain defeat.

To his credit, the youngster continued with his show-boating style and did catch Murray with some heavy punches.

By the fourth and final round Deakin’s respect for Murray was becoming apparent, but that did not stop him trying to catch Murray out.

On the final bell, Steve Collins was first to his feet, and he later described the match, which Murray took on a unanimous decision, as one of the best he’s seen.

‘I’ve travelled all over the world to watch title fights,’ Collins told the crowd.

‘But these two lads are class and their fight was better than some of those world title fights.’ Afterwards, Murray – who was also Jersey’s captain for the night – said: ‘I’ve been training really hard for six weeks and was ready for this match.

He (Deakin) was a bit cocky, which a few of the lads noticed before the bout, but I remained focused and didn’t allow myself to be drawn into playing his game.

‘I think the atmosphere is fantastic and it really helps the lads perform.

It’s great to be involved in occasions like these.’ Warming the crowd up for Murray’s bout was Danny Maka against Lee Hillman in the welterweight clash, which would result in Maka being crowned Boxer of the Night.

After an evenly fought opening round, Maka started to work to his strengths, using good combinations on Hillman.

This tired him a little in the second, but he did make sure that his punches weren’t wasted.

Maka’s relentless combinations, which worked Hillman’s body well, knocked the stuffing out of his opponent, whose corner threw in the towel in the third.

Other fights on the bill saw junior lightweight, and great prospect, Tommy Noel use his left jab well to see off the challenge of Ashley Wright in the opening clash.

He took the win with a unanimous vote from the ringside judges.

Jersey’s Jamie Manners would have floored fellow welterweight Bob Wise in the first if it wasn’t for the ropes.

Despite a cut nose in the third for Manners, and with both boxers tiring late on, the unanimous victory went to the Jersey lad, whose opening round performance clinched the decision.

Rubin Legge made it three straight unanimous victories for Jersey by using his speed and light footwork against Ross Payne in their welterweight contest.

The opening round was fairly even but the bout exploded in the second with the Jersey youngster throwing some heavy, and match-winning, punches.

By the end of this battle even the referee’s whites were blood-stained, showing the marks of some serious boxing.

Before the interval, crowd-favourite Pascal Corcoran was intent on throwing big hard punches into the face and body of Ben Gumbrell in their light-welterweight bout.

His tactics of heavy hitting were justified after Gumbrell’s corner threw the towel in midway through the third.

Jersey’s only defeat on the night was experienced by Elliot Kennedy, who lost a majority decision to Steve Ellis.

After a lively opener, which Ellis probably shaded, he started holding, which restricted Kennedy.

But both boxers went for it in frantic style in the final minute of the third.

After a nervous opening round, Danny Kennedy saw off the challenge of Lauren Gavin and was eventually handed a unanimous victory.

Kennedy was easily the more technically gifted of the two and, try as he might, Gavin simply couldn’t get his punches to connect.

The match was still for the taking as both boxers came out for the third and final round, but Kennedy put in a super last minute to secure the favour of the judges.

After the evening, president of the Jersey Dinner Boxing Club Mark Dunlop simply said: ‘It was pure quality on display – what a night for amateur boxing in Jersey.’

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