Pisces and Leonis in Fellowship of the Ring

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Although Pisces’ James Manners lost his top-of-the-bill bout against the excellent John Kelly, the westerners had already secured the team win with victories from Joe Muscat, Taren Hase and Leonis guests Ryan Powell and Dave Kennedy.

As Jersey crowds have come to expect from Manners’ bouts the final contest was full of honest endeavour, bravery and a liberal splattering of blood from the Island lad’s nose.

Never scared of coming forward Manners found Kelly a tough opponent and a combination just before the end of the first gave him ample warning of the Londoner’s power.

A standing eight count against Manners, much to his annoyance and frustration, had helped leave him trailing and it was not until the third and final installment that the battling welterweight began to gain the upper hand.

But by then Kelly had landed regular heavy blows of his own, making it no surprise when the unamious verdict went his way.

Welterweight Danny Kennedy had secured the team victory with a unanimous points victory over Ross Whiting, though he did not look quite as sharp as he has done of late.

A heavy programme of ABA and dinner boxing, plus a good performance from the Londoner, kept the fireworks to a minimum, but with the animated Eddie Stuart in his corner Kennedy kept focused enough through his four rounds to get the nod from a close contest.

Pisces’ rising star Joe Muscat had given his club a 3-2 lead with a clear points win, in three rounds, over the gangling, awkward welterweight Steve Walters.

Walters was twice deducted a point for his persistent and often desperate holding and failure to break when ordered to do so by referee Michael Sullivan; but it was debatable if he had any points to deduct from, as Muscat was clearly several classes above him.

The tall 17-year-old Victoria College lad, who forced a standing eight count, must have been frustrated with his lack of chances to finish the bout early, but he is clearly a good prospect for head coach Brian Rousseau.

Ryan Powell won his four-round encounter with Sam Marson to pull Pisces level at 2-2 just after the interval, the well-matched lightweights having put on a good show of measured, thoughtful boxing.

Powell’s right hand gradually found the head of Marson and a strong final round from the well-balanced boxer ensured a unanimous points decision.

The first half of the programme featured three lads making their Pisces’ ring debuts and they experienced mixed fortunes.

Opening the evening in front of a good crowd of around 160, schoolboy Taren Hase was clearly pumped up for the occasion, much more so than his much taller opponent Ben Cannon, who never seemed to cope with the Les Quennevais featherweight’s incessant aggressive advances.

The poorly balanced Cannon was soon on the canvas and by the end of the first round had had two standing eight counts against him.

Hase, who will need to keep his exuberance in check to keep on the right side of highly respected coach Brian Rousseau, ended the contest in the second when he knocked Cannon to the floor after the Londoner had been held up in the ropes.

A lengthy delay while medical officer Dr Carl Clinton attended to the boxer had a happy conclusion and it was wonderful to see the genuine warmth that the Pisces coach showered on the exhausted-looking visitor.

Hase is certainly a good raw prospect and under the tutelage of Rousseau could become a crowd favourite.

Welterweight David Harrison (21) had a torrid time against Steve Doyle, taking two standing eight counts as the left hooks of the Londoner found their target far too easily.

Harrison’s eagerness to rush forward, often off balance, made him an easy target and referee Brian Follain’s move to stop the contest in the first round was a sensible, if not a popular, decision.

Lightweight Ryan Nichol left it a little too late to get the decision against the composed Shabur Rhaman, but it was an all-action effort.

Rhaman, displaying better footwork, had the better of the first half of the meeting, picking off the well-supported Nichol who displayed a bloodied face for most of the three rounds.

But the longer the bout went on the stronger Nichol got and the more worried Rhaman, now also carrying the marks of battle, looked.

Rhaman got the unanimous decision, but it must have been close, with many of the neutrals thinking the Pisces lad’s powerful finish would have swayed the result.

The evening, mainly sponsored by Zenith Trust Co, also featured two exhibition bouts, both of a good standard, between Leonis’s Tommy Noel and Ross Le Cornu and visitors Tony Kennelly and Mathew Clarke.

Official in charge: Kevin Baudains.

Medical officer: Dr Carl Clinton.

Master of Ceremonies: Michael Stephenson.

The trophies were awarded by Alexander Burnett.

Pisces plan another dinner evening in February.

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