By Iain Dolan at Ringside.
Ionut Baluta earned a hard fought, upset victory over Brad Foster at Super Bantamweight at York Hall on Friday night. It was a scrappy affair as the two fighters’ styles never really looked like gelling – while there was plenty of ambition from both men, almost every exchange seeming to result in holding or a headlock. Foster edged the early rounds and his supporters, including a vociferous Sunny Edwards were making themselves heard. Baluta edged back into the fight in the mid-rounds as some of the big swinging hooks he’d been missing with previously started to land, which encouraged his own fans – and there were quite a few – to find their voices. However, Baluta’s fans had reason to be the noisier in the later rounds as he continued to enjoy, just, the better of the exchanges that managed to break out between all the holding. It was a close fight but I felt Baluta had done enough down the stretch and the judges agreed, handing in cards of 98-94, 97-93, 97-93. Perhaps a bit generous to Baluta, but the right guy won.
Also at Super Bantam, Andrew Cain needed only two minutes and two seconds to beat Luis Moreno. A big right uppercut dropped Moreno, who regained his feet, but a snappy right hook shortly afterwards floored Moreno again and this time he failed to rise in time. Both Super bantam fights had some conference league WBC strap attached so presumably we should get Baluta v Cain in due course – which should be a good fight.
Queensberry took their time finding a female fighter to get behind but they seem to have found a very good one. Raven Chapman also needed only a round to dispatch the usually durable Gabriella Mezei in a fight scheduled for six twos. Chapman trapped Mezei in the corner and two painful body shots followed by a right hook to the head buckled Mezei to her haunches leaving her in too much pain to beat the count. I spoke to Raven afterwards and she was definitely keen to meet the winner of Saturday’s European Featherweight title fight. Coach Stuart Scott has loftier ambitions, claiming emphatically that Raven can be a world Champion by the middle of 2023 and citing the splintered belts vacated by Serrano. With highlight reel stoppages like this one, Chapman will surely be fighting higher up the Queensberry cards soon and getting more TV exposure.
Brothers Charles and Joshua Frankham both recorded points victories over Sandeep Singh Bhatti and Naeem Ali respectively at Super feather and Welter. 60-53 for Charles and 40-36 for Joshua made for a good night’s work for the latest members of the Frankham family to box professionally.
An early start at York Hall made it impossible to visit a local pub for a post-covid review. But fortune smiled and I did manage to make it to Ye Olde Watling on Watling St near St Paul’s at lunchtime, only three stops from Bethnal Green (I hadn’t intended to, I just went for a walk – honest – but it looked like rain and I was stranded nearly two hundred yards from the office.) As you can probably guess, it’s an old school, traditional pub which has a lovely view of St Pauls and some narrow London streets if you step outside. The only downside are the prices such as £6.20 for a Camden Pale – but that’s par for the course in the City of London I’m afraid.