Iain Dolan at Ringside

The Queensberry show on Friday night served up a York Hall classic. The main event always looked as though it had the makings of a good fight for the British Middleweight title but Denzel Bentley and Marcus Morrison decided to forgo any feeling out or downloading of data and went straight into Hagler v Hearns mode from the first bell. Morrison landed cleaner in the 1st and wobbled Bentley a couple of times. Bentley started landing some big shots himself in the 2nd and 3rd although Morrison was always firing back, Bentley was getting on top. Bentley poured it on again in the 4th and with Morrison bloodied and not throwing back for a few seconds, the referee stepped in. Morrison objected but it looked a fair enough stoppage to me. Great fight, toe to toe for as long as it lasted and had the York Hall crowd on its feet throughout.

Chief support was Ellis Zorro v Dec Spelman over eight rounds at Cruiserweight. Prospect Zorro was looking for his 14th win against the naturally smaller Spelman and all seemed to be going according to plan when he dropped Spelman hard in the 4th round. However, Dec Spelman is a ridiculously hard man so he got up and went tearing into Zorro much to the delight of the crowd. The 7th round was a frantic hook fest shoot out and the only surprise was that nobody hit the canvas. The 8th round was slightly saner and both fighters will have been relieved to hear the final bell after a superb effort. Zorro got the nod 77-74 and moves on to new challenges. I don’t think Spelman will struggle for offers either as he always gives it everything.

Local lad Khalid “The Bengal Tiger” Ali had a relatively comfortable night besting Dario Borosa over 6 rounds at welterweight earning a 60-54 score. Ali had sold quite a few tickets and being from Brick Lane could become a bit of a local hero if he continues to win.

The wheels fell off for another prospect in the shape of super featherweight Frank Arnold. The 12-30 Brayan Mairena didn’t look like much of a problem on paper but turned out to be a nightmare in real life. He teed off on Arnold from the off and dropped him in the 3rd with a big right hand. It would probably have been wise for the ref to call a halt then but it’s the norm for prospects to be given every opportunity to recover and turn the tide. That turned out to be a bad move in this instance as in the 4th another huge right hand stretched Arnold on the canvas for a worryingly long time and it was a great relief to everybody when he rose and left the ring under his own steam a few minutes later.

The scare with Frank Arnold notwithstanding Friday night’s card was the best of York Hall and I was buzzing all the way home. It is unusual to see A listers there for Friday night shows but legendary American writer Thomas Hauser was there. He’s seen a lot but I hope he enjoyed the unique York Hall experience as much as I did. It was probably only three quarters full but with ticket sellers Ali, Zorro and Bentley on the card coupled with the slugfests in the top two fights, the atmosphere was superb and I was on the tube home with cans in hand by 11:05pm. More of this please.

Preprandials were a couple of pints of Bear Island at the Samuel Pepys in The City overlooking the river. Nice pub with great views and prices not outrageous considering the location. Friday is a good night to go for a pint in the square mile as most people seem to work from home then. Thursday nights is standing room only outside most pubs never mind inside, but Fridays you can get a seat. Increasingly important for my aging carcass.

York Hall Sept 16th 2022