Walsall’s James Beech jr claimed the IBO vacant Featherweight Continental title in a sensational battle against unbeaten Raza Hamza. The fight was top of the bill of a Lee Eaton Promotion at the Sports Connexion Coventry (16,12,22). Hamza from Birmingham was unbeaten in 18 fights winning 17 with one draw, Beech jr who was coming off a defeat to Dennis McCann for the WBC International Silver Featherweight title came in with a record of 14 wins and 3 defeats. The contest was over 10 three-minute rounds, refereeing on the night was Howard Foster.
Beech jr never took a step back from the first bell and applied pressure to Hamza who was boxing well on the back foot. Beech was cut over the left eye in the second but his corner dealt with it and it wasn’t a problem. As Beech pressed with punches in bunches Hamza countered well and you could not really split them with every round being close. At the end of a great ten-round contest, both fighters raised their hands and thought they had won.
When the judges score cards were announced they came to a unanimous decision with Steve Grey having 96 to 95, Terry O’Connor scored it 98 to 93, and Bob Williams had it 96 to 94 all in favor of James Beech Jr. Myself I had it 96 to 95 Beech jr. I had it 96 to 95 Beech.
First of all, I got to say what a great fight, both boxers showed the talent in Birmingham and the Black Country as they fought for this title. This was a pick um fight and it was what you liked, Beech jr cane forward threw out the fight but Hamra boxed well on the back foot and got some of the clearer shots off. I had Beech jr just edging it as if you are going to boxes on the back foot you have to make them miss and make them pay, but Beech landed a lot of his shots and just nicked it.
I think Beech jr really needed this win to add another title to his CV after losing 3 title fights for 2 WBC titles and also the British and Commonwealth super-bantamweight titles. I have championed Beech jr since his first fight and am chuffed that he is back to winning ways and will now get an IBO ranking. I do think that a rematch against Harrza is needed as it was a close contest but I do look forward to seeing Beech jr fighting for bigger titles soon.