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  • Writer's pictureDexter Hastings

TOP Boxer Tournament When Cinderella man turns into the 0-Taker

Tommy Owens Promotions held their new style Prize-fighter welterweight tournament at Planet ice Solihull (18.2.23) with a sensational Cinderella Man ending.

33-year-old southpaw Kirk Stevens was a late replacement for one of the eight unbeaten fighters in the tournament who had to pull out and was expected to go out in the first round. Stevens from Telford who had only won one fight out of his four contests came to the event with a £2 gum shield, no Vaseline, no hand tape, and in everyone’s eyes no chance of winning, but Stevens had not read the scripted. Stevens managed to battle through a two-split decision in the quarter and semi final and then leave it all in the ring winning the final by unanimous points decision. Stevens took the trophy and the lion's share of the £20,000 prize money and went from the Cinderella man to the 0-Taker by beating 3 unbeaten fighters in one night. This was truly an amazing achievement and will propel this tough hard-working fighter into bigger contests and may even earn him a title shot.

The show consisted of the eight-round prizefighter tournament, with there also being two six-round contests with Saqib Khan and Nyall Berry in the home corner and a four-rounder with Kronks gym unbeaten fighter Dylan Norman in the home corner. Reffing on the night you had Chris Dean, Ron Keaney, Lee Every, and Ryan Churchill. Ring girls on the night where Aaliyah and Sophie from CP Agency.

Below is the reports from all the tournament fights.

Kicking off the event was a 6 three-minute rounds Middleweight contest with unbeaten 25-year-old Saqib Khan taking on 35-year-old southpaw Justin Menzie. Khan weighed in 11 stone 1 with Menzie coming in 10 stone 13 with Chris Dean reffing.

A convincing points victory for Khan as he controlled every round with good jabs and a nice backhand, Khan let his hands go in the fifth and got some great combinations off with ref Chris Dean taking a point off Menzie for holding. Khan continued his good work in the sixth and won the fight 60 to 53 on the refs' scorecard, I had it the same.

Next up was the first quarter-final of the tournament with D&A gym unbeaten fighter Jagdeep Purewell taking on Southpaw Taylor Greig in a three, three-minute round contest. Purewell weighed in 10 stone 8 with Greig coming in the same.

Cagey start by both fighters with Purewell getting the first good backhand off, Greig came back with some good shots of his own, even round. Some great backhand from Greig at the start of the second which put Purewell on the retreat, Purewell tried to come back but didn’t really connect with any quality shots. Greig got some cracking shots off in the third with Purewell not really landing any quality shots.

All three judges Chris Dean, Lee Every, and Ron Keaney scored it 30 to 27 Greig, I had it 30 to 28 Greig.

Greig moves on to the semi-finals.

The next quarter-final saw 28-year-old Brett Egan from Birmingham taking on 27-year-old Connor Meanwell from Newark Nottingham. Both fighters weighed in 10 stone 8 with Lee Every reffing.

Cracking start to the fight with some great exchanges with neither of the fighters taking a step back but I had Egan just edging it. Both fighters landed good shots in the second but as the round went on Egan took control, Meanwell still got some good shots in but Egan won the round. Egan picked his shots well in the final round and just moved around the ring as Meanwell tried to get on the inside, Egan won the round with great movement and shot selection.

The judges had it unanimous with Chris Dean and Mark Bates having it 29 to 28 and Ron Kearney having it 30 to 27 to Egan, I had it 30 to 27 Egan.

Egan moves on to the Semifinals.

Next quarter-final we saw 22-year-old southpaw Danny Costello from Nuneaton taking on 30-year-old Tommy Loach from West Bromwich. Both fighters weighed in 10 stone 9 with Chris Dean reffing.

Good start by both fighters with both getting good shots off, a back-and-forth round but Costello won it with the cleaner shots. Great second round of boxing by Costello who was catching Loach with his Southpaw backhand at will, Loach pressed and got some good shots off but Costello won the round. Loach came out in the final round and tried to put it on Costello, Costello returned fire but Loach continued to press. Costello just nicked this round with the cleaner shots.

All three judges, Mark Bates, Lee Every, and Ron Kearney had it 30 to 27 to Costello, I had it the same

Costello moves to the semi-finals.

In the final quarter-final, we had 29-year-old Don Itutu from Derby taking on 33-year-old southpaw Kirk Stevens from Telford, Itutu weighed in 10 stone 9 with Stevens coming in 10 stone 6 with Ron Kearney reffing.

Very scrappy first round with lots of holding and punches missing, but nothing in it. The second started off scrappy but Stevens got some nice jabs off and some good backhands to win the round. Itutu let his right hand go a lot in the final round but it was just falling short every time, Stevens boxed clever using his jab and worked the body to win the round.

Chris Dean and Lee Every scored it 29 to 28 Stevens with Mark Bates scoring it 29 to 28 Itutu, I had it 30 to 28 Stevens.

Stevens moves to the semi finals on a split decision.

The next fight was a break from the TOP Boxer Tournament and was a four-round super lightweight contest between Kronk gyms 22-year-old Dylan Norman from Knowle taking on veteran Journeyman 36-year-old Liam Richards, Chris Dean Referee for this contest.

Great jabbing and shot selection from Norman who controlled the first round with great movement and skill. Norman picked his shots well again in the second and was working the head and body, great combinations very fast pace. Norman stepped it up even more in the third smashing in great shots, Richards had to cover up and use all his journeyman skills to see the round out. Richards had a go in the final round as he pressed to get close, when Norman got his distance, he continued his good work banging in some cracking combinations to win the round and the fight.

Ref Chris Dean scored it 40 to 36 I had it the same.

We now move on to the first semi-final of the TOP Boxer Tournament with Taylor Greig taking on Brett Egan, reffing this fight you had Mark Bates.

Egan was the aggressor at the start of the contest but without really catching Greig. The first real shot of the fight was a sweet southpaw backhand by Greig which shook Egan to his boots. Egan touched down and was counted, he was allowed to continue and seemed to have recovered when Greig caught him with a cracking combination putting him down again, Egan got to his feet but the ref waved the fight off.

Greig wins 1st round TKO

Greig moves on to the final

The second semi-final was to be contested by Danny Costello who was taking on Kirk Stevens with Lee Every reffing.

The first big shot of the fight was landed by Stevens putting in a lovely right hand to Costello’s head, Costello came back with a flurry of shots and battled hard to edge the first round. Costello started the second fast and got some good combinations off, Stevens came back but Costello won another close round. The third was another close one with both fighters leaving it all in the ring, great round with Stevens just edging it.

Judge Chris Dean scored it 29 to 28 Costello and Mark Bates and Ron Kearney scored it 29 to 28 Stevens

Stevens wins on a split decision

Stevens goes to final

We then move away from the tournament to have a 6-round contest with unbeaten 23-year-old Nyall Berry from Birmingham taking on 29-year-old Sandeep Singh Bhatti, reffing this contest we had Ryan Churchill.

Bhatti was very game but Berry was relentless, persistent, and hurtful with fast combinations to his body and head, how he lasted the first round is a credit to Bhakti.

Bhatti’s corner called the fight over at the end of the first round as Bhatti had damage to his arm and could not continue.

Berry wins by TKO

Now we get to the final which was between Taylor Greig and Kirk Stevens reffing this show you had Ron Kearney.

Greig used his jab well as he moved around the ring as Stevens struggled to get close, Greig won the round. Stevens went on the hunt in the second and pinned Greig to the ropes banging in shots to the body, Greig covered up well but it was Stevens's round. Stevens came out firing in the final round as Greig danced away, Stevens had joy as Greig looked for one shit stoppage that never came, messy round but Stevens won it convincingly.

The judges called it unanimous with Mark Bates, Chris Dean, and Lee Every scoring it 29 to 28 Stevens. I Had it the same.

Kirk Stevens the First TOP Boxer welterweight champ.

Dexter's Thoughts

Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! First I'd just like to say thank you to Tommy Owens and Jon Pegg for putting on such a great show, I have been to quite a few over the year and this one was up there, especially for a so-called small hall event.

There were some great fights tonight but every fighter who stepped in the ring win or lose should get respect got putting these 0's on the line. But the lad that stood out and defied the odds having only taken the invitation at short notice and being the lightest fighter in the tournament is the winner Kirk Stevens. He turn up at the Ice Palace with his £2 gumshield no bandages, no grease, and in everybody's mind no hope, he was just there to make the numbers up, But he road his lucky battled and left everything in the ring and has earned himself a nice £8,000 prize money and the colloids of winning a tournament like this. It was a true Cinderella man story and with that, he had added 3 wins to his record with all four of his wins coming against unbeaten fighters. Could we have a new 0-taker? All I have to say is congratulations to Kirk and I look forward to seeing him fight again.


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