Kelvin Hall Undercard Round-Up

IN addition to the main event action at Kelvin Hall on Friday, there were seven other Scottish showcase bouts on the undercard.

The televised opener featured Edinburgh’s GARY MCMILLAN (15-3-1) facing Halesowen journeyman KEVIN MCCAULEY (10-38-3) in a six round welterweight contest. The fight was a cagey and scrappy affair from the start with not much action and a lot of clinching. However, McMillan was the aggressor of the two, leading McCauley in with the jab.

This continued in the second where McMillan was thrown to the ground by McCauley much to the annoyance of the crowd. McMillan then began to turn on the style and knocked down McCauley. The 25-year-old then began to pick apart McCauley with effective flurries and a sweet left hook.

The work rate of both fighters began to drop but McMillan was still in control and a succession of combinations late in the fourth round troubled McCauley who was saved by the bell.

McMillan managed to see out the fight comfortably landing flush with body shots and combinations to win 60-53 on points.

Unbeaten super featherweight starlet MICHAEL ROBERTS (8-0) faced a tough test in the form of late sub CRAIG JOHNSON (. 25-year-old Roberts from Glasgow went to work straight away landing well with a sharp jab and clean body shots.

However, Johnson began to settle into the fight and fired back with solid shots of his own. The 31-year-old Englishman then suffered a deep cut as a result of an accidental headbutt and found himself on the receiving end. Despite the cut, Johnson did well to recover but Roberts was still in complete control and referee Victor Loughlin scored the bout 39-37 in favour of Roberts.

2010 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist STEPHEN SIMMONS (5-0) continued his progress up the cruiserweight division with a comfortable win over Latvian JEVGENIJS ANDREJEVS (6-57). It was a slow and cagey fight that did not set the heather alight.

However it was nevertheless an easy night for Simmons who dominated Andrejevs with a strong jab and good body shots. It could well have been a mismatch and Simmons had all the power at his disposal to finish Andrejevs immediately but he played it safe and won 60-54 on the scorecards.

Scottish-Filipino sensation JOHN THAIN (7-0) also remained undefeated but he was forced to work hard against tricky journeyman TONY RANDELL (12-27-2). The 24-year-old from Edinburgh proved to be the slicker of the two, applying good pressure with effective combinations and lightning-quick movement.

Randell pushed Thain on the back foot on several occasions but Thain kept his guard tight, wobbing and weaving forcing Randell to swing and miss. Thain’s excellent fundamental skills proved vital as he used crisp hooks and solid body work to win the contest 59-55 on points.

Other results on the undercard:

Ryan Collins (2-0) def. Dan Naylor (1-11)

Hugh Gray (debut) def. Billy Smith (13-117-2)

Sammy Hill (4-0) def. Mark McKray (2-12-1)

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Simpson And Appleby Steal The Show In Kelvin Hall Spectacular

IT may be a cliché but the long-awaited rematch between JOHN SIMPSON and PAUL APPLEBY could well be a Fight Of The Year candidate.

In the rematch, Simpson avenged his previous loss to Appleby with an emphatic sixth round stoppage in a fight that blew the roof off the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow on Friday night.

The 28-year-old Simpson was stepping into the ring knowing he had to make a statement having lost both of his 2011 fights to Stephen Smith and Lee Selby. However, Simpson has gained a reputation for pulling it off when it matters most, bouncing back after losses to the likes of Dazzo Williams, Derry Mathews and Stephen Foster to become British and Commonwealth super featherweight champion.

Both men entered the ring with a dilemma, which was the fact that they are great friends. However, both knew that their prospective futures were at stake and it would be strictly business come fight night.

The bout was shown live on BoxNation and contested for the Celtic title which the 24-year-0ld Appleby won after defeating Stephen Ormond in March. As expected, the fight began at a frenetic pace, both boxers trading blows in the centre of the ring with Simpson keeping a tight shape and utilising the jab to take control.

Simpson then began to land with a great series of combinations that caught Appleby flush. However, the champion battled back well to land a number of hooks to the body.

The second provided even more high-octane action with the two warriors pummeling each other with blistering hooks and uppercuts. Simpson started to let punches go and cornered Appleby but the 24-year-old surge back again. Simpson remained tight,  not allowing Appleby any room to land punches.

Both relentlessly traded shots until the final bell which was met with a standing ovation from the vociferous Glaswegian crowd. The third round was slightly more even, Appleby began to put more pressure on Simpson but the Greenock slugger used his experience to smother Appleby.

Simpson stung Appleby with several hooks and uppercuts which reddened the face of the champion. However, as Simpson threw a punch, so too did Appleby with both men continuing to go toe-to-toe looking to get the better of one another.

Simpson assumed control in the fourth, using a great flurry of stiff hooks and uppercuts to rock Appleby. The former British and Commonwealth champion’s power was proving vital as he began to ease into the fight and set his own pace with Appleby not offering as much in return this round.

However, Appleby again mounted a comeback in the fifth, exposing Simpson’s guard to land a good combination. Simpson was backed onto the ropes but kept a compact guard to block Appleby’s assault and fire back with shots of his own. Simpson hit a beautiful scintillating uppercut to Appleby’s nose that sent blood spurting up into the air. Simpson was then incessant on the attack, naturally trying to expose the bullseye target on the nose of Appleby.

Simpson’s jab was proving fundamental in the sixth round as he used it well to effectively tee up shots. Appleby began to lunge forward with hooks looking to stun his foe and cut Simpson just over the eyelid with an accidental headbutt.

However, Simpson then unleashed with a flurry of shots to floor Appleby. The champion got up after a standing eight-count but it was evident that the end was near, Appleby was on wobbly legs leaning close to the ropes.

Simpson then viciously floored Appleby with a solid right hand that sent Appleby collapsing to the floor, with referee Howard Foster immediately stopping the fight. The paramedics then rushed to the ring to attend to Appleby but the South Queensferry man was not seriously hurt.

Simpson and Appleby then embraced in the centre of the ring, with Appleby gracious in defeating raising Simpson’s hand aloft. This fight was a far cry from the close, cagey first contest in 2008 where it could have went either way on the scorecards.

Both men did not have to prove that they were forces to be reckoned with in the division but any doubters that believed Simpson is just a “nearly man” have now been silenced.

Back With A Bang: Harrison Dominates In Comeback Bout

SCOTT HARRISON made a successful return to the ring with a fourth round stoppage of Hungarian teenager GYORGY MIZSEI JR at the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow.

The 34-year-old’s last fight occurred in 2005 when he successfully defended  his WBO featherweight title against Nedal Hussein.

Harrison’s reign of glory ended when he was stripped of his title, his boxing licence and declared bankrupt after a series of personal issues that culminated with a spell in a Spanish jail.

However despite his near seven-year absence from the ring, Harrison showed no signs of ring rust and was relentless in his quest to make a statement in his long-awaited comeback bout for the vacant International Masters lightweight title.

“The Real McCoy” undoubtedly received the largest reception of the night from the over 1000 strong crowd who rose to their feet to catch a glimpse of the man who used to attract crowds of 8,000-10,000.

This may not have been a major world title fight but at certain points during the fight it felt like a throwback to a bygone era, where Harrison dethroned the likes of Wayne McCullough and Manuel Medina at the Braehead Arena.

Harrison entered in his traditional black hooded gown accompanied by his father and long-time trainer Peter, to a cacophony of noise from the rapturous Glaswegian crowd.

The 18-year-old Mizsei came into the bout undefeated having won all of his first seven professional contests. When comparing the two in the centre of the ring, it appeared that the fight could well have been a serious mismatch.

Mizsei’s wiry frame was a stark contrast to the chiselled physique of the intense Harrison.

Once the opening bell sounded Harrison moved forward straight away, immediately looking to pile the pressure on his sacrificial lamb. However, Mizsei was not hear to act as fodder for Harrison and caught the Scot on his nose through his guard.

Despite this however, Harrison was the aggressor and a late flurry of solid hooks in the dying seconds shook Mizsei. Harrison began to dominate in the second using his tremendous speed and power to overwhelm Mizsei.

Mizsei was clearly struggling to  deal with Harrison’s awesome strength and a stiff body blow sent Mizsei to the floor. Mizsei rose to his feet but it appeared the end was nigh as the Hungarian was forced on the back foot by the animal-like Harrison who knocked down Mizsei for a second time with another body shot.

Harrison’s loyal support roared him on throughout and begged the former world champion to finish Mizsei off and it seemed they got their wish as a flurry of shots sent Mizsei crumpling to the canvas for a third time.

However, Mizsei bravely got up and continued to attempt to fend off Harrison’s incessant attacks. Mizsei managed to make it to the third round but was on the receiving end of Harrison’s blistering combinations.

Mizsei deserved plaudits for hanging on and trying to provide some sort of comeback but it was to no avail as Harrison began to pick the teenager apart with three and four-punch combinations.

Mizsei miraculously survived the round without being knocked on his backside again. It was more of the same from Harrison in the fourth, utilising his frightening power to great effect and repeatedly punishing Mizsei with combinations to the body.

Mizsei was then sent crashing for a fourth time by an overhand right to the head. Mizsei insisted that he was able to continue but referee Victor Laughlin had seen enough and waved Mizsei off.

Harrison leapt to the top of the ropes to thank his supporters and then embraced with his father who may not have thought he would ever see his son victorious in the ring again after several years on a path of self-destruction.

Mizsei earned this reporter’s respect for his efforts, he did not simply lay down for Harrison but attempted to engage in a fight with the former WBO champion but did not earn the same respect from some of the fans.

Speaking to the press who piled into his changing room, Harrison said: “I’m glad to be back. It was a privilege to fight in front of the fans. I want to thank them for coming out to support me,” he said.

“I don’t live in the past, I live in the future and hopefully in the future I can get the world title back.

“According to the papers, I’m at death’s door, I’m going to die early; but throughout my suspension I’ve always kept myself in condition,” he added.

“In the past, I’ve trained to lose weight. This time I trained to build muscle. As the fight went on, I felt I was punching harder.

“My body shots were strong. I’ve been working on that left hook for the past three or four months.

“I just couldn’t wait to get in there after the places I’ve been,” he said.

“To get back in there doing your job again, fighting in front of those fans and making money for your family, it’s brilliant.

“I want to box for money. I’ve wasted a lot but you live and learn. I’m looking forward to this last chapter in my career.”