Inaugural boxing matches open dramatic 51st Roses

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After waiting for many years for boxing to become a Roses event, it was perhaps pertinent that the points were shared between Lancaster and York after four bouts of intrigue and excitement. Even an hour before the event, as supporters began entering the arena, it was clear to many that a dramatic evening was in store – as the venue filled, this sense only got more obvious.

The excitement in the York-dominated crowd was palpable as the start of the event neared, with each sighting of a boxer on the big screen being greeted with a roar of approval. After playing the ever popular Roses promotional video, the opening ceremony launched into life, with a number of York’s Dance Society taking to the ring to perform a boxing-themed dance. With the crowd already pumped, the arrival of the MC for the evening sent everyone present into a frenzy. Despite his best attempts, the small pocket of Lancaster supporters in the far corner of the arena could still be heard above the vast wall of noise generated by the Yorkists.

The first Roses fight of the evening took place between Dylan Cheema from Lancaster and Aaron Dougherty from York. With a cocky entrance from Cheema, the immediate question was whether his boxing would live up to such theatrics. After some pushing and shoving from Cheema, Dougherty landed a massive punch which had Cheema reeling, but he powered through into the second round. The second bout remained even until the final seconds, where Cheema engaged and landed blow after blow upon Dougherty, with the York man only being saved by the bell. The third bout belonged to Cheema – one particular left hook resulted in Dougherty being left reeling. However, credit must be given to the York fighter, who held his own and took the fight to the final bell. After a superb fight, Cheema took the victory on a split decision, and Lancaster went 1-0 up on the night.

The next fight saw Farrar of York take on Manev of Lancaster – immediately, the gulf in class was clear. Despite Manev landing a few strong punches, he struggled to cope with the long reach of Farrar. After dominating the first round, Farrar consolidated in the second, primarily by highlighting the weakness in Manev’s defensive game by consistently and powerfully pushing him back against the ropes. But still Manev held firm, and improved considerably into the third round, launching an excellent counter attack upon Farrar. After going the distance, the fight was again decided on a split decision, with Farrar of York deservedly taking the points in this fight.

York’s Aron versus Lancaster’s James began more reservedly than the previous two fights, with both boxers taking the first round to size each other up. The second round brought a thunderous punch from James onto the chin of Aron, who did exceptionally well to ride the blow and stay mobile. The final round proceeded in a similar manner; despite solid boxing from both fighters, neither landed that knockout blow which could have won them the fight. On balance, and according to the press box, James had probably done enough to claim the points for Lancaster. However, the decision that Aron had won was met with gasps in the box, and a cacophony of delight from the thousands of York supporters packed into the arena – going into the final bout, York led 2-1.

The final round pitted Lancaster’s Joe Hollinshead against York’s Laurie Twine. Twine’s entrance to the ring was akin to a triumphant warrior returning home – after receiving a standing ovation, he hopped around the ring in a manner that suggested defeat was never in his mind. After a cautious opening, Hollinshead launched a ferocious punch which, to the shock of the home crowd and the delight of everyone wearing red, floored York’s posted boy within a minute of the first round. There was a moment of silence before the place erupted – this time, it was Lancaster leading the celebrations. With the knock-out confirmed, Hollinshead claimed victory and ensured that the Roses points were shared.

Ollie Orton

SCAN Editor 2015-2016

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