The LCR was packed out on Sunday 18 March for UEA Boxing Club’s annual Fight Night. There was an electric atmosphere among fighters and fans alike as around 200 people took their seats for an extremely entertaining evening.
The first bout that got the crowd on their feet was between Seb Newport and Jack Shreeves. Both fighters were very aggressive in the opening round and Shreeves was looking worse for wear at each interval, whereas Newport was on his toes and clearly ready for more. There was somewhat of a fight back from Shreeves in the final round but it didn’t prevent the judges unanimously deciding that Newport was worthy of victory. Shreeves later admitted in a post-fight interview that he knew he lost to the bigger man and Newport claimed he was thrilled to have won the bout.
UEA’s DanceSquad provided entertainment during the intervals before the first female fight took place between Maura Flatley and Liz Coe. It marked a great occasion for the club and both ladies fought well, and despite having never fought in front of a crowd before, they put on an excellent show. The night also saw some comedy boxing when members of the crowd volunteered to take part in a bout wearing gigantic gloves. This lightened the tone somewhat and shows that spectators got real value for their £6 entrance fee.
The first blood was drawn in the sixth fight of the evening, as Oliver Broad took on Kyle Furbert. As Broad dominated the first round, it appeared that the fight was going to go only one way. He was physically bigger than Furbert, was more composed and selective with his punches and had a bigger reach too. However, he couldn’t match the speed of Furbert as the fight intensified in the third round, Broad sustaining a nose bleed after a flurry of punches from his opponent, who won the bout by a split decision. Both fighters were exhausted after the bout, with Broad admitting that Furbert deserved to win given that he had been training more.
The evening reached its climax in the final three fights, which included a re-match between Zulfiqar Azam and Vangelis Nicolaides. Both fighters had enormous support, with air horns and sirens being sounded around the LCR, particularly when Nicolaides entered the ring. Both men were clearly putting their heart into the fight and Nicolaides received a headbutt to a sensitive area in the second round, much to the anger of the crowd. However, he was still able to dominate the final round, with the timer having to be stopped numerous times due to Azam’s exhaustion. The crowd anticipated a knock out, but it was to no avail and the fight was brought to a close early by the referee, who noticed that Azam had a bloody lip and was unable to continue. Nicolaides won by unanimous decision but in a post-fight interview stated that the rivalry between himself and his opponent was full of mutual respect.
The penultimate bout of the evening saw two fighters with eight years of experience between them enter the ring. Ed Howes, fresh from his victory at Derby Day 2012, took on Luc Donati in what would prove to be a one sided fight. Howes was able to land some tough looking punches, which left Donati clinging to the ropes. He had a number of visible injuries too, with marks on his back from being on the ropes and a bleeding nose. Howes won by a unanimous decision, continuing his good form from his bout in Essex.
The final fight of the evening was certainly the highlight. Abdullateef Abiola Shogbeni entered the ring to massive support, followed by Michael Gomes. Gomes soaked up the atmosphere from the crowd and taunted Shogbeni on his way to the ring, and he certainly looked confident. However, this was shattered within 12 seconds as Shogbeni landed a series of punches that left his opponent slumped against the ropes and gave the crowd at the LCR the knockout they had been so eagerly anticipating. He later said that he was “delighted” with his performance, whereas his opponent stated his hopes of bouncing back.
All fighters should be applauded for giving the student community here at UEA a fantastic evening of entertainment.
Dan Tulloch, one of the organisers behind the night, was happy to see nine great fights, and he said he was “proud of each and every fighter”. Roll on UEA Fight Night 2013.
Footage courtesy of Fraser Carr.