By Gareth Axenderrie
Cardiff University’s Amateur Boxing Club hosted their second event of the year as Y Plas welcomed near enough 200 people to see the University’s finest boxing talent take on opponents from Exeter, Bristol and Portsmouth.
Over the course of ten bouts, the home club won three fights to their opponents’ four, in what was a card filled with excitement and competition.
An all Cardiff affair kicked things off as club favourite and coach Jimmi Sandham and first year Ellis Cummings went head to head in an exhibition. Both fighters quickly warmed the crowd up as Sandham worked well to the body and Cummings looked sharp with overhand rights.
With the crowd now defrosted on a cold night, it was home crowd favourite Brad Meddings’ moment under the lights as the Law student took on Portsmouth’s Matt Dunne. The Cardiff man got on top of his opponent early, wrestling control of the momentum and marking Dunne under the left eye. As the Portsmouth boxer ate some solid shots from Meddings, the referee forced him to take a standing count. A unanimous decision from the judges gave it to the Cardiff man.
Another couple of exhibitions followed shortly after, as the club used the opportunity to display the talent in its ranks. The ladies’ bout between Zara Siddique and Ilaria Giovannoni showcased the best of offence versus defence. A good technical fight saw Giovannoni dominate the centre of the ring, whilst Siddique looked elusive with textbook head movement.
Club favourite Jimmi Sandham stepped in the ring again for a second exhibition bout, this time against Jordan Daruvalla. With Sandham attempting to work on the outside with his reach advantage, Daruvalla was the aggressor, bloodying Sandham’s nose in the third.
Some tasty match ups proceeded. Cardiff favourite Arabella Lloyd won the adoration of the home crowd as she fought valiantly against a classy opponent in Exeter’s Nina Weber. Both ladies left nothing to chance as they traded blows, before a bloodied Lloyd was forced to take a standing count. The referee finally called the fight off in the third round, but despite the loss, Lloyd received a standing ovation for her courageous efforts from the crowd.
A second Exeter victory followed soon after as Cardiff’s Matthew McFerran couldn’t withstand the barrage of wild haymakers that Rafael Samano threw his way. A huge body shot dropped McFerran, and despite wanting to continue, the referee called the fight off.
Following the interval, a real contender for fight of the night ensued as Jack Levy took on another Exeter visitor in Kieran Lunt. Levy was rocked early by a big shot from Lunt, but the wild swinging Exeter man left himself open to a series of Levy counterpunches. With both fighters swinging from the hip in the final round, Levy found real success, dislodging Lunt’s gumshield before forcing a standing count. With the fight anybody’s at the bell, the judges gave it to the visitor, much to the disapproval of the partisan crowd.
With the audience desperate for an upturn in Cardiff’s fortunes, Club President Dan ‘Baz’ Barratt went into battle with Sam Moore. An early right hand from the home fighter got the crowd off their feet before both men traded shots in the centre of the ring. With it all to fight for in the final round, Barratt worked his opponent into the corner and unloaded some heavy shots. When the judges awarded him the unanimous decision, both Barratt and the home crowd could not have been happier.
The evening saw a number of stand-out performances, but perhaps the best was saved for the penultimate bout. Local boy Simon ‘The Machine’ Williams produced a near perfect display to overcome Bristol’s Harrison Ross-Skinner in a spectacularly one sided affair. Williams looked in total control from the outset, picking the Bristolian off at ease. Whenever Williams looked like he wanted to land he did. Making the centre of the ring his home, Williams forced Ross-Skinner to take two standing counts. Up against it, the visitor managed to hear the final bell, but there was no doubt who had completely dominated the one-sided competition.
A final all Cardiff affair brought the evening to a close as Cardiff University’s Ashley Banks collided with Caerau Ely ABC’s Joe Smith. Both men went at it hammer and tong from the very first bell, and a relentless pace was maintained throughout. Neither boxer gave an inch as hooks landed both upstairs and down. When the judges scores were counted, Smith just edged it, by the slightest margin.
Cardiff coach and boxer Jimmi Sandham described his immense pride at the boxers, the committee, volunteers and everyone involved in the event. “The display of boxing was great, all our boxers did themselves proud, and I think everyone enjoyed the night, which is what these shows are about.”
“We are determined to get more people into boxing so they can see how enjoyable it really is. Next term we would like big influx of new members.”