Sunderland boxer suffers shock first defeat
Thomas Essomba's future will lie at flyweight after his unbeaten record came to an end.
The Sunderland boxer suffered a points defeat to Motherwell’s Iain Butcher in Edinburgh on Saturday night.
Essomba had been due to make the maiden defence of his Commonwealth flyweight title at the Meadowbank Sports Centre only for his challenger to admit he could not make the weight.
But the 28-year-old still went to Scotland to box but in a 10-round non-title contest at super-fly.
And Butcher inflicted the first blemish on Essomba’s eight-fight log, Scottish referee Kenny Pringle scoring it 97-94.
There were no gripes from the Sunderland corner though manager Phil Jeffries said he will never put him in with a heavier man again.
“The buck stops with me for this one,” said Jeffries.
“I could have knocked the bout on the head and Thomas would still have got paid.
“After Butcher said he could not make the weight I agreed with his people that we’d box a non-title 10-rounder at 8st 3lbs.
“Iain still couldn’t do that and weighed in at 8-4 and couldn’t get that last pound off.
“But Thomas had trained long and hard for this and wanted to box. But in future it won’t be happening.
“I could see why Iain struggled to make flyweight, he came in massive, significantly bigger than Thomas.
“From now on it will be fly for us and no higher.”
Essomba gave it his all but was not aided by a nasty cut to his eye following a first round clash of heads.
“I think that knocked a bit of the stuffing out of Thomas,” admitted Jeffries.
“It took him a while to settle into the fight after the cut and he did hurt Iain a couple of times.
“The score should have been a lot closer in my view, but the best man won.”
Meanwhile, Warren Baister produced his best performance on the biggest night of his career to date.
The Sunderland cruiserweight took apart Stanislav Eschner inside the first round of their match at the Manchester Arena.
Baister was excited at getting to box on the undercard of Anthony Crolla’s WBA world lightweight title defence against Ismael Barroso.
And the 30-year-old Wearsider rose to the occasion by taking the Czech fighter apart in a mere 139 seconds.
Like Baister, Eschner was a rookie pro, having had just one previous appearance, as opposed to the three outings for the former GB amateur star.
The 27-year-old, from Prague, let fly with a big swing or two, but he was picked off by the Dave Binns-trained powerhouse.
Baister used his skill to great effect and when the opening came he took it, hurting Eschner with a head shot before putting him down with a body punch, the end coming at two minutes, 19 seconds.
“He hit very hard,” Binns said.
“The kid came with a lot of ambition and you could see that the way he let a couple of rockets go.
“But Warren was super composed and he just took his time.
“We’ve been working in the gym on quality and technique rather than just looking for the heavy artillery.
“I’m as pleased as punch with him - he showed maturity, variation and patience. I’d say that’s been the best performance as a pro.”
It was win number four with Eschner the third opponent to fail to make it to the end of round one.
Binns says Baister’s next outing is not likely to be until the Summer Rumble at the Stadium of Light on July 10.
“We’re not sure, there are a couple of possible dates,” added the Peterlee-based trainer.
Seaham’s Jordan Ellison suffered his fourth professional defeat when he lost on points to Irish prospect Jono Carroll on the same bill.
The Dubliner got the verdict 60-55 but Ellison’s coach Peter Cope said he had nothing but praise for the 20-year-old.
“I am over the moon with Jordan,” said Cope. “I couldn’t have asked for any more from him.
“He was always behind in the contest but never out of it - he tested a kid they are expecting big things from.”