WEARSIDE’S warriors enjoyed a good day at the Summer Rumble yesterday as Martin and Tommy Ward, Lee Mould and Kirk Goodings all won, while Jonson McClumpha drew an epic battle.
Boxing fans turned up in force to the Stadium of Light for the latest show put on by Sunderland promoter Phil Jeffries.
And those who wanted to see home boxers progress weren’t disappointed.
The easiest afternoon for the Fantastic Five went to Lee Mould who dispatched Plymouth’s Ben Zacharkiw inside the opening round of a scheduled six-round bout.
Lightweight Mould had his opponent down inside the first 30 seconds and down again barely a minute later.
Zacharikiw got to his feet for another count but the referee had seen enough and called a halt.
The Ward brothers both came through tidy points victories.
Tommy, making his first appearance in the ring since last November, beat super-featherweight Ben Morrish, also from Plymouth.
The West Rainton boxer was just pleased to have come through the fight with a win, as was brother Martin, who overcame cagey opponent Adrian Fuzelie over the course of six tactical rounds.
The English bantamweight champion was always in control, as a 59-55 points decision demonstrated but Fuzelie probably gave him just the sort of testing work-out he needed after his loss challenging for the British bantamweight belt in his last outing.
Bouts of the day though were Kirk Goodings’ hard-fought win over Somerset light-welterweight Dean Mills, and Johnson McClumpha’s terrific battle with West Denton’s Andrew Buchanan.
Goodings eventually forced a fifth round stoppage but was challenged by an opponents who was stubborn, determined and dangerous in every round.
In the end, Goodings managed to get Mills – bleeding over the right eye during the fourth round – on the ropes in the fifth.
And a non-stop flurry of unanswered blows as the trapped visitor tried to duck and dive, saw the referee come in just before the towel did from Mills’ corner.
It was a conclusive end to a fascinating encounter but it wasn’t on the same level in terms of brutality as the Wear-Tyne derby between super-middleweights McClumpha and Buchanan.
McClumpha was involved in his first fight in well over a year, after suffering injury problems, and found a massive challenge in 33-year-old Tynesider Buchanan. The Geordie used all of his experience and ring-craft to test his 23-year-old opponent.
But Buchanan was also strong and aggressive when he needed to be, producing some superb counter-punching during spells where he was under continual pressure.
McClumpha was on the front foot more, dominating the centre of the ring and taking the fight to his opponent over every one of the six rounds.
But Buchanan stayed in it as fans roared their approval at a thrilling and concussive contest.
Both men finished battered and bloodied, blood pouring from their noses. Buchanan would probably not have complained too much if home boy McClumpha had been given the decision.
But it was also hard to argue when the referee raised both boxers’ arms to signal a draw – it was a contest neither boxer really deserved to lose.
That fight was worth the admission money alone in another successful Summer Rumble and Phil Jeffries is already rubbing his hands together at the prospect of a rematch between the two gladiators.