British Boxing: Keith Chadwick reviews an eventful season for Impact boxers

As the season draws to a close all concerned with Impact Boxing can be justifiably satisfied with the progress that the embryonic stable has made over the last twelve months. The highlight of the season has to be the emergence of Chris Edwards as force to be reckoned with.. The season began with Scott Lawton and Gary Reid as the big guns of the Impact set up but last November Edwards pulled off one of the shocks of the season by seeing off former Commonwealth champion Dale Robinson inside 8 rounds to lift the English flyweight title. Until that point Robinson had never previously been stopped.

In April Edwards and Robinson faced off again; this time in a British and Commonwealth title clash at Altrincham Leisure centre. Robinson had the better of the earlier rounds but Edwards grew in strength and confidence as the bout progressed. By the final bell both pugilists were battered and each was cut above both eyes; they had produced scintillating contest and earned a standing ovation from the crowd.

Much to the surprise of most onlookers the bout was declared a draw and a third encounter is now expected in the autumn.

Reigning English lightweight champion Scott Lawton began the season with a potential banana skin of a bout against the sturdy Mauritian Judex Meemea at the Kings Hall in September. Unfortunately for the Stoke public, Meemea didn’t come for a fight and employed a series of spoiling tactics in order to negate Lawton’s superior prowess. Despite constant warnings Meemea persisted in holding Lawton at every opportunity and consequently got himself disqualified in the 7th round.

In November Lawton followed up with a four round ‘keep busy’ bout with veteran Karl Taylor; Scott emerged unscathed and clear points victor.

Then in March the opportunity finally came for Lawton to step onto the big stage courtesy of Jon Thaxton.

In September Scott had come close to getting the opportunity to challenge, then titleholder, Lee Meager for the British title. The BBBofC had however declined to sanction the contest because Thaxton had already been made the mandatory challenger. Thaxton subsequently defeated Meager and made his first voluntary defence against Lawton in Norwich in March.

Avoided by the majority of domestic lightweights Thaxton, on home soil, entered the ring as a firm favourite. Thaxton’s power earned him the victory with a 7th round stoppage of Lawton but Scott had been in the fight until he had sustained a cut earlier in the round which severely hampered his vision.

Lawton emerged from the bout with a lot of credit and earned the respect of Thaxton, the crowd and the BBBofC for the grit and determination that he had demonstrated.

Scott now looks forward to defending his English title in Stoke in September against West Bromwich ‘big hitter’ Dean Hickman. If he emerges victorious he will no doubt eye up a return with Thaxton.

Gary Reid, the third of Impact’s big guns, had mixed fortunes during the season.

He kicked off with a challenge to Nigel Wright’s English light-welterweight title in November. Wright, the superior technician, spent large parts of the bout keeping Gary at distance with his jab and when Reidy did come within range he held on tight to prevent Gary launching his bombs.

Doubting his stamina, Reid took his foot off the gas in the second half of the bout and allowed Wright to score consistently with his jab. A last round onslaught from Reid failed to despatch the killer blow and Wright was awarded the 10 rounder on points.

In April Gary Reid was presented with the chance to avenge his defeat at the hands of Dean Hickman two years earlier when the two men tussled for the vacant Midlands Area light-welterweight title.

Hickman started the brighter anticipating a repeat of his earlier victory but Reid is always dangerous. Although Hickman took the first two rounds Reid began to unload in the third and sent ‘Deano’ to the canvas twice during the stanza. In the fourth Reid produced a series of body shots that saw Hickman tumble no less than four times. The fifth started in the same vein and referee Sean Messer was given no option but to wave off the contest.

June brought Reidy his biggest break to date when he took on talented African Ajose Olusegun for the vacant Commonwealth title. Despite never really getting out of first gear Gary confounded all the pundits by surviving the full 12 rounds. Olusegun was victorious by a wide margin but Gary emerged with a great deal of credit.

Gary now has a three-fight deal with Frank Maloney and will hope to get a crack a British title with in the next twelve months.

Danny Johnson earned points victories over Martin Marshall in November and Howard Clarke in February but suffered a points reversal last time out at the hands of Thomas Mazurkiewicz. Danny remains a good prospect and can look forward to returning to winning ways next season.

Jimmy ‘The Whirlwind’ Doherty produced workmanlike performances to dispose of Aldon Stewart, Chris Brophy and Steven Cooper each on points. Doherty will start the new season looking to step up a level.

Imran Khan emerged with a stunning first round KO victory over Sammy Stewart in his debut last November but failed to reproduce this form in May when he floundered to a six round points loss to Shaun Docherty. With renewed belief in his ability there is no reason why Khan can’t find his winning ways again.

Two Impact boxers were forced into retirement during the season. Local favourite Micky Abbott was left with no option but to hang up his gloves due to vision problems. Crewe’s former jockey Ian Clyde also retired prematurely due to health problems.

On the whole the future looks bright for Impact with Lawton, Reid and Edwards all still in the mix for major title honours next year. Meanwhile Doherty, Johnston and Khan each have to opportunity to work towards fulfilling their potential.

Additionally, new signings such as Scott Miller and the exciting young Chester based duo of Kevin Buckley and Chris Goodwin suggest that Impact will have no problems in attracting fresh new talent in the future. I predict that the Impact roster will be swelled even further during the coming year

Article posted on 02.08.2007

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