Tommy Barber – London
British prospect Rocky Fielding, a former champion of Prizefighter: Super Middleweights II, continued his journey in the light heavyweight division to take on Ciaran Healy at the Bowler’s Exhibition Centre in Manchester on Saturday, May 18 and the Liverpudlian – backed by a 200-strong fanbase – left the ring a clear winner having retired his journeyman opponent at the end of play in the fourth round.
Official verdict: Fielding by way of fourth round TKO.
Keeping himself out of range, Fielding utilised his height and reach advantages over the 5’11 Ciaran Healy. Trained by Oliver Harrison, Fielding failed to claim the opening round but captured the second as Healy’s non-stop work ethic paid dividends but was eventually overshadowed by Fielding’s cleaner work. Ensuring his man did not get sucked into a stand-off, Harrison, prior to the third round, implored Rocky not to get involved with the veteran Northern Irishman.
Taking heed of his instructor’s advice, Fielding began to jab comfortably. Having found his timing, to compliment the previously existing range, Fielding stabbed Healy with solitary strikes. Healy’s stubborn gusto, though, proved arduous to quell but that come forward nature was almost his undoing with less than 30 seconds left on the round clock as the 37-year-old was forced to his knees having taken a short-range left hook flush to the body.
Fielding fortified his status as ring general in the fourth round when he managed to force Healy onto the backfoot, notably when he struck his opponent with double hook shots. Healy took a barrage of head-bound shots at numerous points in the round and was withdrawn from the bout at the end of the stanza.
It was a mismatch on paper and a mismatch in the ring, something Fielding perhaps alluded to when he mentioned post-fight that he wants to keep learning his trade by taking on opponents with greater experience: “I’ve been out the ring for seven months,” said Rocky to Box Nation. “He came at me straight away, I felt him out for two rounds but got my shots going. I want to keep progressing, get more experienced fighters, keep on learning and cracking on.”
With the stoppage win, Fielding moves to 10-0-0, 4ko while Healy drops to 13-21-1, 4ko.
Tommy Barber – London
On the inaugural Box Academy show broadcast by Box Nation on Friday, May 18, Joe Selkirk looked a diamond prizefighter for four rounds against former cage fighter Jason Ball. However, the 26-year-old prospect, unaccustomed to eight round distances, lagged in the latter half of the contest at the Bowler’s Exhibition Centre in Manchester. Selkirk, though, ground out a points victory and preserved his undefeated status.
Official verdict: Selkirk wins 77-75 score on referee’s card.
Pumping a piston-like jab into ex mixed martial artist Jason Ball’s mouth, Selkirk showed an appreciation for lead punch precision as early as the initial exchanges in the opening stanza. An undefeated professional and a key attraction at the gate, Selkirk showed great leverage when launching uppercuts, showed great movement skills and, through the early rounds, was a level above Ball.
Dubbed Daddy Cool, Ball boxed tentatively, much like he did in his most recent outing against Chris Eubank Jr, and there was a distinct lack of effectiveness in his work, perhaps because he never seemed confident to really pull the trigger and load up on power. When he threw right hooks, Selkirk was able to use head movement to evade the shot as Ball’s speed was oft left wanting.
Selkirk took advantage of a sluggish Ball in round five, hooking around the Yorkshire man’s loose guard and clubbing him with looping right and left mitts.
Ball, in comparison to Selkirk, was crude as Joe was largely able to avoid an abundance of Jason’s emotive-driven fists. Selkirk was far more cerebral, would plant his feet, pop a jab and crack the useful straight right into Ball’s mouth. Along with the uppercut, the right hand was Selkirk’s most reliable weapon against Ball and was one he could reliably rock Ball’s head back whenever he landed cleanly with it.
While Ball was largely shut-out and threw mostly air-shots or arm-punches, he did sneak through with a number of right hooks to Selkirk’s ribs, however, the fast-rising junior middleweight from Liverpool was dominant in the ring and on the referee’s card, claiming a unanimous decision.
“I’ve never trained so hard but I made a lot of mistakes,” reflected Selkirk (9-0-0, 5ko) to Box Nation after having his arm raised aloft. “[Ball] pushed me all the way. To do eight rounds would have been good for me and will stand me in good stead in the long run. In a few more fights I’ll be ready for [British champion at 154lbs Brian Rose].”