WHEN Charlie Schofield and Mickey Ellison exchanged pleasantries in an English super-middleweight title eliminator in Bolton the best part of two years ago, just a single point separated the pair at the finish, with Ellison getting the nod. This renewing of acquaintances, then, with the now-vacant English title up for grabs on Friday (June 4), was eagerly awaited and duly proved an entertaining affair at Sheffield Arena Car Park (Dennis Hobson). Schofield, it turned out, making the most of his natural height and reach advantages, was a man on a mission. He set off at a cracking pace, swarming all over Mickey in the opening couple of rounds and bloodying his nose with a huge right uppercut. Darwen’s Ellison, up against it, was twice warned to watch his head before falling victim to another massive right in the dying embers of the third. While venturing more onto the offensive in the middle sessions and reducing the deficit somewhat by matching his Ashton-under-Lyne opponent punch for punch, towards the finish Charlie’s lead, built on that particularly strong start, proved unassailable. Judges Phil Edwards, John Latham and Darren Sarginson had it 99-92, 96-94 and 97-93 respectively. Howard Foster refereed.

There was a rematch in the evening’s chief support too. Silsden’s Danny Whitaker and Stockport’s Chris Healey were both eyeing the vacant Central Area heavyweight title, Whitaker having emerged a 39-38 winner in Colne just prior to the cessation of boxing early last year. I thought Danny, pressing forward, had the better of the early action but felt there was a little swing towards Chris from the middle rounds onwards. It was always going to be close and both boxers, neither flagging, held their arms aloft as the final bell approached. There then followed a nervous wait, before Chris finally was adjudged the winner, referee Sarginson scoring it 96-95 in his favour.

Almost 17 years ago, just down the road at the now demolished Don Valley Stadium, I reported on local teenager John Fewkes needing only five minutes to see off fellow debutant Mark Dane, flooring him twice in the process. Yet here, seven years after seemingly bowing out with a draw against the always-tough Adam Jones, he returned, and in some style too. Urged on by a sizeable following, “The Fireball” enjoyed himself en route to a 40-36 victory over Islington’s Jordan Grannum, mixing things up nicely and scoring with fast hands. The second coming of John Fewkes could well prove an entertaining journey.

Also back in the ring, for the first time since late 2018, was Penge’s former British and Commonwealth welterweight champion Bradley Skeete. He had an early night, halting Hyde’s Dale Arrowsmith 64 seconds into the third of a six. Having bided his time and eased into his stride behind the jab, Bradley duly took it up a notch at the top of the third. A burst to the body, hot on the heels of a right to the midsection, was the precursor to a spell of pressure which prompted the intervention of referee Jamie Kirkpatrick. 

Rawtenstall’s Aaron Hayden hadn’t dropped a point going into his bout with Stockport’s busy Jamie Quinn, and that remained the case at the finish. Referee Sarginson scored 40-37, doubtless crediting the Cheshire centurion with a share of the closer final round.

York’s John Patrick Harker was never going to have it easy in a debut against Evesham’s Brett Fidoe, who isn’t nicknamed “The Threat” for nothing. So it wasn’t a huge surprise when, after a strong finish, Brett edged home by the narrowest of margins, referee Kirkpatrick scoring 38-39.

Dublin’s John Carpenter, with no amateur experience behind him, impressed in shutting out Irlam’s Ryan Hibbert 40-36 in a debut refereed by Mr Sarginson. Improving with every round and cheered on by quite a crowd, he might just be one to watch.

Mr Sarginson was in charge of the clash between Huddersfield first-timer Charlie Martin-Stuart and Brierley Hill’s MJ Hall, which ended in a 40-36 win for the former. Meanwhile, Halifax’s Joe Garside emerged a 40-37 winner for referee Kirkpatrick at the conclusion of his contest with fellow debutant Josh Gill of Manchester.

The Verdict The best Fightzone show so far entertains throughout.