RYAN WALSH didn’t need to hear the official announcement to know his Golden Contract quest had been unsuccessful. At the final bell of a gruelling 10-rounder against James “Jazza” Dickens, Walsh embraced the Liverpool man knowing he had been second best for the previous 30 minutes.

Dickens’ speedy southpaw jab combined with even quicker feet were enough to deter the Norfolk veteran on multiple occasions. Despite boasting a wealth of title experience, Walsh had no answer for “Jazza’s” consistent attacks and he found himself way behind as the fight reached the halfway point. 

Knowing he had to change the course of the fight, Walsh approached the second portion of the contest with more aggression but this risky strategy was not enough to shift Dickens out of his successful rhythm. When Walsh did let his hands go, Dickens was prepared to trade up close, often having the final word, before evading any further assaults. 

The few undercard fighters and their teams who remained at the venue were certain that Dickens was a clear winner, and their suspicions were confirmed when the final scorecards from Michael Alexander, Victor Loughlin and Terry O’Connor of 97-94, 98-93, and 96-94 respectively, were read out. Dickens’ elite team that includes MTK Global, Tony Bellew, Derry Mathews and Georgie Vaughan will be confident that their man can prosper at the highest level when his career resumes in 2021. 

Joining Dickens on the Golden Contract winners’ podium was Ricards Bolotniks. The wild Latvian stalked Serge Michel from the outset and his industry was rewarded with a final round stoppage. Neither man was prepared to apply a cautious strategy in this one and that resulted in the best fight of the night. Germany’s Michel was able to match Bolotniks early on, but the frenetic pace soon caught up with him. 

Michel was the recipient of a count from Alexander in round number five when the ropes kept him up but, from that moment on, it became one-sided. Bolotniks stalked with a menacing purpose for the fight’s remainder and with 10 seconds left on the clock, Michel, under another barrage of punches, was jointly rescued by both Alexander and his own corner. 

Away from Golden Contract matters, Harlem Eubank impressed with a points win over Daniel Egbunike. The current Covid environment has forced a number of boxers to step up their opposition earlier that would ordinarily have been expected, and this was a prime example. Both fighters started quietly, but it was Eubank who decided to take more risks. 

What he’s currently lacking in finesse, Eubank more than makes it up for it in ambition and he was the fighter who was always forcing matters. Lockdown has seen the Brighton man take massive strides and he took another one here when he was declared the victor by Phil Edwards with a score of 97-94. 

Fearghus Quinn and James McGivern continued their ring apprenticeships with routine points wins. Quinn boxed a disciplined fight as he went through his full repertoire to take a 60-54 decision against Scott James with Edwards watching on. McGivern was unfortunate not to score a stoppage when he dropped James Ellison with a sickening left hook to the body in round two. Ellison survived the onslaught and demonstrated great courage to hear the final bell where Edwards scored 60-53 in favour of McGivern. 

Slough deubutant, Adam Azim, got his career off to a good start with wide points win over Ed Harrison. A former star amateur, Azim showed flashes of the brilliance that brought him multiple vested honours with his speed being a standout attribute. Despite his best efforts, Azim could not get rid of Harrison, but he can be happy with his professional bow as he won every round in Edwards’ expert opinion to take the fight 60-54. 

The Verdict  The Golden Contract First Series has been a big success with a number of quality fights.