BOXING returned to the Skydome for the first time since 2010 on Saturday (May 22) and the fans were allowed in too – albeit limited in number to just 400. But it is another step in the right direction. Mexico’s 37-year-old former IBF super-welterweight titlist Carlos Molina proved game enough in the 12-round bill-topper against the always-watchable Stourbridge middleweight Sam Eggington. However, the visitor was unable to prevent Eggington registering a wide unanimous points victory. 

Bettered for the most part, yet firing back whenever the opportunity arose, Molina was an immovable object, despite Sam’s best attempts. With an eye on future title tilts, Eggington had to content himself with picking his shots as he worked away, often from a distance, behind the jab.  

Carlos was down late in the penultimate session but it was deemed a slip. He managed to hit home with a couple of decent rights in the last, yet by that late stage, the die was well and truly cast. Judges John Latham, Guido Cavalleri and Fabian Guggenheim scored 117-111, 116-112 and 119-109 respectively, while Ian John-Lewis refereed.

On the undercard of this Hennessy Sports promotion, Birmingham’s Shakan Pitters returned to winning ways. The light-heavyweight halted Bradford’s Jermaine Springer in the fifth of a scheduled eight, having floored him with a right towards the end of the previous session.

I already had Shakan two rounds to the good by the time he shook Springer with a hard right upstairs in the third. Although Jermaine began the next round quickly, he was soon back on the receiving end, losing his gumshield before being tagged and dropped. Just when one was wondering if Springer had sufficiently recovered, another Pitters right sent him to the ropes and referee Kevin Parker deemed enough was enough, interrupting with 58 seconds still to run. 

Popular local River Wilson-Bent sent his supporters into raptures when he stopped Derby’s fellow unbeaten George Farrell in the seventh, and so completed a first successful defence of his Midlands Area middleweight title.

Having built an early yet narrow lead, River scored with an eye-catching three-shot salvo at the top of the fifth which rocked Farrell back onto his heels. George wasn’t finished, though, and seemingly took the next frame, moving onto the offensive and slamming home a pair of rights to reduce the deficit. Yet the fightback proved short-lived, as a sustained spell of heavy pressure on the back of a huge right brought about the finish. Referee Shaun Messer rightly intervened at 2-21 as Farrell crumpled in his own corner.

Another Birmingham winner, in what was a 10-round British welterweight title eliminator, was Kaisee Benjamin. He triumphed when Dumbarton’s Martin Harkin remained on his stool at the start of the eighth, still feeling the effects of a belter of a right to the ribs which had sent him to one knee right at the end of the seventh. There was no count given by referee Latham, but Harkin, who might just have been slightly ahead on the cards, was clearly in no fit state to continue.

Michael Hennessy Jnr (Sevenoaks) found Warminster’s Paul Cummings in combative mode, but that didn’t prevent him from securing the 60-55 decision of referee Messer. There were several impressive bursts from the promoter’s son, who, at just 21, is still learning.

The four-rounder between Brighton’s Tommy Welch – the son of Scott Welch – and experienced Lithuanian Dmitrij Kalinovskij lasted just 71 seconds. In that time, Kalinovskij was floored on three occasions. Mr Parker officiated.

Los Angeles-based Irishman Stephen McKenna completely overwhelmed Damian Haus, handing out quite a bashing before a purposeful left to the body saw the Pole drop heavily to his knees. Upon the resumption, Haus faced another continued barrage which, to the surprise of no one at all, forced referee Parker to jump in with eight seconds of the opener remaining. It had been set for six.

Irishman Brett McGinty earned the 40-36 verdict of referee Messer at the culmination of his bout against Oldbury’s Dwain Grant, who came to fight and kept it competitive throughout.

Another ever-gutsy operator, Lydney’s Lewis van Poetsch, came off second best against Brummie Idris Virgo. Referee Parker scored it 60-54 and van Poetsch finished with a cut to the lower lip.

The Verdict Eggington gets the win and eyes big fights at 154 or 160lbs.