High drama at Assassins' Melton show
There was fireworks and drama in and out of the ring as the Assassins Gym held their opening Melton show of 2018 on Saturday.
The poor weather stopped Irish fighter Aoibhe Walsh from attending, while two further opponents withdrew on the day after claiming they could not reach Melton.
And when the action got under way, urgent repairs had to be made when the ring ropes broke.
Tempers then flared when a Dutch coach led his two fighters out of the Market Tavern in reaction to a point deduction during Jamiy Te Pas’ clash with Naomi Blankley.
“We tried to talk him around, but he wouldn’t change his mind,” explained promoter Mark Barlow.
“In the morning he regretted his decision, but it was too late then.
“Apart from all of that, we had a great event with some top fights.”
World champion Iman Barlow headlined and recovered from a rare defeat in her previous clash to defeat WBC European champion Jleana Valentino.
The tough Italian did well in the opening round, but Iman’s power took over, dominating the next four rounds for a points win as Valentino hung in to reach the final bell.
Iman’s brother Thai was the penultimate Assassin on the card, taking on another Italian, Francesco Novello, in his comeback from a nine-month injury lay-off.
The Melton fighter was the bigger of the two, outkicking and outdoing his opponent, but Novello refused to give in until a kick to the face broke his nose.
Tyree Stevens also battled back from a defeat in his last outing to beat Italian Michele Giuliani on points, making a statement with some lightning kicks and punches in a high-calibre match-up.
The evening began with a demonstration bout between Assassins Skylar Moulds and Lexie Peters after both of their opponents withdrew.
And first victory of the night went to improving home fighter Shay Burt, beating Liam Mitchell (Krusaders, Milton Keynes) on points after a dominant display.
Taylor Bishop narrowly missed out on matching his clubmate when judges ruled his bout a draw, before Brad Rowlinson stepped in for his Assassins’ debut against Lewis Pomfret (Guardians, Milton Keynes).
In a good quality fight, Pomfret landed the higher scoring shots as the Assassin tired in the final round. The home fighter lost on points, but gained valuable experience, while showing plenty of potential.
Anther debutant, Cerys Hirst secured a points victory after a toe-to-toe battle, before Mkaylin Kneeland earned a draw against a heavier opponent.
Mustafa Agwan also faced a heavier opponent, but suffered a surprise defeat after appearing to score well with big kicks and land good knees in the clench.
Jase Perks and Arlo Musson showed good skills in their demonstration, before Aliza Agwan lost her unbeaten record against Birmingham’s Chloe Duthrie in another good bout as the Assassin tired in the final two rounds.
Then came the first international as Naomi Blankley went up against K1 world champion Te Pas in a Muay Thai bout.
As the Assassin launched a pre-arranged tactic of using knees in the clench, the Dutch fighter complained of low blows, which the referee disputed and told the Dutch fighter to keep her head up for her safety,
More complaints followed in round two as Blankley continued to dominate, but it was Te Pas who was deducted a point after ignoring further warnings to keep her head up.
The decision prompted her coach to pull her out of the ring and lead Griffiths’ opponent from the venue.
An excellent bout followed between Saxon Nugent and Birmingham’s Adam Khan, a tall rangy fighter with good skills.
The Assassin won the battles on the outside with his kicks, while Khan dominated the clench with excellent knees.
Nugent was told to stay outsider, but failed to heed the warning and lost out on points.
Alicia Pickering (Wutan) defeated Slovakian opponent Lucia Ferkova who showed she has the power, but not yet the work rate.
Darum Hassan gave the Assassins another win to cheer after another entertaining contest with George Redpath (Guardians).
Both fighters swapped punches and kicks, but Hassan was superior in the clench and secured a good points win.
* Thai Barlow and George Griffiths are next in action in Birmingham on Saturday, March 31 at Edgbaston Cricket Ground, in Birmingham.
Tickets are available from Thai and George.