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Johanneson pips Goodwin in thriller

For once, a fight that promised so much actually delivered. After ten thrilling rounds at Chester’s Northgate Arena, Carl Johanneson (9st 8lbs) had his hand raised in victory over hometown favourite Chris Goodwin (9st 8lbs) after a fight that neither man will forget.

The fight was a British lightweight title eliminator and was scheduled for ten-threes. The fight started off very well for Goodwin. Johanneson came forward but the physically imposing Goodwin met him with crisp shots in the centre of the ring and lovely movement. He looked the fresher of the two.

The second round followed the same pattern. Johanneson putting the pressure on, but Goodwin, fighting on the inside, landing decent shots to the body. By the third, Goodwin was looking in charge of the encounter. Chris was firing away on the inside. Johanneson was giving it everything, but Goodwin looked one step ahead. The difference was that Chris, an expert in-fighter, was blocking and slipping most of Johanneson’s shots while landing his own.

It was at this point the fight turned round. The old adage says you can never keep a good man down, and Johanneson is very good. More shots were landing from Carl whilst Chris’ work rate dropped. Still, no serious damage was being done; Chris’skills were making sure that he was able to withstand the assault. Carl continued to hammer away to the body over rounds five and six. If anyone thought Johanneson was likely to tire as the fight went on, they were wrong. As the sixth bell rang, Johanneson evened up the scores. It looked, at this point as if he was going to pull away with the fight. Although Chris was competitive, it seemed as though the seasoned Johanneson would just have that bit too much for him at this stage of his career.

The seventh for me was an important round for Goodwin, even though he may not have won it. The toe-to-toe action was incredible. Goodwin looked resurgent as he hacked away at the body and head. Johanneson fought fire with fire and landed great shots of his own. Opinion was split at ringside over who won the session. I gave it to Johanneson, but Goodwin had pointed out that he was still in the fight.

The eighth was a very good round for Carl, and it seemed as though that burst in the seventh may have been Chris’ last stand. So going into the ninth I had Johanneson two rounds up and I saw no reason for the path of the fight to change. Carl was winning, yet Goodwin was showing he could hang with the big boys. There seemed an inexorable march to a Johanneson UD. It was then that Chris stepped on the gas. Goodwin fought with the tenacity of a man possessed. He kept on with the good defensive skills of the previous eight rounds, but he now started to outland Johanneson as well.

Going in to the last round I had Johanneson one ahead and Goodwin would need to win the last round to get a draw. The pair went toe to toe, with Goodwin, for me getting the better of it. It was however, a close round. The writer from Boxing News had Johanneson one up going into the last round, gave it to Johanneson and gave the Leeds man a victory by two rounds. I on the other hand gave it to Goodwin and that evened up my scorecard. It was that kind of fight.

The bell went and it was time for the judges. Before the scores were announced the MC told the crowd to stand up to congratulate two fighters who were a credit to the sport. A true testament of what we had witnessed. The first judge scored the fight to Goodwin by a score of 96-95. The second scored it to Johanneson by 97-95. Then the final judge, Wynford Jones, came in with a score of 99-93. The Leeds man had won it, and nobody could complain too much about him being victorious. The only source of complaint through the entire hall was the final score of 99-93. This was a fight that was on a knife edge. This score painted it as a walkover.

In the cold light of day I can see what has happened. Chris Goodwin is an expert in-fighter. In the competitive rounds Carl was still throwing a bucket load of shots. Goodwin was catching the majority on his arms, subtly slipping some and coming back with clean work. Still, Johanneson’s shots were making noise. It is easier for a judge to see a fighter running away and slipping punches than it is too see Goodwin’s skills. The judge who scored it for Goodwin knew what was happening. The judge who scored it 97-95 for Johanneson was seeing the same thing (I couldn’t argue with the score at all.) Mr Jones, who thought Goodwin won one round and drew two others, obviously struggled to see the intricacies of what was going on when they were up close. He gets no special criticism from me. He isn’t the first judge to have that fault and he won’t be the last.

Johanneson rises to 31-5 (20 KOs) and must get a big title shot now. Goodwin falls to 14-2-1 and has gained immeasurably in defeat.

Dai Davies (9st) claimed the Welsh featherweight crown with a 99-91 over Chester’s Paul Economides (8st 13lb) over ten-threes. The rounds were a carbon copy of each other. Davies would move quickly around the ring with Economides following him. Davies would throw fast shots, catching Economides to body and head. Economides would try to land big shots, but Davies was always out of the way.

The only round I could give Economides was the seventh, where it looked as though Davies was beginning to tire. It wasn’t to be for the hometown favourite however. Davies continued to dominate and it was no surprise when Dai had his hand raised. The referee’s scorecard matched mine. There was no doubt that the better man won. Davies rises to 9-18-1 (1 KO) and must forget about being a journeyman, he is far better than that. Economides falls to 12-3 and must seriously find a way of fighting the real slicksters. This was a carbon copy of the Rob Turley fight. People will know how to beat him now. The next stage of his career is the most important. Chester will watch with interest.

A star could well have been born on Saturday night. Lee Quinn of Connahs’ Quay (10st 7lbs) faced off against Rob Hunt of Stafford (10st 6lbs) over four-threes. When I heard that this fight was being made I was shocked. Quinn is regarded as a good prospect around these parts, but he was participating in only his second pro fight. Rob Hunt boasted a record of 15-1-1 (1 KO). Part of me thought this could be too early. The other part realised that Quinn’s trainer Shane Thomas (Tom Doran’s coach) really knows his fighters and will not put them in against anyone they will get a pounding off. This had all the makings of an interesting encounter.

Hunt started the fight well. He got behind the jab and used nice, evasive skills. The second saw Quinn come more into it. He landed more , but for me, Hunt was doing the more eye-catching work. Quinn started off the third in tremendous fashion. He landed some good punches on his more experienced foe and certainly gained the crowds interest. Hunt came back into it later but Quinn edged it for me. He was doing himself proud. The fourth was massive for Quinn. He battered his opponent with every punch in the book. A huge uppercut made it look as if Hunt was going to go, he was certainly in a world of trouble. Hunt somehow found his way to the final bell. At that point both fighters hands were raised. A score of 38-38 was announced and it seemed perfectly fair. Quinn rises to 1-0-1 and has balls of steel and the talent to match it. Remember the name. Hunt moves to 15-1-2 (1 KO) and seems to lack the X-Factor to take him much further. He will certainly be disappointed with his night’s work.

Connahs Quay light-welter Paul Davies moved to 5-1 with a tremendous performance against Liam Ellis of Swansea. I will be honest. I have never been that impressed with Davies. I always thought of him as too upright and too skinny to make any real waves in the sport. On Saturday night I was turned into a believer. From the word go he looked physically more imposing than ever before. He has always been tall, but his new weight division seemed to let him fill out more. He looked strong. His brutal assaults to the body were that of a totally different fighter. His variety of work was excellent and his upper body movement much improved. From then on it was all good for Davies and painful for Ellis. In the fourth more body attacks hurt Ellis and the visitors’ nose was left bloody. It was no surprise when a score of 40-36 was announced at the final bell. Davies for me has now earmarked himself as one to watch on the domestic scene. Ellis falls to 0-1-1 and will have easier nights than this.

Lightweight Sean Dodd made his debut on the bill with a knockout victory ofGiuseppe Daprato of Scotland over four-threes. The Northgate Arena rocked to the shouts of Dodd’s Birkenhead fans and they were not to be disappointed. From the word go Dodd battered his opponent from pillar to post, the right hand being especially dangerous. A big left uppercut, followed by a right hand hurt Daprato in the third. This was becoming a painful night for the visitor. The fight mercifully came to an end in the fourth. A big right uppercut staggered the brave Scotsman and a following barrage forced the referee to jump in and save the visitor form further punishment. The time was called at 1:05 of the fourth round. Dodd moves to 1-0 (1 KO) and seems heavy handed. Daprato falls to 1-5.

Joe Lovell extended his unbeaten pro record to 3-0 with a points victory over Atherton’s awkward William Warbuton. The first round saw Lovell produce his best work. He landed some nice shots to the body, but Warbuton never seemed in any real trouble. The second was far better for Warbuton. He landed some lovely punches, bloodying Lovell’s nose at one point. For me, he certainly won the round. After a close third Lovell stepped up a gear in the final round. He started to work more to the body and once again looked the boss. The bell sounded and the referee raised Lovell’s hand and gave him the verdict by a score of 40-37. For me that was a bit wide, but the right man won. Lovell remains one to watch. True, it was the least impressive of his pro performances so far. But Warbuton has beaten men like Dean Harrison and Amir Unsworth recently. He is a tough opponent for anyone. Lovell was tested, he came through, he moves on. Warbuton falls to 5-27-2 and will go on to teach many prospects a thing or two.

Welterweight Sean Lewis of Birkenhead also made his debut on the bill. He went in against Craig Kelly of Paisley over four-threes, but didn’t find it as easy as his gym mate Sean Dodd. Kelly started off well. The stocky Lewis came forward throwing hooks but in doing so neglected his jab. Kelly boxed well behind his own jab and took the first round for me. Dodd had a better second round. He was able to get on the inside and work the body more. It was all still hooks but at least it was more effective now for Lewis. By the third it was getting very scrappy. I preferred the cleaner work of Lewis in this one but there wasn’t much to separate them. By the fourth round Lewis looked more in control. There was less clean work for Kelly and Lewis pretty much dominated the session. The bell sounded and Lewis had his hand raised by a score of 39-38. I had it a draw but couldn’t really complain. Lewis moves to 1-0 and will need to learn how to jab, or at least employ it in a fight. Kelly falls to 1-2 and will be good at his level.

Andy Keates of Leek (9st 7 1/2 lbs) moved to 4-0 with an unconvincing win overAndrejs Podusovs of Latvia (9st 4lbs). Keates took an uneventful first round. Not much landed but when it did it was from Andy. The second followed the same pattern. Podusovs was game, but Keates edged it. The third was another close round. Podusovs landed a lot of shots at the start of the session. Keates’s predicament wasn’t helped by his propensity to walk back in straight lines. The Leek man came back in the second half of the round with some nice work but he knew he was in a fight. I gave it even but could see how either fighter could have taken the stanza. The fourth round was a great round for Podusovs. He piled on the pressure, backing Keates up to the ropes and landing with impunity. The final bell went and Keates had his hand raised. He was awarded the fight by a score of 39-38 which seemed fair enough. Keates, for me, is in a predicament. He doesn’t seem to punch very hard. Yet he also doesn’t seem to be fast enough to be a master-boxer. With those frailties you will always be in trouble. One has to remember though, that he is only 20, his body is maturing. He is certainly a work in progress. Podusovs falls to 1-1 and seems the sort to give anyone a hard night.

So there it was. The biggest night in Chester boxing certainly created some big stories. If you look at it in black and white you may say that the Johanneson fight was too soon for Goodwin, that maybe it was too much of a risk. Life however, isn’t black and white. For me, both fighters go home happy. Johanneson gets his victory and his presumed title fight. Goodwin has been defeated, but he has learned more in one night than he ever would have done in ten Masters title fights.

Gone are the questions ‘Who is Chris Goodwin?’ and ‘Who has he ever fought?’ People know him now and they will know even more about him in the next few years. In the end, that is all that really matters.

Source by: BoxRec News

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