Napa loses title fight

Clapton fighter Ian Napa s reign as British bantamweight champion is over after he controversially lost a spilt decision against Jamie McDonnell at the Brentwood Centre on Friday night

Clapton fighter Ian Napa's reign as British bantamweight champion is over after he controversially lost a spilt decision against Jamie McDonnell at the Brentwood Centre on Friday night.

Both boxers earned one judge's vote by a single point, but then third ringside official Dave Parris cast his vote in favour of the winner by a wide five-round margin.

Many at the ringside thought that seasoned campaigner Napa had done enough to win - but the verdict not only cost him the two titles, but a big Paris pay-night on March 6, when he was due to challenge Jerome Arnould for the European Championship.

The 31-year old could only shake his head and stressed: "This won't finish me - I will train harder and come back a better fighter. I thought I had done enough to win the fight - but that's judges for you."

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Napa started quickly, getting under the long jab of McDonnell, who had a seven-inch height and reach advantage.

With Napa landing mostly left and right hooks to McDonnell's body, his opponent targeted the Clapton man's head.

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After a close opening couple of rounds, the Hackney boxer seemed to take control of the fight, landing the better scoring punches and taking a lot of his opponents shots on his arms and gloves.

The super-fit Yorkshireman McDonnell showed bravery under fire to keep battling back against the skillful Napa, whose accurate punches saw the challenger damaged around both eyes.

The taller McDonnell just kept throwing punches all the way until the final bell and his non-stop attack swayed the points' verdict his way.

Angry Maloney described the split verdict as a 'Dick Turpin' decision, but at least he had the consolation of seeing his other fighters in winning form on the successful Brentwood show - including heavyweight duo Larry Olubamiwo and Tom Dallas.

Former Repton heavyweight Olubamiwo made it seven wins out of eight in his pro campaign as he flattened TKO Gym-trained Irishman Scott Belshaw inside a round.

In the best win of his career to date, Belshaw made a decent start and used his slight height advantage to land a few jabs.

However, 30 seconds into the contest the fight vhanged dramatically as a straight right from Olubamiwo caught his opponent full in the face, putting him on the canvas.

It was not long before he was there again as a powerful right uppercut from the Clapton man forced Belshaw once again to the floor for an eight count.

Olubamwio was keen to go in for the kill and a short right hook to the side of Belshaw's head was enough to send him to the floor once again, forcing referee Jeff Hinds to step in and call a hault to the fight after just one minute 56 seconds.

Olubamiwo was understandably delighted with the manor of his win.

"Once I hit him with my right hand the first and second time i could see he was hurt," he told the Gazette.

"I knew I could finish him and I did what my trainer James Cook told me, I picked my punches and I was pleased with my performance.

"I beat him in less time than either Audley Harrison and Tyson Fury could do it."

Olubamiwo is confident he can make big strides this year and is keen for a title fight.

"2010 could be my year," the powerful puncher said.

"I'm right up there among the best British heavyweights, but I must thank the rest of my team. Brian Lawrence, who used to train Belshaw and gave me some good advice."

Another Lawrence-trained fighter picked up a win on Friday and did lift a title in the process.

Ben Murphy captured the Southern Area lightweight title, when he outpointed the holder Lee Cook.

It was a contest where neither boxer stopped throwing punches in 10 rounds of scintilating action.

Cook boxed on the back foot for most of the contest, trying to catch Murphy on the counter.

For most of the rounds Murphy was the aggressor and although he was giving away both height and reach advantage, he managed to move under the left jab of Cook and was landing left and right jabs and hooks to both head and body.

Murphy was a clear winner according to referee Jeff Hinds, who scored the fight 99 points to 94 in favour of Murphy, who gave Cook just one round.

In the last fight of the night, unbeaten Stoke Newington fighter Erich Ochieng made it three wins in as many contests, after a two-round stoppage of Plymouth's Jon Harrison.

The Brian Lawrence trained and managed light-middleweight knocked out his opponent with a left hook to the chin, 50 seconds into round two.

l HAGGESTON fighter Danny Arnold is through to the London Schoolboys Class-three under-48kgs final without having to lace up his gloves after being awarded a walkover last Sunday afternoon at York Hall.

The London final takes place at the Five-Star Boxing Club in Harold Hill and he will take on Pat McDonagh from the Lynn BC.

There was disappointment for former Lion club boxer Jack England in his sem-final under-46kg losing against Albert Lee from Body Shots BC by a majority decision.

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