Fight Night hosts twelve bouts on its return to Venue

Fight Night returned 'by order of the Peaky Blinders' in a huge event in the Students' Union

James Sproston
30th April 2018
Fight Night saw 24 fighters take to the ring, two of which fought in November | Image: Bruce Skelton

Hundreds of boxing fans descended on Venue for the second 2018 edition of Fight Night, and they were treated to yet another sporting spectacle.

After a turbulent event back in November, two fighters returned to the billing as spectators were treated to twelve thrilling bouts in Venue, ten of which going the full distance and decided by the judges.

Kicking off half an hour later than anticipated, an expectant crowd met the arrival of Madeline Matheson with rowdy but jubilant cheers, as she faced off with Vickie Hellings in what, on paper, presented an even bout.

The crowd’s thirst for conviction was quenched by the bout featuring twins Hugo and Tom Hawkins

In reality it was anything but balanced. Hellings’ defence consistently let her down, as Matheson’s left-hand cross repeatedly landed blows on her opponent’s chin. Though it went the full three rounds, Matheson was the clear winner on the night, with the southpaw never looking troubled by Hellings.

Next up, returning fighter Olly Gilby fought rookie Lewis Hogg. Gilby went into this one having been at the epicentre of the raucous that called the event to a halt back in November. As a result, no winner was announced that night, so he went into his fight with a point to prove.

Although Hogg had a clear advantage in his build, Gilby used his experience to take a clear lead after the second round. Despite Hogg’s superior fitness in the third, his efforts were not enough to overcome the earlier deficit in points.

Before the first interval, two further even fights entertained the crowd. Jordan Cook was victorious against Euan Ford in the former of the two, despite hitting the canvas after losing his footing in the first round. The subsequent bout pitted crowd favourite Rosie Stewart come to blows with Steph Strange. Following a fantastic effort from both boxers, Stewart pipped her opponent having dealt several powerful, blood-drawing blows.

The final female fight of the evening came after the first interval, with Rachel Cheng tiring against Laura Chaney in the final round. ‘Whips and Chaney’ sealed the win with a consistent performance and a number of decisive hits in the third.

In indubitably the most disappointing fight of the night, Jack Wallace convincingly beat an unprepared Henry MacAllister, but was not able to finish the fight before the final bell. Both fighters started fast without throwing any punches, but were blowing before the end of the first, leaving the crowd craving more conviction.

Their thirst was satisfactorily quenched with the next bout, potentially the best of the night. It featured twins Hugo and Tom Hawkins, representing Newcastle and Durham universities respectively. Though Tom had superior technique, Hugo hit with greater power, dealing his twin a cut above his right eye that brought the bout to a close in the second round. Afterwards they embraced and posed for photos, proving that the family feud would not ruin Christmas this year.

In the biggest mismatch of the evening, 5ft6 George Hall took on 6ft fresher Nicky Bird. The contest was surprisingly even, and Hall took the fight against all odds, with Bird failing to capitalise on opportunities to uppercut when it mattered.

The second and final interval was succeeded by a win by TKO for Toby Lawrence against the unknown quantity Dan Ford, whilst professional-looking Sam Silson conquered the big unit of Jack Stevenson after three tightly contested rounds.

Penultimately, Koffi Kouadio fought ‘Big Dave’ Ellam in the heaviest bout of the night. Walking out to Oasis’ ‘Morning Glory’, Ellam won the crowd over, and despite his looser physique, snatched victory from Kouadio with a valiant effort in the final round. Stories of his efforts in training had circulated through the media and crowd, becoming a true people’s champion in the process.

12 fights entertained the crowd of a packed Venue during the second Fight Night of 2018

Mirroring the event back in November, Patric Cochrane took to the ring in the final fight of the night, this time faced by Yannick Thompson. Cochrane had only opted to participate the evening before, with Thompson’s two previous proposed opponents dropping out.

Similar to his previous fight, Cochrane looked composed and light on his feet, but Thompson matched him for desire in the first two rounds. Despite what looked like match-clinching third round performance from Cochrane, having bloodied Thompson’s nose, the fight was sent into a fourth-round decider.

Thompson’s resurgence in the fourth could have snatched victory, but the judges opted to award Cochrane the honours yet again, retaining his title at Fight Night champion.

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