Jason Booth defeats Rocky Dean - Full Ringside Report
By Iain Dolan at ringside for Doghouse Boxing (July 2, 2009) Photo © Jane Warburton, MMG  
A good crowd turned up at a hot and sweaty York Hall on Tuesday night. The main event saw the continued rehabilitation of Nottingham Super-Bantam Jason "2 Smooth" Booth (8st 9lbs 1 oz). He certainly lived up to his nickname as he won a wide, unanimous, decision over game but out classed Rocky Dean of Thetford (8st 9lbs 2oz). The fight was scheduled for twelve and was for the British Super-Bantamweight title.

A lively first round saw both boxers busy and a cut on the forehead for Booth from an accidental clash of heads.
Dean constantly moved forward but couldn't land anything meaningful as Booth countered and moved effectively. Rounds two to four were much the same, Rocky on the front foot, throwing lots of shots and spurred on by large and vocal support from the York Hall crowd. Jason countering with scoring, if not hurtful hooks and spinning out of trouble with nimble footwork at the first sign of trouble. Jason did land a big right in the fourth that shook Dean momentarily. Dean enjoyed some good moments in the fifth where sustained pressure followed by a flurry of punches from both hands had the crowd on their feet and urging him forward. The sixth turned a little scrappy and both fighters earned a talking to from referee Ritchie Davies but it was Booth's round again.

With rounds already in the bank Jason continued with the tactics that had served him so well in the first half of the fight and continued to pick off Rocky almost at will as his advances became increasingly desperate. For all his superiority, a stoppage never looked likely but Booth's combinations to head and body as well as his footwork were text book and far too much for poor Rocky who sustained a cut of his own over the left eye in the ninth. Rocky continued to press but was turned easily by Jason whenever he looked like sustaining an attack. Booth continued his dominance in a similar vein over the closing three rounds and took the verdict 119-109, 119-109 and 120-108. For so many punches to be thrown by both fighters on such a hot and humid evening was a testament to the conditioning of both. Promotor Frank Maloney has vowed to do his best to get Booth a title shot and, despite his lack of power, it will take a better than average fighter to beat Booth on this form.

The main support at featured Olympic medalist Darren Sutherland of Dublin (12st) in what was supposed to be a routine fourth professional outing against Ukrainian Gennadiy Rasalev (11st 13lbs). Nobody had told Rasalev though as he really came to fight despite being 2-1 and there purely as "opponent". Sutherland began as though he was intent of putting on an exhibition and went through an array of shots, enjoying sucess with the straight right to the body and hooks from both hands and looking very slick offensively. However, he neglected his defensive duties a bit and anything sloppy, Rasalev countered with a hurtful shot.

Early in the Second Rasalev landed two left hooks which hurt and backed up Darren and also cut him under his left eye. Sutherland met fire with fire and recovered with two straight rights and a right hook to regain control of the round. In the third, Darren's class started to shine through and more of his power shots landed and a chopping right opened a nasty cut under the Ukrainian's left eye. Far from disheartened Rasalev continued to mix it even though he was shipping plenty by this stage.

The fight was stopped by referee Mark Green at 1:16 of the fourth because of the cut under Rasalev's eye. Despit his ambition and heart, Rassalev had started to take a bit of a beating so the stoppage was probably the right thing to do. The fallout from the fight being far more competetive than expected was that Sutherland's cut might cause him to miss his next appointment on July 10th and that Rasalev may well have fought himself out of future pay cheques for being an opponent! I spoke briefly to Darren afterwards, an eloquent and classy guy, he paid tribute to Rasalev's ambition and suggested that he might have had a martial arts back ground despite his lack of pro boxing experience.

Earlier in the evening, Thamesmead's Mene Edwards (12st 10lbs 8 oz) made his paid debut at light-heavy against Lee Nicholson (13st 2 lbs). Edwards, flashy and slick from the off, dropped Nicholson with a left hook and then stood over him with his tongue out. This earned short shrift from the ref who shoved Edwards towards a neutral corner. Edwards dropped his man again with a second left hook shortly afterwards but couldn't find the finishing shot before the bell. It mattered not as the referee called a halt to the action during the interval. This prompted a moon-walk celebration from Edwards, which we shall assume was a Michael Jackson tribute and not further silliness from someone with 3 minutes professional action under his belt. Edwards looks the part as a fighter, he doesn't need the antics unless he's going down the Anthony Small route.

Elsewhere on the card Swanley's Martin Welsh (10st 8lbs) earned a 40-36 decision over Nuneaton's spirited Christian Laight thanks to his cleaner work, including an eye catching left hook in the third. Also Harrow favourite Akaash Bhatia (8st, 13lbs 8 oz) lost his "0" via a 96-95 decision in a 10 round tear up with Welshman Jamie Arthur (8st 12lbs 8oz).

It was a good card again from Maloney. A healthy attendance for a Tuesday, plenty of good action and good performances from the fighters considering the tropical conditions in York Hall.

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