Cruiserweight Francis crushes Scott-Briggs on Koncrete card
By Daniel Heath (February 21, 2005) 
Koncrete Promotions warmed Yorkshire hearts with an excellent small hall card on Sunday 20th February at the Octagon Centre, Sheffield.

Top of the bill saw local cruiserweight Simon Francis up his record to 6-0 with a destructive win over Chesterfield's Greg Scott-Briggs over six threes at cruiserweight. Simon was dominant from the off. He produced a number of good right hands, in the first round, off his spearing jab. By the second he was switching stance constantly, bamboozling his opponent. His straight left hands were landing frequently and Scott-Briggs went back to his corner at the end of the session with a bloodied nose. More of the same followed in the third. Simon's jab, particularly from the southpaw stance, was hammering home. The Sheffielder began to throw more combinations and a straight left at the end of the round seemed to trouble Gregg. In the fourth Francis asserted his dominance. A straight left hook hurt Scott-Briggs and the Yorkshireman seized his chance. He followed up with a meaty left hook, Greg sagged against the ropes and referee Howard Foster rightly waived the contest off.

After the fight Francis voiced concerns about his fitness, after his first contest in six round class. He was pleased with the win however and felt confident of overcoming rival Neil Dawson. He claimed he was 'a lot better fighter', 'was producing quality work in the gym' and added he couldn't wait for a much-awaited Area title clash later in the year.

Dawson was less impressive in beating Blackburn trier Gary Thompson, a man previously stopped by Francis, over six twos. The Rotherham man produced a comfortable shutout win, but may need better against Simon. Neil kept a high workrate from the opening bell. His body attack seemed to be paying dividends in the first and a left hand through the guard, towards the end of the round, personified Dawson's dominance. Neil continued to work well behind the jab thereafter, but seemed troubled finding his range and was tending to smother his work up close. He was comfortably in control though. He began to use the uppercut more effectively in the second half of the fight and his body shots were the cementing the rounds. Howard Foster had no hesitation awarding the fight 60-54 in Dawson's favour. Neil complained of a damaged left hand in his post-fight interview; a injury he sustained in the workplace earlier that week. He remarked he was very confident of derailing Francis, claiming he had the perfect style to beat him. It certainly looks like an intriguing clash of Yorkshire unbeatens to look forward to later in the year.

Sheffield middleweight Dean Walker bounced back over six twos, against Rotherham-based Afghani Mo. The contest got of to slow start; Walker's hooks on the inside perhaps edging him the first couple of rounds. Mo stalked his opponent around the ring, but was throwing surprisingly little leather. When he did, Dean was getting the better of the exchanges. Mo was also warned by trialist referee Kevin Durandt about his use of the head. By the second half of the contest it had become scrappy. Walker was outworking his opponent and seemed to producing more of the quality work. Mo seemed to be more aggressive in the last, as Walker slipped to the canvas. However Dean was still producing the more accurate shots and clearly warranted the victory. If anything Referee Foster's scorecard (58-56), judging from ringside, seemed a little generous to the Afghanistan man.

Fight afternoon was 6x2 minute round contests between young welterweights Scott Conway of Deby and Sujad Elahi of Bradord. Scott was well-supported; his fans accounted for a significant percentage of the arena. Both were 1-1, and it looked a good contest on paper. So it turned out. Elahi started brighter. He couldn't seem to miss with his left hook, although Conway was connecting with straight punches of his own. The second was tighter, as the fight exploded. Sujad was throwing a lot of punches, many of which were connecting. Scott was firing back though; his right hands were making an impact. The Yorkshireman may have edged the round, but it was close. Haywood definitely clinched the third however. The fighter began to trade, but Scott's work was the crisper - particularly his straight tight hands. Elahi responded well in the fourth with a fast opening. He began to throw an enormous amount of punches, many of which were reaching their target. The Derby man fought back gamely, but conceded the round. The bout had another twist in the fifth however. Sujad began to tire and Scott capitalised on this. He pinned his man on the ropes and began o throw accurate combinations. It was excellent stuff and all to play for as we entered the final stanza. Both were very tired by this point, but determined to earn the win. Elahi perhaps was more accurate and quicker to the punch, and maybe merited the win. Steve Gray from ringside (trialist ref Durandt officiated again) scored them even at 58-58. There can be no serious complaint at that and a rematch would be superb.

Another good contest saw local light-heavyweight John Ibbotson (1-0) tackle in form Battersea man Nick Okoth over six twos. It was close throughout. 'Ibbo' started well behind his jab, but Okoth was game. His solid uppercuts and dangerous right hands earnt him a share of the first. By the second the match was looking a little ambitious for a second fight. Nick was ultra-aggressive and enough was getting through to earn him the session. Ibbotson hit back in the third. He reasserted his jab and began to expose the crudeness of Okoth's attacks. Nick's workrate was relentless though. He was throwing the rights and uppercuts in such volume that John was struggling to keep him at bay. The fourth round was his and the shock looked possible. Ibbotson gritted his teeth however, and came through. As the fight got messy John's meaningful jab and solid straight right were catching the eye. He grinded out the final two rounds, to earn a 59-57 win on Referee Gray's scorecard. It was a good learning fight.

The show-opener saw fringe middleweight contender Michael Monaghan of Nottingham in the home corner for a change. His opponent was former world-tile challenger turned journeyman Howard Clarke. It was a one-sided affair. Monaghan's left and right hooks did not seem to miss as he took control. Clarke tried to target the body in the later rounds, but Michael always seemed a few steps ahead as he eased to a 60-54 decision on Referee Gray's card. A fight with former prodigy Ryan Rhodes, who was seated at ringside, may be an interesting contest.
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