Jeffries on course after beating the Chill
By Iain Dolan at Ringside
(February 7, 2005) 
Rob Jeffries stayed on course for a shot at the Southern Area lightweight title with a 78-75 victory against Chill John in an eliminator at the Elephant & Castle, London on Saturday.

Both fighters were welcomed to the ring by a loud support to accompany their bizarre choices in music. John entered to the ‘Crazy Frog’ tune and Jeffries to Rockin' Robin. Frivolities over, the boxers got down to business. The opening round was a little scrappy with the fighters feeling each other out and jockeying for position. In the second both were more aggressive and John fell in the corner. It was only a slip, much to the disappointment of the Jeffries supporters who reacted loudly to what they thought was a knockdown.

Over the next couple of rounds Rob tried to turn a slight advantage into a bigger one as he moved forward constantly looking for an opening and landing with some good body shots and a left hook right at the end of the third. Chill was tight in defence for the most part though and was always firing back. At the end of the fourth a combination from Rob stiffened his opponent momentarily and bloodied his nose, but Chill reacted well with shots of his own and the chance for Jeffries to capitalise was gone.

Rob landed a couple of good hooks in the fifth but looked to be tiring slightly in the sixth, despite still being on the front foot. However, Chill connected with a right hook of his own sensing the chance to turn the tide. John continued to try and claw his way back in to the contest in the seventh, with Jeffries looking increasingly tired. In the final round both men came out looking for a strong finish to impress the referee and several toe-to-toe exchanges had the crowd on their feet. It was a good contest and Jeffries took the decision 78-75 thanks to his better work early in the fight.


Gary ‘Hot Stuff’ Woolcombe and Ernie Smith turned in six rounds of non-stop action at light-middle. Woolcombe always bossed the fight but Smith showed incredible durability and made a big show of "Didn't hurt" every time he was tagged by a good shot - and it happened a lot.

Gary was finding the target with left hooks all through the contest but Ernie continued to laugh them off, even when wobbled slightly in the fourth. In the fifth, Gary seemed to ease up a bit and Ernie enjoyed some parity for a while before a return to form in the final round.

Even though Gary was constantly on top Ernie never really looked in trouble and actually seemed to be enjoying himself most of the time. Gary took a 60-54 decision. After the fight, Woolcombe, who moved to 13-0, had his left hand packed in ice. I doubt this suggests that he has fragile hands, more that Ernie Smith has a hard head.

There was even more showboating from Hull veteran Tony Booth when he met debutant Junior McDonald at cruiserweight. Junior started confidently, picking his shots as though keen to use as many different punches as he could early on. Tony, who had a sizeable support down from Hull, didn't throw much but tied up McDonald whenever he got too close for comfort.

In the second, Booth started to showboat, flexing his well-insulated muscles and posturing to crowd. All the time McDonald was getting home with jabs but looking a little confused by the clowning. In the third, Tony threw a couple of wild hooks as though to remind everybody that he was actually a boxer and not Butterbean's little brother and they certainly would have done some damage had Junior not been on his toes.

In the final round the exhibition of clowning continued and a solid right hook and powerful uppercut from Junior didn't prevent Tony from doing the Ali shuffle and shouting encouragement to his supporters. McDonald took an easy 40-36 verdict on his pro debut and most of the crowd finished the fight with smiles on their faces thanks to Booth’s antics.

At super-feather David Bailey felt aggrieved not to get the verdict against Mickey Bowden over six threes. David was always on the front foot and pressing the action although Mickey countered well and scored with the cleaner shots. Mickey landed a good left hook in the fourth but David came right back and carried on as the aggressor. As is so often the case it came down to interpretation of ‘effective aggression’ and the referee awarded Bowden a 58-57 decision, which caused some consternation in the crowd.

Bowden is due to meet Dagenham hotshot Kevin Mitchell for the Southern Area title soon and Kevin was ringside, so I asked him what he thought of the fight. Kevin nodded towards Mickey and said: "I give him a round." I asked if that meant he agreed with the decision, to which he responded: “No, I meant I give him a round when he gets in the ring with me. He boxed well, but I didn't see anything there to worry about.”

Clint Smith, also making his debut, didn't get it all his own way against Leeroy Williamson at light-middle and tired towards the end of the six two minute rounds. But Clint did enough work and scored with some good clean shots to take a 59-56 decision.

Lee Cook squared off over four threes against late sub Billy Smith at light-welter and was possibly surprised by the ambition shown by a "S/O", as Billy pressed from the off. Cook found his rhythm and connected with some neat combinations and a good left hook in the third to finish up a comfortable 40-36 winner.

First fight of the night featured another debutant, Paul Buckley starting out against legendary namesake Peter over six twos at light-welter. Cheered on by a good support, Paul found his way through Peter's cross handed guard with jabs and a couple of combinations to earn a 59-55 decision.

The lack of knockdowns didn't detract from the evening's entertainment as the fights were competitive and the crowd lively. Frank Maloney came over to say hello at one point and even knew my name. It was a nice gesture and a good night
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