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Sweet revenge as Young keeps hold of title
KELVIN Young retained his Southern Area super-middleweight title and gained revenge over Sam Couzens with a bruising points win at the Oasis last night.
Young, who lost his previous contest against the Titchfield fighter in May, had labelled the bout as a defining moment and the Swindonian rose to the challenge with a career-best performance in front of a baying home crowd.
The better man throughout, the 26-year-old’s punches were noticeably more potent than in previous fights and with Couzens running out of energy in the latter rounds, Young was awarded a 98-91 victory.
Couzens attempted to stamp his authority on proceedings at the first bell but he met with a determined home boxer who forced him into losing his gumshield in the opening round.
Young might have been boxing on his heels but Couzens’ guard was generous at times and the fighter from Penhill was able to connect with scoring shots.
Seemingly encouraged, the 26-year-old started to step forward more, although he was temporarily halted by a heavy right hand to the head in the third.
Couzens had lost his gumshield three times with round four unfinished, and Young felt a wave of support behind him following a neat combination in round five.
The Hampshire boxer fought back and piled through the guard in the opening seconds of seven, but when he lost his gumshield yet again, Young let rip with a dozen headshots before the referee allowed Couzens to retrieve.
Young floored his man with a right hand in round eight and although both fighters acknowledged that Couzens was more off-balance than hurt, momentum was clearly shifting in the Penhill boxer’s favour.
With five hammer shots to the temple in the penultimate round, Young whipped the crowd up into a frenzy and Couzens looked a beaten man.
Even a point deduction in the final three minutes did not throw Young off course and he rightly roared with satisfaction at the final bell.
Meanwhile, light-heavyweight Mark Reynolds’ pro debut under the Horseshoe Gym banner saw him succumb to a points defeat at the hands of Bristol’s Hassan Karadi (39-38).
Entering the ring in glittering England flag shorts and long red socks, Reynolds’ first round was not as flamboyant as his attire.
A tattoo artist by trade, Reynolds had little chance to unleash his power against a useful technical boxer who was solid if unspectacular.
The 33-year-old home fighter sustained damage above his right eye midway through the contest and Karadi went after it straight away, a swinging left at the start of the third signalling his intentions.
Reynolds knew he needed big hits in the fourth but it was the Bristol boxer who continued to make more meaningful connections and he was awarded a narrow victory.
Former Walcot amateur Ben Fitch also saw his professional career begin in defeat as he was outpointed by Newcastle’s super-middleweight Didier Blanch.
Swindon’s Fitch occupied the centre of the ring from the off and Blanch seemed happy to box on the defensive, but it was a tactic that worked well.
The home favourite struggled to get close to his fleet-footed opponent and when he did, Blanch proved a useful operator at close quarters.
Fitch was positive enough but his opponent became aggressive when pinned in the corner, shown most tellingly in round three when the Congo-born fighter unleashed eight unanswered blows to the body when seemingly vulnerable.
The contest moved into tear-up territory in the final round but that still did not play into the hands of Fitch - a double Western Counties schoolboy champion - as he was thwarted continually by Blanch’s swift reactions.
Elsewhere on the card, Bicester’s Daza Usher took his record to six victories from six and inched closer to a title fight with a comprehensive defeat of Smethwick’s Disney Huni.
The welterweight contest was stopped midway through round two and Usher’s winning record remained unblemished.
Tamuka Mucha was a points winner over Brighton’s Kevin McCauley in a one-sided welterweight encounter (60-54).
Mucha was rarely caught by his south-coast opponent and the durable McCauley needed every ounce of his reserves to stay upright.
Reading’s Mucha impressed throughout with an explosive display and there was no surprise when he was awarded the win.
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