29-year-old Liverpool fighter Tony Bellew retained his British light-heavyweight title on Friday night in front of a far less than capacity crowd at the ECHO Arena against a former European champion in Danny McIntosh of Norwich.
Bellew had been widely criticised ahead of this fight for – some would say – being overly vocal, but the man from Wavertree was cool, calm and collected as he took part in the pre-fight press conference without the attendance of his opponent last Wednesday afternoon.
Both weighed in under the twelve stone seven light heavyweight limit; Bomber tipped the scales at twelve stone six pounds and eight ounces – the lighter of the two fighters – as Danny “Big Mac” McIntosh weighed in just two ounces heavier than the defending champion.
Ahead of the fight – unlike in Bellew’s last outing against WBO world light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly – there was enormous respect between the two men – despite the absence of the challenger at Wednesday’s press conference.
Bomber – three years McIntosh’s junior – said at his Sky Sports presser: “I don’t eat Big Macs but I’ll make an exception on Friday night – he’s getting chewed up and spat out. The problem is that he’s only coming for the cheque, he may walk off with a big payday but he’ll have a big defeat and a bust up face to show for his night,” but McIntosh had vowed to give Bellew something to think about and cause a massive upset. However, this was not the case as every round went to the Everton fan in a fifth round technical knockout win.
The show at the Arena – The Big Bang – which was jointly promoted by head of Coldwell Boxing, David Coldwell and Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn – proved to be a great night and most definitely lived up to the expectations of the pre-fight billing. It was a card which saw the matchmaking skills of both promoters come to the fore as we witnessed ten bouts of great quality.
The day got off to a terrible start with the announcement that Stephen Jennings’ fight was off through the withdrawal of Mark McKray, Jenko’s third scheduled opponent in what would have been only his eighth professional start. Jenko took to his Twitter page on Friday to tell of his disappointment. He said: “Everyone, my fight tonight is off. I’ve had three opponents pull out. I’m absolutely heartbroken and so sorry.”
Nathan Brough showed us all what we had been missing in the first fight of the night, winning every round in a 60-55 points victory against William Warburton of Atherton in Lancashire in his comeback fight due to hand problems. Brough now has a pro ring record of 7-0-0. The first fight was then quickly followed by Hosea “The Hammer” Burton of Gallagher’s Gym. The Manchester man defeated Poland-born Robert Studzinski. Next we saw a knockout – Andy Colquhoun of the CBF Gym in Liverpool knocked unconscious his opponent Dan Naylor in the final round of their fight at the Arena. Paramedics and doctors were in the ring within seconds to ensure the well-being of Naylor, who in the end – which was good to see – got up and walked to his dressing room despite being somewhat dazed. The next three fights were points victories for Mark Thompson, Scott Cardle in only his second outing and Darren Hamilton. Hamilton, who fought former British lightweight challenger John Watson Jnr. of Liverpool, seemed the more clinical of the two on the night and in my opinion, the referee was right to give the decision to the man fighting out of London via Bristol, simply because there wasn’t enough work rate from Watson. Joe Tonks of Oliver’s in Salford and Quigley’s Gym’s Nick Quigley both managed to add wins to their records on the night, too. There was one draw – that was Matty Clarkson & Jeff Evans.
Come 22:00, when the live broadcasting started, it was time for the talking to stop and the action to begin. Bellew had called McIntosh “Disrespectful” ahead of this fight and Danny McIntosh was out to prove the man from Wavertree wrong. Fortunately for the Liverpool public, it never happened that way, as after five rounds of boxing, the referee called a halt to the fight and said that McIntosh was in no fit state to continue.
Tony went in with the intention of finishing this fight off early – super early. He was in control from the sounding of the first bell to the ding-dong of the last. The Bomber went in looking to load up the big right hand all the time. He landed a few meaningful punches in the openers that seemed to hurt McIntosh. As the Norwich-man knew the fight was getting away from him and Bellew began to take control, he turned on the dirty tactics – removing his gumshield threefold. Then there was even more controversy as – on the third spit of the shield – McIntosh walked back to his corner winking at an attendee in the front row.
Although Bomber hadn’t managed to land the bomb in the first three rounds, he managed to put Big Mac on the seat of his pants in the fourth. He had more joy with it in the fourth and fifth rounds as McIntosh tried his very best to attack but instead left his defence wide open.
The bomb finally came midway through the fifth as Bellew put McIntosh down for the second time. By then, the referee had seen more than enough and waved the fight off. This left a quarter-full ECHO Arena in fits of celebration as Tony’s name rang around the 10,000-seater.
Tony “Bomber” Bellew defeated Danny “Big Mac” McIntosh in the fifth round to successfully defend his British light-heavyweight belt.
In a word: clinical.