Emperor Edwards crowned Southern Area king; Pryce rolls back the years
Crayford's Menay 'The Emperor' Edwards (11-2) was given a tough battle by Watford's JJ Ojuederie (14-8-1) on his way to claiming the vacant Southern Area cruiserweight strap on Saturday.
Topping Steve Goodwin's Trail of Destruction card at the York Hall, Edwards started with a cautious jab, which Ojuederie returned in kind before fast combinations to the body from Edwards caught the eye. There was a bit of early afters, with Edwards appearing to push past referee Jeff Hinds for words with Ojuederie post-bell.
Halfway through the round, Edwards started putting some meaningful punches together. He finished by taking a deliberate sit down in Ojuederie's corner. Referee Jeff Hinds wasn't impressed, and had stern some words at the start of the third.
Lively exchanges in the middle of the ring ensued. Edwards finished the third in the ascendance but decided to block Ojuederie's path back to his corner after the bell went, and was in danger of being DQ'd for horseplay - this was his third liberty.
Some wild swings from both got an even fourth underway. Ojuederie went on to box with his hands down, reacting to Edwards attacks by holding, but as the fight progressed the Crayford man had the better of the close range exchanges and managed to keep his shape.
Ojuederie shook his head at Edwards' work and waved him on. He was edging a mostly cagey seventh round before Edwards launched flurries of shots and chased Ojuederie to the corner and unloaded. Ojuederie weathered the storm to box out the round.
There were signs of tiredness from Ojuederie in the eighth, and he kept his distance, taking advantage of a breather when the tape came loose on his glove. As the action got back underway, Edwards waded in and bullied the Watford fighter with flurries to head and body, but Ojuederie resisted and boxed well in the closing two rounds despite not troubling the Crayford cruiser.
Jeff Hinds rightly scored 97-94 for Edwards, who gets his first belt and his third victory since last year's narrow loss to Rotherham's Neil Dawson, who went on to relieve both Tony Conquest and Chris Keane of their O's by stopping them in the first and second rounds respectively. A return match with Dawson appeals.
Newbridge's former Commonwealth light middleweight champion Bradley 'Sugar Sweet' Pryce (34-13) rolled back the years with a solid, aggressive performance to narrowly outpoint Chingford southpaw Michael Lomax (19-6-1). The closely contested eight rounder certainly delivered the goods entertainment wise, and was a shrewd addition to the York Hall card.
Lomax set about placing his jab in the opener, but his follow ups were avoided by fluid, hands down movement from Pryce, who edged some exciting on-the-ropes trade ups which made it look as if the fight wouldn't last the full eight.
Pryce made himself a difficult target to nail in the second, and caused Lomax to miss with his power shots as the pair traded. Lomax took to the canvas in the third, ruled a slip by referee Mark Green, and rose to counter aggressively before Pryce threw him over and continued with close range pot shots.
Lomax had a good fourth round. He started find success with his jab as Pryce's awkward movement became a little more predictable, and he was able to avoid the Welshman's close range attacks with a little rope-a-dope.
Pryce was out-boxed in the fifth too. Although a fair amount of the Chingford southpaw's work fell wide of the mark, he deftly avoided the returns from Pryce aside from a right hand which found his chin just before the bell.
This buoyed Pryce, who came alive again in the sixth and taunted Lomax from behind his low guard, forcing him into retreat. Lomax took some heavy punishment to head and body in the last minute of the round. Towards the end of the seventh, Price swung in with more heavy shots to take it, before the pair boxed out an even final round.
Referee Mark Green scored 76/75 in favour of Pryce, who proved there's life in the old dog yet. Lomax, unable to beat Pryce both home and away, hinted at retirement after the fight.
Another close eight rounder featured Brentwood's 'Smokin' Joe Mullender (5-0) against the more experienced Gary Boulden (7-9) from Surrey.
Mullender (11st 8lbs 4oz) looks huge, and bobbed and weaved his way towards Boulden (11st 6lbs 12oz) but seemed a little gun shy when in range, which let Boulden pick him off and put the space in the ring to good use. Mullender's aggression started to pay dividends towards the end of the round.
Mullender continued to move into position without throwing, which let Boulden deliver some tidy combinations, but a lot of his work bounced off Mullender's gloves, whereas the Brentwood fighter's uppercuts and close range body shots looked hurtful.
It got scrappy, yet made for good viewing as the pair continued to trade at close quarters. Mullender's work to the body was more eye-catching, but Boulden was coping without throwing anything to halt the forward march, even if Mullender couldn't quite pin him down.
Referee Jeff Hinds scored 79-75 for Mullender. Perhaps a little wide, but the right man got the nod.
Even more from the Trail of Destruction bill to follow. Pictures by Bernard Miller for BoxRec News.