Lewicki and Karami fight to second successive draw

Last July, Ryszard Lewicki and Bahadur Karami engaged in a small-hall war in a leisure centre in Oldham. After six rounds of carnage, their fight was declared a draw.

A rematch was inevitable, and the two middleweights renewed hostilities on Saturday night’s Black Flash Promotions' card in Manchester.

As so often happens, their rematch didn’t catch fire in the same way as their first meeting, but it was still a hard-fought, physical affair. Poland’s Lewicki is the more talented boxer and after previously getting drawn into a toe-to-toe battle with the Iranian-born Karami he boxed nicely behind his jab, moving and avoiding the crude Karami’s lunges. Karami, who warms into fights, began to up the pressure and intensity as the rounds passed, and by the midway point was spending more time engaged in the type of close quarters battle he relishes. 

Lewicki regardless always seemed a step ahead. He landed the better shots when they were at range and had a tighter defence inside. It wasn’t pretty and he made harder work of it than he needed to but his was always the more eye-catching work. Karami pushed himself on but the fire he usually brings to the ring wasn’t burning quite as brightly.

After six rounds, the fighters made their way to the centre of the ring for the official result. Ninety-five per cent of observers appeared to feel Lewicki had done more than enough to correct the only blemish on his record. The referee Darren Sarginson — who it has to be said had the closest view of everybody in the arena — disagreed and declared the fight another draw.

Nelson Birchall likes to fight. The exciting 19-year-old southpaw was a highly decorated amateur and is clearly a precocious talent but, at heart, loves to scrap. Birchall turned what could have been a routine four-round workout at super featherweight against Nicaragua’s Miguel Zamora into an entertaining three-round fight. The eager Birchall got hit with too many right hooks during exchanges but although he clearly felt one in the opening round, he was never seriously troubled. His trainer Michael Jennings will tighten his defence up.

After two competitive rounds, Birchall used his jab to set up a straight left hand and Zamora never truly recovered. Their fight was stopped at 1.07 of the third.

Niall Brown may not be well known outside of Manchester but that could quickly change. It is just under three years since the former muay Thai champion seemingly came from nowhere and quickly caught the eye as one of the most promising prospects in the north west. Trained by Pat Barrett, Brown produced some eye catching early performances; a hand injury slowed him down last year, but on Saturday night the 26 year old middleweight consistently impressed.

At his best, Brown is a rhythmic, front-foot fighter with a solid jab and the ability to finish a fight. He was back to his best on his way to a sixth-round stoppage of the Mexican Fernando Valencia. Brown intensified the pressure he was applying as the fight went on and the finish came from a beautiful short left hook at 1.24 of the final round. There are big plans in place for him; he looks ready for that step up.

Shaw’s Tom Rafferty remains unbeaten after outpointing Ukraine’s Serhii Ksendzov over six rounds at super middleweight. Ksendzov was dropped in the fourth round by an overhand right. Rafferty is constantly improving under Steve Maylett, but he slowed things over the last two rounds.

Sometimes a fighter stands out at the very beginning of their career. The opposition may not be great and the results might not be spectacular but there is something about some fighters that catches the eye. Zimbabwe’s Ndaba Ndebele is one of them. Ndebele returned after a year out to stop Stephen Jackson in the third round due via an eye injury. He has a long way to go but at 25 the bantamweight looks to have something about him. 

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