No Mean City: Dear Old Glasgow Town

By Sean Ness on September 14, 2015
No Mean City: Dear Old Glasgow Town
The judges scored the fight 39-36 in favor of undefeated Jamie McGuire (l.). (Sean Ness)

The City Centre venue was alive with the sound of pugilism with credit going to the hardworking, gym running and boxing managing Morrison family…

“I belong to Glasgow, Dear old Glasgow town” and on Friday 4th of September, the beautiful people of this Dear Green Place spent their hard earned cash on the hottest ticket around. Securing their seat at the vibrant chandelier-laden Grand Ballroom of the Thistle Hotel, the five hundred-plus crowd of boxing enthusiasts came together to catch a glimpse of tomorrow’s champions in all their glory. The City Centre venue was alive with the sound of pugilism with credit going to the hardworking, gym running and boxing managing Morrison family. Alex Morrison and his daughter Christine have cemented their family name in the hearts and minds of boxers, fans and pundits alike in this country and while Alex likes to work the crowds inside the venue with a welcoming manner, Christine ensures the whole operation is run smoothly from behind the scenes admitting that she “doesn’t usually get to see the boys fight” due to her hands-on role that further demonstrates why the Father and Daughter team at Alba Promotions go together like trousers.

Kicking off the action-packed card at the Thistle Hotel saw a local fighter and undefeated lightweight prospect Jamie McGuire (4-0 coming in) secure a fifth consecutive win by overcoming his English counterpart and lightweight hopeful, Jordan Ellison (2-0). Despite a shaky start in the opening minutes of a four-round contest, Jamie McGuire’s come forward style armed with a ferocious right hand proved too much to handle for the 20-year-old novice from County Durham. After landing some telling shots in the second round, McGuire connected with a sweet uppercut on Ellison’s chin with the Englishman somehow managing to remain on his feet. McGuire began to ease off his opponent in the third round, however, any hope of Ellison getting back into the fight was short-lived as he was caught napping by a glancing right hand before stumbling to the canvas. Despite getting back to his feet and surviving the remainder of the bout, the writing was on the wall for Ellison as the judges scored the fight 39-36 in favor of Jamie McGuire.

On a stacked card of undiscovered talent, the Glasgow crowd was treated to an extraordinary mouth-watering punch-up. Airdrie’s undefeated Barry Craig (5-0) climbed into the squared circle anticipating a sixth professional win when he faced Rochdale’s Bilal Rehman in his pro debut. Rehman, who fights out of Joe Pennington’s Northside Gym, was dipping his toes in the professional ranks for the first time in Glasgow. Making his debut among a large crowd of Barry Craig’s supporters, the super lightweight contest scheduled for four rounds appeared to be a risky decision to kick off his professional career. However, the ever confident Rehman began his ring walk looking self-assured and ready. On paper, this fight could be perceived as foregone conclusion considering the elements that faced the fighter but it couldn’t have been further from the truth. Bilal “Billy the Kid” Rehman kicked off his introduction to the professional ranks by dictating the pace of the fight from the offset. Barry Craig was unable to maneuver into his most dangerous position on the inside as Rehman pawed at his opponent with a jab that upset Craig’s game plan with frustrating results. Showcasing a slick technical ability, Rehman threw a flurry of punches to Barry Craig’s body before working his way upstairs. As Craig tried to return fire, Rehman’s cat-like reflexes enabled him to slip away without taking any punishment from his opponent. Despite being beaten to the punch, the Airdrie pugilist wasn’t going to take the fight laying down. Round two was upon us as Craig raced out of his corner like a man possessed and immediately demonstrated why he was undefeated at this point in his career. As Rehman began to ease his foot off the gas, Craig swooped in with screaming straight left landing flush on his opponent before throwing in some neat eye-catching body shots. Rehman showcased his exceptional boxing abilities in the latter stages of the fight. Throwing left-right combinations with a tremendous defense, he gave the audience an insight into a skill set that could make him a serious contender in years to come. With four entertaining rounds over, Bilal Rehman was crowned the winner of a bout with epic proportions.

Taking the time to familiarize himself with the Scottish crowd Bilal showed his gratitude and posed for pictures and signing autographs after his gutsy display.“It felt great winning the fight,” he told, “but it was the reaction from the Scottish people who wanted pictures and autographs, they’re amazing.” He explained why he seemed to slow down in the second round of the fight, “I hurt my right hand and had to ease off a bit. But we came with a different game plan to secure the victory” before signaling his intentions of the future. With a training camp in the boxing capital of Las Vegas scheduled for later in the year, Billy the Kid has set his heart on mixing it with the world’s boxing elite.

Later in the evening Scott McCormack (3-0-1) overcame a Dominic Ingle trained opponent in Anwar Alfadli (2-50-4). The Sheffield based fighter tried to mimic another Sheffield fighter, Naseem Hamed, but as soon as the showboating began McCormack punished him for it. Scott secured a points decision sending Anwar to the lobby where I saw him facing the wall with a disappointing look on his face. Stewart Burt (3-0) who fights out of Hayfield in Glasgow beat off competition from Ali Wyatt (4-26-2) with a dominating performance. While Burt looked young, motivated and skillful, Wyatt looked old, tired and past it. It was a miracle that he stayed on his feet throughout the fight with another points decision going to Stewart Burt.

Joe Ham is an entertaining and grounded fighter with five professional wins under his belt with no losses. Three of his dominating performances have come by way of a knockout demonstrating that Team Ham including Joe Ham’s father as his trainer is moving forward with incredible pace. A Commonwealth Quarter Finalist at the games in Glasgow 2014, Joe has come from being a talented amateur boxer to being on the cusp of a serious player in his weight class. On Friday evening, Joe Ham (4-0) possessed the same friendly demeanor that is synonymous with the young Gorbals fighter, however, he had some fighting talk for “I’m ready to rip someone’s head off.” His opponent Miklos Hevesi (1-10) didn’t stand a chance with the Gorbals’ biggest rising boxing star since Benny Lynch. Joe Ham Jr. and Sr.‘s game plan was executed with precision as Joe went straight to work on his Hungarian opponent with various combinations and signature body shots. In the second round, Joe picked off his opponent with a slick one-two combination before throwing another flurry of brutal body shots. Miklos looked in trouble and was unable to continue the fight. With his arms held aloft, Joe celebrated his win and the Glasgow crowd who were in the palm of his hand, sounded their appreciation.

In the final bout of the evening, the charismatic Charlie Flynn (4-0) produced a sensational display of boxing, overcoming Slywester Walczak (4-16-2) without breaking a sweat. With an impregnable defense and an artillery of devastating offensive attributes in his locker, Flynn demonstrated why is hot property on the British boxing scene. With a punch from the God’s landing flush on Walczak, it was a huge surprise that the Polish fighter managed to remain on his feet. However, in the death of the fifth round, Flynn was able to connect with two murderous right hands that sealed the victory for the young talented fighter. Flynn has featured on two of Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Sports boxing shows and I’m positive we’ll see Charlie gain more exposure of the next few months.

With a successful night of boxing on display in my home city, it is with great pleasure to announce another two nights of boxing courtesy of Alba Promotions before the year has ended. The dates are the 16th of October with the final show of the year coming in the 13th of December. Be sure to snap up your tickets and support your local boxing scene and their fighters.

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  1. KB 07:22am, 10/09/2015

    No lad, I am a Yank but I was an International type in my work and Glasgow was one of the stops.. Great people

  2. Sean Ness 06:18am, 10/09/2015

    I lived only a stones throw away from Queenslie Industrial Estate in Easterhouse and later on lived in Hillhead Road in Kirkintilloch. I’ve always been under the impression that you are a Yank. Pleasant surprise.

  3. KB 06:51am, 09/29/2015

    One year in the 70’s. It was in Kirkentillic actually. I worked in the Queenslie Estates industrial Park.

  4. SeanNess 03:36am, 09/29/2015

    How long did you live in Glasgow for Ted?

  5. KB 10:45am, 09/22/2015

    Denis Mina, a great writer, will tell you about this FASCINATING city—in which I once lived.

  6. Eric 07:57am, 09/14/2015

    Was in Glasgow in 1985 and some wanker said I looked like a Cockney.

  7. KB 05:32am, 09/14/2015

    Anwar Alfadli (2-50-4 = holy shit

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