Clive Atwell clinches bantamweight crown, Edmond DeClou retains middleweight title
By Michael Benjamin
On a night of fistic fury where three boxers failed to beat the count, Clive Atwell stopped Rudolph Fraser to take the local bantamweight title, while Edmond DeClou pounded out a lopsided unanimous verdict over Joel McRae to retain his local middleweight belt. Debutant, David Thomas also made light work of Gladwin Dorway, dumping him on the canvass for the full count at 2:35secs of the second round while Kwesi ‘Lightening Struck Assassin’ Jones fulfilled his pre-fight prediction and disposed of Kelsie George 1:28secs after the first bell had sounded.
Boxers have always taken counseling in the old adage, ‘train hard and fight easy’ and Clive Atwell seemed to have benefited from such instructions when he converted weeks of hard work into three minutes and twenty seven seconds of blistering fury to dispose of Rudolph Fraser and claim the local featherweight title at 27secs of the second round.
It was clear that both boxers had something to prove when Fraser and Atwell commenced fighting. There was no room for formalities or the usual ‘feeling out’ process. Atwell waded into his opponent with several right hooks to his ribcage but the latter fighter took it well and retaliated with several crunching head shots that signaled that the fight was really on. The two then remained locked in combat, awaiting the perfect opportunity to pounce while warily eying each other. Neither could really claim a distinct advantage in this round.
The first stanza was the precursor and the small crowd had just settled for an entertaining match in the second round when Fraser, bustling forward, ended up in the way of Atwell’s left hook. The punch landed with such force that Fraser’s knees buckled and gravity took over. He rose at the 4th of the referee’s mandatory eight count, but it was evident that he had not regained his composure.
He staggered a bit as he attempted to regain his footing but by then the referee decided that he had seen enough and waved the fight off. Fraser attempted to convince the ‘third man’ that he was fine even taking a few steps forward. He merely succeeded in entertaining the crowd with a perfect imitation of the Lambada dance. The time was 27secs into the second frame.
George entered the bout expecting ‘Lightening’ but received a ‘thunderous’ left hook that disrupted his equilibrium and sent him swaying. Jones, in his pre-fight analysis had promised to close up shop sometime in the first round. He did better than that, completing his mission even before George had placed an order, in just 1:28secs of the fight.
Jones had his pride to contend with and a reputation to protect after promising to stop George in the first round. He ensured that the Berbician was unable to get into a rhythmic flow with several head shots that caused him to recoil. George attempted bullying tactics but inadvertently ventured into Jones’ ‘playfield.’ Blow after crunching blow connected and sent him reeling.
Shortly after the bell, an especially wicked punch drifted George backwards and forced the referee to intervene with the mandatory 8 count. George’s face was decorated with small bruises that forced the referee to call in the doctor who, after a cursory check, ordered the stoppage.
Apparently, George felt that he could have rallied on and the doctor’s decision infuriated him to such an extent that he left the ring in a disgruntled state. Such aggression was more than he had given in the actual fight.
DeClou entered the fight assured of retaining his belt after McRae failed to make the stipulated weight and was deemed ineligible to fight for the accolade.
Nevertheless, the latter fighter shrugged aside the disappointment and turned in a courageous battle that forced his opponent to call on all his reserves to win the bout. However, like a true professional, DeClou rose to the challenge and prevailed.
McRae seemed to have received special instructions from his handlers and at the sound of the first bell, attacked his opponent’s body with several vicious salvoes. DeClou bided his time and counter attacked and by the end of the first stanza, it was McRae that was backing up. He entered the second round with gusto, blocking DeClou’s straight right and countering with some of his own. DeClou, the taller pugilist, preferred to stay at long range and fire stiff jabs with occasional straight rights. Both boxers then opted to play possum, attempting to lure each other into a sense of insecurity which slowed the action somewhat.
DeClou became uncharacteristically aggressive at the start of the 3rd round and pushed McRae to the ropes with a two fisted assault. McRae blocked up momentarily before responding with several body digs that forced DeClou to abandon his aggression.
McRae looked the worse for wear at the start of the 4th round. Nonetheless, he attacked but was greeted with a crunching straight right that sent him to the canvass, and the referee into action. The Trinidadian based Guyanese beat the count and re-entered the fray but instead of attacking, DeClou smartly changed tactics, electing to box around while landing an occasional ‘cruncher.’
As the fight entered the halfway mark, both pugilists began to show the effects of the grinding encounter. McRae, though, seemed to have gotten a second wind and waded into his man with flailing fists. DeClou would have none of it and stepped on his accelerator. He unleashed several volleys that backed up McRae who sought refuge behind highly held guards. It was a round that McRae dominated and seemed to have won.
DeClou’s superiority became more apparent as the rounds progressed. McRae though, must be complimented for a display of courage. He pushed the CABOFE middleweight champion to the hilt despite being subjected to severe punishment. At one time McRae seemed to be on his last but when DeClou attempted to capitalize, he demonstrated staunch resilience, lashing out with stiff crosses and body punches.
McRae enjoyed an especially good round in the penultimate stanza when he drove DeClou backwards with a two fisted assault. The defending middleweight champion had done a lot in the preceding rounds and appeared tired in the 11th frame. McRae took advantage and pounded in several salvoes that stemmed DeClou’s assault but the latter fighter smartly held out up to the end.
DeClou proved to be the fitter of the two and amidst the heated action, unleashed several ramrod punches to his opponent’s head. McRae refused to say die and matched his adversary’s aggression. He attempted to corner DeClou but the Lindener refused to submit to the ploy, dancing to safety while unleashing jabs and right crosses. When the bell chimed to signal the end of the fight, both pugilists were locked in an exchange but by then, DeClou had done enough to retain his belt. Judge, Andrew Thorne saw the bout 117-111 while Clairmonte DeSouza and Trevor Arno had it 116-111 and 116-112 respectively, for DeClou who retained his local middleweight belt.
Thomas wasted little time with Dorway and after a relatively calm start to the proceedings, unleashed several bombs to his opponent’s body and head. Dorway could feel lucky having benefited from the referee’s discretion after he (Dorway) was the recipient of several crunching and unanswered blows. The referee chose not to intervene but when Thomas connected with a vicious uppercut that rocked his opponent’s head, the referee jumped in to institute the mandatory count after Dorway crashed to the deck. The referee’s count was purely academic since Dorway appeared uninterested of reentering the fray. The time was 2:35secs of the second round.
The action resumes on the Friday July 27 at the same venue.