By Jake Collins (@MelancholyFolly)
Last night Cyclone promotions hosted the eponymous York Hall Brawl in front of a lively crowd in the East End. Headlining was Wales’ Andrew Selby as he took on Maximino Flores from Mexico in a WBC Flyweight title eliminator. There was also a healthy undercard supporting the main event. Selby was risking his unbeaten record of 9-0 against the pressure fighter and was looking to put on a show in front of the vocal watchers.
Flores started the fight with predictable enthusiasm, applying lots of pressure on Selby and throwing a lot of shoes. He wasn’t really able to land on Selby but the fervour of the Mexican was at least forcing Selby to put a shift in early doors. Selby himself was having trouble landing clean as he was unable to find his rhythm in the first couple of rounds. By the third however he’d started to take control and the pattern of the fight hardly changed from there. Selby was manoeuvring around the ring constantly, never really staying in one place for more than needed. He spent the vast majority of the fight in his own corner, an old trick used to preserve your energy and drain the opponent just a little as they have to walk further back at the end of rounds. Selby had started to showboat by the midway point, doing the occasional shuffle and throwing his hands up in the air. Sure, he’s a class above this guy but it’s quite unpalatable against someone who isn’t exactly a genuine contender and is only fighting outside of his resident Mexico for the second time (this was his 28th bout). All the same, the crowd bought into it and that’s how you sell tickets. Flores (much later in the fight) actually spent a few seconds with his hands behind his back too and successfully evaded some of Selby’s shots, much to my amusement.
Once Selby had taken control by the fifth round, the fight was basically on a loop. Flores did not stop throwing at all and the conditioning of both men was admirable. Flores however just didn’t have any snap in his shots. Selby wasn’t able to hurt him either mind, though it’s hard to say if that’s testament to a tough fighter or a lack of pop in the other. The talent that Selby possesses is evident. He was slipping expertly and was switch hitting to great effect against Flores who was unable to pin Selby down thanks to his footwork. It’ll be interesting to see how far Selby can go at Flyweight. He has quick hands and stylistically looks a nightmare for anyone but I have reservations over his strength at the weight. That said, Flyweight is a division where a world title could be more likely than not for Selby. At times he has an arrogant look about him and I hope that doesn’t make him complacent against the top tier fighters in this division.
Chief support was Robin Dupre against Luke Watkins for the vacant Commonwealth Cruiserweight title. Both guys went into this fight unbeaten and with a lot to prove. Opposite sides of the crowd were cheering for their fighter and the atmosphere really came to life at times. Dupre started well, showing technically he has some very solid fundamentals. He was moving well and catching Watkins as he was coming in. Eventually, Watkins started to get through in the third round with some crisp right hands which make Dupre look uncomfortable. He started to look a little jaded after this and he was dropped by a Watkins right hand in the fourth round. Dupre landed more in the fifth but just couldn’t hurt his man, whereas Watkins was making Dupre look a little ragged whenever he landed. Dupre was landing his right uppercut at will during the fight and this is something Watkins will look back on with wonder as to how he didn’t start to telegraph it. Little did it matter though as he piled the pressure on Dupre in the sixth forcing the stoppage.
Prior to this, Chantelle Cameron stopped a vastly overmatched Bilitis Gaucher in the first round. Asinia Byfield stopped Gabor Gorbics in five rounds. Byfield started well enough but Gorbics made a bit of a fight of it eventually, upsetting Byfield’s rhythm by getting off first. Byfield started to walk his man down and shipped quite a few shots himself. It’s clear he prefers to fit in a more elusive manner but to his credit he eventually dropped Gorbics with a body shot, rendering him unable to continue.
Martin Bakole had a very enjoyable fight with Kamil Sokolowski. Sokolowski has in recent times defeated both Sean Turner and recent Dubois victim AJ Carter. He can certainly box a bit too as he managed to land on Bakole at times. Bakole it has to be said didn’t really need to come out of first gear but I did wonder if he was resting at points or was genuinely gassing a little. Technically, Bakole has an impressive arsenal and can really move his feet when he needs to. He picked up a points decision in the end and showed a solid jab during the fight. Bakole is fun so I hope we see him move through the ranks quickly at Heavyweight. There was also wins for Chris Kongo, Joshua Ejakpovi, Gelasius Taaru and Terry Russell during the event too. No such luck for Ishan Khan though who lost a points decision and was dropped twice by Czech Republic’s Jan Korec, picking up his first career win.by