A points decision in favour of Scottish Student Champion Hanna Carlsson against two-time Scottish silver medallist Elaine Greenan crowned a fine evening of amateur boxing in Venue 1, transformed for April 23 into St Andrews’ premier boxing arena.
Carlsson, who fights out of the University of St Andrews Boxing Club, had boxed on the same bill as Greenan at the Scottish Championships just 6 weeks previously, but at a different weight category. Both fighters on that night had been beaten, Greenan ironically coming up against Gardner Moore, a veteran of the University club, and previous Fight Nights. For this bout however, Carlsson stepped up to the 69kg weight category to take on the Livingston boxer.
The night started traditionally late, but once the crowd had been warmed up by MC Craig Stephen, a hugely experienced announcer, the first bout between Liam Watt of Glenrothes, who will fight at GB Schoolboys next weekend, and Alex MacDonald of Hillpark, both fighting for the first time ever and both before their 15th birthdays. Both fighters started nervously, but once the intimidation factor of the lights and the ring had worn off both produced some excellent boxing in a quality exhibition to kick the night off.
A fierce light heavy weight encounter between Cardenden’s Jay Duncan and Jackson Cooper of St Francis Dundee, which was unanimously awarded to the Dundee fighter after a close opening, but some sharp left hooks from Cooper saw him take a comfortable victory.
Another Glenrothes product was in the ring next, as welterweight Ross Freil took on Jimmy Larsdan of Dunfermline. Freil took an early pop to the nose and had to be taken aside and cleaned up by the referee at least twice, but fought bravely, boxing well from the outside to gain a unanimous decision from judges.
The last bout before the intermission saw the first University fighter take to the ring. Kyle Wong in the lightweight division was up against Jona Howard from Dunfermline ABC. Wong flew out of the blocks, punching from bell to bell, and at one point was deducted a point for blows to the back, but this can be attributed to the adrenaline causing him to over-reach. Howard was counted down in the first round after Wong landed a fine straight left, and another mid-way through round two saw the towel thrown in from Howard’ corner, as it became clear that Wong’s speed and strength was just too much, to the delight of the partisan crowd.
After the intermission, another St Andrews boxer, Alfie Pace, made his debut in a light welterweight bout against the vastly experienced James Mapite, another from St Francis Dundee. Pace started nervously, but used his superior range and jab to keep his opponent out as much as possible, but when Mapite did break through he was ruthless on the inside, and Pace was counted down inside the first two minutes. Pace’s defence certainly improved in the second, but as he tired in the third Mapite took him apart and a barage of punches with Pace on the ropes saw the referee stop the fight, despite a valiant effort from Pace, whom Craig Stephen picked out as his most impressive fighter of the night.
The penultimate fight of the night was a high quality encounter between two experienced lightweight boxers: Ryan McKelvie of Glenrothes and Scott ‘The Shark’ Clark. Probably the most interesting tactical battle of the night, with McKelvie coming forward more and Clark attempting to pick his punches off on the counter. McKelvie looked the more settled of the two, and certainly Clark was heaving hard at the first bell whereas McKelvie looked serene. His serenity was broken in round two when Clark caught him on the counter with a fine punch, but his dominance continued nonetheless, and despite a strong finish from Clark, it was too little too late.
Mark Smith, originally from Glasgow, but fighting for the University of St Andrews, walked on next to huge support from the crowd to take on 19-year-old Keiran Herd of Cardenden. Smith opened sharply but took an early cut to the face, which caused him problems throughout the fight, but his bodywork continued. Herd did well to defend but took one or two fierce hits, responding in turn with some big counter-punches. The third round was all out as both boxers sensed a chance for victory. A close fight it seemed, and a close fight it was, as a split decision handed a bloody Smith the victory sending the stands into pandemonium.
The crowd kept the noise and excitement going for Carlsson’s feature fight, and the home victory was the perfect way to end an thrilling night’s boxing.
The Boxing Club were raising money on the night for Families First, a local charity who help vulnerable children between the ages of five and sixteen. Please do take time to visit their website and donate.