Leeds champ delivers ‘knockout’ performance in front of home crowd
Leeds’ boxing champion, Reece Cartwright, proved his ‘world’-class abilities once again last weekend as he made a successful first defence of his Middleweight title in front of a packed audience.
Over 800 people turned out on the night at the Royal Armouries New Dock Hall to see the local ace retain the IBF Youth World Middleweight Champion against the tricky Croatian, Jerko Galesic.
Prior to fight night, there was no doubt that the heavy-hitting Galesic, the challenger and number one contender for the IBF Middleweight belt, had travelled over to the UK just to make up the numbers.
Already stating at the press conference and pre-fight weigh in that he was going to ‘knock Reece Cartwright out’, he made his intentions very clear from the start of the contest.
One may have considered this pure hype however Team Cartwright knew that this guy was not to be taken lightly considering his knock out ratio.
The fight began with Galesic racing out of the stocks fast, leaping on to his Yorkshire opponent. His intention – to obviously shock and rip the title away from the champion by smashing in a spiteful and wicked left hook to Cartwright’s head followed by a big over-hand right busting the champ’s nose.
Cartwright, to his credit, was able to quickly return fire with blistering multi-punch combinations and so the battle of the warriors began to sway back and forth. Wicked severe body punches from the challenger were met by trademark jabs and skilful movement from Cartwright.
The local fighter manager to land a string of jolting big right hands, as the crowd jumped to their feet with the fight swaying one way then the other.
Galesic aggressively surged forward throwing punches and doing damage as if his very life depended on it, in which in his mind it probably did. He was proud and stubborn. Despite his aggressive approach, Cartwright continued to rally back with a barrage of punches of his own. Like true warriors they tested each other’s resolves to the max.
After an action packed opening, the major turning point came mid-way through the eighth round when Galesic suddenly slowed in his pace and movement, no doubt the intensity of the fight had taken its toll. Cartwright saw this as his chance to step up the pressure on his opponent and fired off again with his trademark ‘ram rod jab’, only this time like a world war one Gatling machine gun.
Peppering Galesic’s blood leaking face with jab-after-jab before, the title holder was clearly on top, and then, out of nowhere, boom. Cartwright sent a big body shot to his opponent’s solar plexus, sending the Croatian hard man back to his corner in crippling pain at the end of the round.
Cartwright’s corner team immediately picked up on this and, upon sending their fighter out for the ninth round, clearly instructed him to set the deadly traps as per the game plan.
The champ quickly began with an assault of fast pinpoint accurate jabs followed by a barrage of multiple punches ending with a crushing right hand so devastating it sent Galesic crashing to the canvas floor.
The fallen 22-year-old was by now all but destroyed and could give no more, resulting in ‘A’ star referee, Howard Foster, jumping in to stop Galesic from further punishment.
The battle was over and Cartwright had won.
The atmosphere was electric and deafening as the ref jumped in and brought the battle between the two warriors to an end. Compassionately, champion Cartwright went to check the well being of his fallen adversary.
On Galesic’s recovery, both fighters embraced in a sportsmanlike manner. Cartwright was soon lifted a hoist by his team and embraced the adulation from the adoring crowd many of which had travel down from Scotland to support their world champ.
The coronation ceremony soon followed, with Cartwright awarded the official victory via a ninth round TKO decision.
Like a crown being placed upon a kings head, the champ collected his IBF Youth World Middleweight Championship and was bowed to by his many subjects. In his previous remarks, he did not feel like he was a real champion until he had retained the title as he had previously won a vacant championship.
This was truly a fantastic contest where two young unbeaten talented fighters gave it their all. Cartwright retained the championship.
One can only say what a phenomenal fight and a fantastic night. It had everything: blood, sweat, tears and passion and where else at The Royal Armouries, a fitting location.
In the post fight interviews, Cartwright gave great plaudits to his opponent by saying: “It was a very good fight Jerko, you are a very good fighter.
“Listen you will be a champ, trust me you will be a champ. Last night the fans really enjoyed it, I really enjoyed it. You are respected by me as a fighter. All my fans, everyone in England and Scotland respect you. You have done Croatia proud.”
Champion Cartwright now moves on to a record of 15 fights with 15 wins and eight KOs. Rumours are rife that he will next fight German WBO Youth World Middleweight champion, Jan Meiser, in an eagerly awaited unification match up. A mouth watering England v Germany clash.
Elsewhere on the night, not forgetting the undercard leading up to the main event, top prospect Leeds Featherweight Zahid ‘The Magic Man’ Hussain continued his winning streak with a unanimous decision against Bulgarian Stefan Sashov
Bradford’s Lightweight Femi ‘The Fire’ Femitola, on his comeback after a two year absence, wins a unanimous decision against Manchester’s Jamie ‘The Devil Child’ Quinn.
Middleweight veteran prospect, Danny Kennedy, recently back from Australia, won by unanimous decision over tough Lithuanian Arvydas Trizno.
Shock of the evening was the highly rated Guernsey Bantamweight Brad Watson who lost by a unanimous decision to the surprisingly tricky Joseafat Reyes Gomez from Spain.