It may have been extremely windy and absolutely bucketing down with rain in Bradford, but even the ridiculously inclement weather couldn’t deter around six hundred plucky fans turning out for a special four-bout dinner show.
At the Connaught Rooms, headlined by a ten round non-championship International contest between local hero, two division World Champion Tasif Khan, and top class opponent, Ghanaian Ekow Wilson (16-2-0, 14KOs), fans were buzzing.
The atmosphere was electric when the MC announced the impending headline bout, each and everyone in attendance were on their feet enthusiastically clapping and cheering as Ekow Wilson made his way to the hallowed ring.
However, in comparison the noise level went through the roof when their man Tasif Khan began his ring-walk.
Khan started hard and fast, much to the delight of the partisan crowd, and took the fight to his esteemed opponent. It was clear that Wilson hadn’t made the trip from Africa to just make up the numbers though, as he responded to every Khan attack with equal venom.
The first round was a cracker, both men standing toe-to-toe slugging it out for much it.
Round two was fought in a very similar manner for much of the time, however Khan had really started to get into a dominating flow, throwing some sensational body-shots that clearly affected Wilson. Don’t get me wrong, Wilson held his own for long periods and landed some wicked shots of his own.
Round three was definitely the turning point for Khan; he started strong again and landed some fantastic shots to both head and body. By about the midway point Khan stepped up the pace and landed a seriously vicious body-shot that completed winded Wilson, forcing him to take to drop to his knees.
They definitely breed them tough in Ghana, as he made his way back to his feet before the count reached six. However Khan could sense an early victory and went straight back on the attack.
Wilson clearly wanted to protect himself from more body-shots so came in close and once again it reverted to a sensational toe-to-toe slugfest; that was until Khan did a little step back and let rip with another evil body-shot in the final minute, that forced Wilson to once again drop to his knees and catch his breath, again the tough Ghanaian was on his feet well before the count reached six.
Wilson’s team clearly switched to ‘Plan B’ for the fourth round, the canny lad covering up more to protect his body, in an effort to prevent further Khan Exocets finding their target. It was a fantastic round, fought in a far more technical way than the previous ones.
More of the same in round five, but unfortunately for Wilson, Khan once again found the smallest of gaps in his defense and landed another potentially rib breaking shot, to force the Ghanaian down to the canvas once more.
Amazingly Wilson not only made it to his feet but in the final seconds of the round made life a little difficult for the local hero.
Round six was another cracking round, once more Wilson had decided to keep Khan tied up on the inside, much to the delight of the fans as the duo went at it hammer and tongs.
The crowd, who had remained on their feet throughout the contest, were treated to one helluva seventh round, both men came out with serious intent and what followed can best be described as a full on war!
It was clear that Wilson had decided to revert back to ‘Plan A’ and loaded up some serious big shots, however that meant that opportunities were there for Khan, and boy oh boy did he take them when they opened up, landing some sensational body-shots once more.
As the seconds ticked down towards the final minute Wilson left a gap in his defence, Khan didn’t need a second invitation and immediately let rip with a superb short sharp shot to the body to send the Ghanaian down once more.
The crowd went absolutely mental, believing the fight was over, as Wilson struggled to get to his feet, but no, Wilson once again beat the count, just. What’s more on the restart had clearly decided attack was the best form of defence and a seriously entertaining toe-to-toe slugfest ensued until the bell.
About half way through the minute break Wilson’s corner summoned referee Matt Scriven, after which the referee turned to the officials’ table and signaled that the fight was over.
What followed next was pure pandemonium, Khan, his team, headed-up by former Two Division World Champion and current WBF Intercontinental Welterweight Champion Lee McAllister, and the fans began celebrating in style.
So enthusiastic were the celebrations that it would be a good ten minutes or so before the official result could be announced and the winner’s hand raised. TV crews from both the UK and Pakistan entered the ring along with Khan’s enthusiastic extended team, four of whom proudly carried Khan’s Championship Belts, and surrounded him as the TV commentators tried to interview him.
Eventually Khan was able to undertake the interview, in which he said: “Ekow Wilson is a dangerous fighter with a very good record and high percentage knock out ratio; out of his sixteen wins, fourteen came by way of Knockout.
“Ekow did a lot of talking in the build up to this fight, claiming he has wanted this fight for a ling time, but my team had refused because we were scared, that was utter nonsense.
“I didn’t respond as I wanted to let my performance in the ring do the talking for me, I respect all my opponents and all who get into the ring to fight and to a certain extent my team and I did respect his power and trained accordingly.
“This fight wasn’t about titles and belts this time, it was about pride and setting the record straight, as well as making Ekow show me the respect I deserve as a fighter, we believe we did just that.
“I believe at points I could have made it easier for myself and stuck to my boxing skills, but as we both promised fireworks there was no doubt at some point that’s exactly what the fans were going to get.
“Again I’d like to thank everyone in attendance for making it such an electric atmosphere and a very, very special night, I really appreciate the support and my very enthusiastic fans motivate me to perform at my best.
“I want to say a massive thank you to my sponsors; Kingsland Business Recovery, Broadway Solicitors, Janan Fashion, SouthPaw Fight Gear and Vista Gym, for their continued support in allowing me to give boxing 100%.
“Thanks to the venue Connaught Rooms, a wonderful historic venue in my hometown, after tonight I think this could well be our new home for special events.”