Kynoch & Hobson: A big night in Ayrshire

It would be easy to focus on the stunning surroundings of Trump Turnberry when assessing the quality of Kynoch Boxing and Dennis Hobson’s ‘Fight Academy’ show from this past Friday. You’d struggle to arrive at the hotel and pretend it was your run of the mill venue, but for the show headlined by David Jamieson’s IBO International cruiserweight bout, the powers that be delivered entertainment.  

There was something in the air that night, not far removed from the evening I’d watched Leon McKenzie v Cello Renda in a packed-out York Hall, Bethnal Green. They shouldn’t steal and occupy portions of your memory as they do, but small hall cards with proper tear-ups, supported by that bubbling, almost visibly tense atmosphere take some beating.  

On Friday, East Kilbride’s Jamieson shouldn’t have been in one of those fights. He should have cruised to victory or bludgeoned Sweden’s heavyweight champion, Samo Jangirov. But, when hard work is what you’re accustomed to, it becomes habit. Jamieson had been building this fight up – his first professional title – since it had been announced. With the big cruiserweight, often unfancied as an amateur, you have a fighter more honest than most. He’d told me of his battles with confidence, doubting himself as an amateur and a professional, and when catching up in his room after the fight, he was honest enough to admit the same doubts crept in around the mid-way mark. He soon shook them off, winning his maiden title by unanimous decision.  

The main event provided fans with plenty of twists and turns, but it wasn’t just that contest that people had tuned in for. Reigning Commonwealth champion, Nathaniel Collins, sparkle under the Fightzone TV lights, battering Uriel Lopez who was simply overmatched. You do wonder, when these guys are flown over for six-rounders if there’s an expectation, they’ll be allowed to manoeuvre themselves towards the judges’ or the referee’s scorecards. Not on that night. Collins was superb, slipping in and out of range, punishing his opponent, and hunting an early night. He sat beside me for a chunk of time afterwards, clutching ice against his lead hand, a sign of intent to finish Lopez, and whoever is next. 

The undercard fights provided a mixture of excitement and routine. Kate Radomska performed well, fighting a woman who’d weighed in over a stone heavier than the agreed limit, and therefore struggling with the disparity in strength. It was clear that Radomska was well-schooled, and full of ambition. Her manager, Robbie Flynn, an enthusiastic Irishman leading multiple female professionals, was satisfied with his charge’s performance. Women’s boxing doesn’t throw up many “journeywomen,” due to the shallow nature of its pool of talent, but in outpointing Claudia Ferenczi, Radomska will have gained valuable experience.  

Hamilton’s Jordan Grant was determined to pressure the super experienced Harry Matthews, throwing big shots, and cracking the away fighter early. The pair exchanged some big shots, and Grant remained composed under pressure, delivering his best work consistently. Matthews – a growing legend of the trade – did what he does best, provided an education. You can’t stop everybody, and especially not over four rounds. But Grant was in good shape and forced the fight throughout, winning their super-middleweight contest. It’s hard to predict where he goes from here as that was just his fifth professional fight, so let’s enjoy the journey… 

The chapter of the night’s event that remains unwritten is the rivalry between Uddingston’s Michael McGurk and Greenrigg’s Kieran Smith. Both men are new to the Kynoch stable, and both are returning after their own difficulties, and they impressed, in drastically different fashion. On the night, McGurk took care of Jan Balog – a man I’ve seen more times than some of my close family, with the Scot thumping the Czech fighter throughout two very one-sided rounds. Balog stayed grounded in the second after a vicious onslaught, and McGurk marches on. It isn’t the kind of fight he wants, but after an absence of over three years, it’s probably the dusting he needed. Smith, however, couldn’t dispatch his opponent, Gabor Gorbics. In beating the Hungarian over eight rounds, though, he looked excellent. His shorts read: “Chopper 2.0” signalling a reinvention at middleweight, and he looked the part. Smith can really, really box, and despite to getting the finish, he remains one of our finest talents. The pair continue building up a potential fight, prompting Scottish boxing fans’ excitement. Whether it comes off remains to be seen, but if it does, I’m there.  

Driving home after the show, it occurred to me that Jamieson may be East Kilbride’s first professional champion of any description. And when crowning fighters, watching them fulfil their ambitions, it’s easy to look ahead at what comes next, without focusing on what they’ve managed to achieve. On that night, under those lights, David Jamieson was the main attraction. He exchanged words with commentator Dominic McGuiness and former world champion, Glenn McCrory while walking through the bar and Jamieson welcomed their constructive criticism. That’s his mentality. Build, improve, fight. And those in attendance at the Trump Turnberry won’t forget their night in a hurry; sometimes boxing is that simple.

Main image: Fightzone TV