Fightzone Review: Jack Massey Impresses in Sheffield
By Louis Devereux
Small hall boxing may have suffered greatly in 2020, but if Friday night’s Fightzone show was anything to go by, it’s back with a vengeance. In fact, it feels strange even referring to it as a small hall show, as there was nothing small time about this event.
Some of the biggest names in British boxing were wandering around (Kell Brook and Ricky Hatton to name just a couple), there were hundreds of fans, the production value was off the scale, and there were some cracking fights taking place at the centre of it all.
John Patrick Harker opened the night with a pretty routine points win to get the first win of his professional career, and Rhys Edwards won in similar fashion over the much-loved centurion journeyman Jamie Quinn.
With the exception of Hannah Baggaley and Hannah Rankin’s bout (no winner announced on account of it being an exhibition), the next few fights all ended the same way.
Dan Catlin, Zak Miller and Josh Holmes carried on the streak of decision victories, and it was the chief support that saw the first stoppage of the night.
Iain Martell blew his opponent out inside a single round, with a huge body shot finishing what appeared to be a foregone conclusion. It was an explosive and dominant showing, but the main event was the most exciting fight of the night without a doubt.
Jack Massey came out to huge home support, winning the IBF European Title with what was probably his most impressive performance to date. The fourth-round stoppage topped off what was already a great night, and the fans (much like myself) went home happy.
There were a number of stars that showed their face, much to the excitement of the fans, former world champions Anthony Crolla and Glen McCrory were on punditry duty, fan favourite Dave Allen and newly crowned world champion Sunny Edwards were also in attendance and Kell Brook and Ricky Hatton were stood amongst what appeared to be hundreds of people all wanting a handshake or a picture, and understandably so.
Unless you have been to one of these shows yourself, it’s difficult to explain what the atmosphere was like. The outdoor summer setting gave the whole event a chilled-out festival feel, and yet there was certainly a twinge of suspense in the air as the headline act drew nearer.
This was an incredible production, and one I can say I’m proud to have attended; I especially enjoyed being given media ringside seats (I was just happy to be there in all honesty.)
At one point, James Moorcroft joked that me and Dave Allen looked like a ‘before and after photo’ on account of us having matching white shirts. No offence to Dave, but I’m hoping I was the ‘after’.
Overall, it was an evening I won’t forget in a hurry. My first live boxing show as a journalist certainly lived up to expectations, and I’m still buzzing from the hype of it all. Dennis Hobson deserves full credit for putting on such a high quality, well produced show and having met the man last night I can confirm he is as friendly and polite as you’d expect. Great fights, a great experience and a great night.