Contenders Norwich 20 report: Huge upset as Julien Bouteix knocks out Richard Mearns
- Credit: Archant
There was a huge shock in the main event of Contenders Norwich 20, to cap a thrilling night of fights at the Norfolk Showground on Saturday.
Making his professional debut, much-touted prospect Richard Mearns, an unbeaten amateur with two title belts to his name, was knocked out by unheralded Frenchman Julien Bouteix in the very first round of their featherweight MMA clash.
Mearns, who fights out of BST Northampton, was dropped by a jab early in the contest, before he was clipped by a big right hand behind his ear to send him crashing to the mat and sparking wild celebrations by Bouteix and his team.
It was certainly not what the majority of a vocal support at the showground were expecting, but Mearns – with one of the country's top teams behind him – can certainly still be a star in the paid ranks.
While that knockout was unexpected, the best stoppage of the night came earlier on the card courtesy of young Bury St Edmunds bantamweight fighter Jake Nichols, who crumpled foe Chey Veal with a spinning backfist which turned into a 360-degree punch.
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The unorthodox Nichols, who was making his fighting debut, certainly lived up to coach Windy Miller's pre-fight assessment that he could be 'something special', and looks to be an MMA star of the future.
Indeed, Miller's Blue Wave Academy team had quite a night with three victories from three fights, as both Kyle Smith and Loius Jarrold also picked up impressive wins in their K1 bouts.
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Elsewhere, the main card featured four title bouts, two of which rivalled the Nichols-Veal tear-up for fight of the night honours.
Ipswich's Jack Purdy, of Mamba Martial Arts, used impressive movement and shot selection to claim a split decision over Norfolk's tough Jake Catterall, and with it the 61kg K1 youth title belt vacated by Ben Sell.
And Aadeep Rana and Zeith Mon put on a show in their 73kg pro K1 title tussle, trading vicious kicks and punches as the 1,000-plus crowd roared their approval, with Rana - who suffered a nasty-looking foot injury – taking the split decision win.
King's Lynn's Stevi Ann-Levy defended her 61kg boxing title with another impressive showing, using her trademark movement and stinging combinations to take a wide points win over Leanne Bull.
There was disappointment though in the amateur featherweight title clash between Luke Santarelli and Mantas Smailys, which ended as a no contest after an accidental head clash opened a nasty cut on Smailys' face.
That was a real shame as the fight was bubbling nicely, and one hopes we can see a rematch in short order.
Submission of the night went to Felixstowe's Matty 'Big Dawg' Clarke, who tapped Martin Shaddick out with a head and arm choke in the second round of their super-heavyweight tussle.
- Kyle Smith beat Mauricio Lopes Semedo by UD (50kg K1)
- Jake Sumner beat Kyle Holland by UD (61kg K1)
- Louis Jarrold beat Ben Pincher by UD (75kg K1)
- Aiva Ras beat Damantas Matulevicius by UD (70kg K1)
- Jake Nichols beat Chey Veal by KO in third round (bantamweight MMA)
- Lewis Cresswell beat Josh Smith by TKO in first round (75kg K1)
- Liam Halse beat Josh Trent by UD (70kg K1)
- Marcus Stevenson beat Mantas Uzemeckas by MD (80kg boxing)
- Matty Clarke beat Martin Shaddick by submission in second round (super-heavyweight MMA)
- Jack Purdy beat Jake Catterall by SD (won 61kg youth title)
- Aadeep Rana beat Zeith Mon by SD (won 73kg pro K1 title)
- Luke Santarelli v Mantas Smailys ended as a no contest after accidental head clash
- Stevi-Ann Levy beat Leanne Bull by UD (retained 61kg boxing title)
- Julien Bouteix beat Richard Mearns by knockout in first round (pro featherweight MMA)