Controversial decision prevents a clean sweep for Ryan Walsh
Mark Green is a brave man. Having officiated 10 excellent rounds of boxing between Ryan Walsh and Ronnie Clark, all that remained for him to do was raise the arm of the Cromer fighter.
Walsh had already been lifted higher by older brother Michael, while Clark and the fans who had followed him down from Dundee, appeared resigned to the inevitable.
When the ring announcer began to read the referee's score, faces began to drop. Walsh 95 points. Clark 95 points. A draw. While local mouths fell open in disbelief, Clark and his corner celebrated as if they had won the prize, the British Masters super-featherweight belt.
Walsh looked at Green in disbelief, trainer Graham Everett and the senior Walsh brother Michael were, like the partisan crowd, a little more vocal. Green was perhaps the only man in the building who didn't think Walsh had won it. True, Clark had him rattled in the second round, drawing blood from Walsh's nose, but the local man evened it up and, certainly in the latter stages, dominated.
Clark swung and missed, one wild, flailing right arm carrying a G-force that almost span him the full 360 degrees, inviting a savage Walsh attack that would have floored other men. In rounds eight – which featured the unedifying sight of Clark running around the ring for a couple of minutes – and nine you wondered how the Scot stayed on his feet and his determination to come out all guns blazing for the 10th and final round was simply an admission that he needed a knockout to avoid going home empty-handed.
He didn't get it, but it seems he didn't need it anyway.
Any complaint to the British Boxing Board of Control is likely only to find a sympathetic ear at best; it won't change the record books, which show that, after 14 wins on the trot, Walsh now has a draw on his record. That won't change – but don't expect to see the 26-year-old involved in any super-featherweight match-ups any time soon.
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'I will be 9st for my next fight, I will be pursuing titles at 9st next – 9st 4lb is too much,' he said.
Walsh's draw followed a trio of wins for city fighters on a card reduced to five bouts – Michael Walsh's opponent couldn't make it, while Norwich's Danny McIntosh and Beccles' Joe Payne pulled out. It was disappointing for promoter Mervyn Turner, who managed to persuade two others – Dee Mitchell and Ahmet Patterson – to join the bill at late notice, but will still have gone home with a gaping hole in his pocket.
The shows are to help promote local fighters and endangering them does lads like Scott Moises and Nathan Dale no good at all. As it was, both enjoyed good wins, while Sam Sexton clubbed his way to a second-round win.
Moises was a 40-36 points winner over Ibrar Riyaz, while Dale stopped Sammy McSpadden in the fourth round to take his record to seven straight wins. Sexton clubbed the durable Bulgarian Tayar Mehmed into submission, the fight stopped in the second round.
'I thought Scott boxed brilliantly again, against a very experienced, really tough customer,' said Everett.
'I thought Nathan was in a fight tonight and came out in the right way, as usual. He was very gusty, the lad, and he said Nathan had very powerful shots – it is all a good learning process. It would have been the perfect night if Ryan got the result – to me it had to be a full house.'