Martell in beast mode; Stevi brings girl power to Norwich show
PUBLISHED: 06:00 17 November 2019 | UPDATED: 13:12 17 November 2019
Iain Martell switched on 'beast mode' as he plotted a path to his first title as a pro boxer.
The Norwich cruiserweight took just 170 seconds to beat Remigijus Ziausys - every second of which was a hail of punches to head and body which proved just too much for the Lithuanian.
To the untrained eye, Ziausys's generous body shape didn't compare to the chiselled Martell - but this is a man who has been in the ring with the likes of Dillian Whyte, Dereck Chisora, Gary Cornish and Norwich's own Sam Sexton - and taken each one the distance.
For Martell to put him on his knees in such devastating fashion was a feather in his cap on an historic night for Norwich boxing at The Halls on Friday which saw the county's first female pro boxer take to the stage - and win.
"It has taken a while to find a balance between boxing and fighting," said the 29-year-old Martell.
"I have always been a fighter, and I think I have tried to be a boxer and I am not. I can box, of course, but I am a fighter, and from this moment forward I will go out and I will fight and that's it.
"I wanted to remind myself exactly who I am and if I am honest, without trying to sound arrogant, I am quite special at times and I want to let everyone know who Iain Martell is, and I am a destructive creature."
Trainer Graham Everett said: "Let's remember one thing, his opponent has a ton of experience, he is a naturally hard man, he is a tough little customer.
"He has fought every top cruiserweight prospect, nobody needs to question him. He came in at the last minute anyway because Iain's original opponent had a medical problem, but he stepped in, as he always does.
"He was getting hurt, he was swinging back, but give props to Iain, he didn't let him off the hook and that is a very good finish and a cracking result that is fantastic - to win it in a round, I am over the moon with him.
"Now we want a Southern Area title fight for him - as simple as that."
Martell's win was the icing on the cake on a night when five of his Norwich gym-mates won, including debutants. Most eye-catching on terms of profile was Stevi Levy, the 26-year-old mum of one from King's Lynn who beat Bojana Libiszewska 40:36.
"It was amazing," said Levy. "I just didn't want it to end. She gave a good fight back, I am happy with the way I boxed, the way the fight went and the venue was great. I didn't want it to end."
Everett said: "I have been a trainer since 1991 and that is the first lady I have ever cornered and she was great. She fought a really experienced lady there, and I think she did really well. I was seriously pleased with her.
"It has been quite hard to get her licence across the line because she wears contact lenses and we only got her passed yesterday and that was how close it was. We have really worked hard behind the scenes to get that right."
Perhaps the most eye-catching debut though was that of Bernardo Maritime, who beat the tough Newark fighter Fonz Alexander 40:36. Maritime looked classy: quick hands and feet and a punch to match.
"I had a feeling he would do this tonight," said Everett. "He has a lot more in his artillery - we saw a shade of what he has got. We have got him to jab a lot more and I am really, really pleased with him. I think he is a little bit special."
There were also wins for Liam Goddard, who turned in a classy performance to beat Liam Hallett, 60:54; Wisbech's Joe Steed, who was a 40:36 winner over Kristaps Zulgis; and Owen Blunden, who beat Jamie Quinn 40:37.
Goddard clearly hurt Hallett on a number of occasions and in the latter of the six rounds looked like bringing an early conclusion to the fight, but the experienced man from Canning Town managed to get through to the final bell.
"Lee Hallett said Liam really hurt him in the last round and also the second round," said Everett. "And he did, he hurt him big with body shots. Owen had a really good learning fight - Quinn is a centurion and a former good amateur, very hard to hurt and Owen will learn from it. Joe had a difficult fight and he had to do it right - and he did. He has been out for a little while and he needed a good win against a decent opponent to move forward."
Everett was happy to see The Halls packed to the rafters on a night when his charges furthered their boxing educations.
"That is what this game is all about," he said. "In the bigger picture these rounds are vital, they will find out a lot about themselves."