The Ballymoney Community Bowling Club was yet again chosen to host the annual White Collar Boxing event (Saturday 5th May) organised by ‘Friends of Ballymoney United FC’, this year dubbed ‘The Ballybrakes Brawl’. But who were the winners and losers on the night?
With 9 fights on the card, the evening was set to be full of excitement and an adrenalin filled competition, and it didn’t disappoint.
With 450+ spectators packing out the venue the fighters kept the crowd entertained throughout the evening with each fight seemingly raising the bar to the previous one. This included two exhibition fights to get the crowd warmed up, a junior and a senior fight.
As well as a night of light entertainment, the event had a serious element, raising much needed funds for the Air Ambulance for Northern Ireland. All the money raised from the evenings raffle was handed over to the charity. Michelle, speaking to the crowd on behalf of the Air Ambulance, said,
It takes £2 million each year to keep the Air Ambulance in the air and saving lives and your contributions will help with that. I Would like to thank each of you that gave and hope you enjoy the rest of the evening.
With nine fights here is a summary of the winners and losers of this years ‘Ballybrakes Brawl’
Fight 1 Junior Exhibition Riley Keys v Steven Mullan
These two young lads are not only competitors inside the ring but friends outside it. This didn’t stop them however getting the job done. From the start they were equally matched and had a strong fight over the three rounds and had clearly been training and working hard for this fight.
Their hard work paid off with a result they must both have been pleased with, a draw
Fight 2 Senior Exhibition
The senior exhibition fight, similar to the junior, featured two fighters again equally matched and like the junior fight, it ended in a draw.
Fight 3 Alex Tweed v Geoffrey Watton
Throughout the 1st round Alex dominated with a volley of punches but it was clear both fighters had tried themselves out early as the bell rang to end this round.
Into the 2nd round the tiredness followed the fighters but Alex remained the more dominant of the two with regards the number of punched being thrown. By the final round the pace of the fight had slowed significantly however a burst of power secured the victory for Alex.
Winner: Alex Tweed
Fight 4 Ricky Whyte v Lee McGonigle
Both Ricky and Lee seemed to be equally matched going into the 1st round but by the 2nd Ricky had taken control with Lee slight unsteady on his feet after a few stiff blows. Ricky’s dominance continued in the final round and apart from the ref almost getting KO’ed and stumbling back off his feet, Ricky took the win.
Winner: Ricky Whyte
Fight 5 Brandon Boyd v Cahir Coyle
Like the previous fight both fighters started off exchanging punches looking evenly matched. Round two however was a different picture with much of the boxing coming from Brandon with Cahir forced to the ropes on several occasions but still held his own even managing to throw a furry of punched against Brandon as the bell brought the round to an end.
As final round began and both fighters were fatigued but Brandon managed a last set of strong punches to take the win.
Winner: Brandon Boyd
Fight 6 Mark McKane v Sheldon McBride
The intensity of the fights by the midway point seemed to be building as Sheldon came out swings with a couple of well-aimed and connecting punches. Mark quickly hit back with a few strong punches himself by the end of the round. Into round two saw Mark hit harder adding a few well placed upper cuts putting Sheldon in his place unable to protect himself and deflect these blows.
The final round did however show a slight weakness in Marks form as he began to slow allowing Sheldon to return a few hard blows. This was in vain however as Mark got a burst of power in the last few seconds taking control once again and the match.
Winner: Mark McKane
Fight 7 Tracy Patton v Cindy Burns
The only ladies fight of the evening saw Tracy and Cindy exchange blows of equal power and strength, many landing on the head and face of each other. As the rounds played out both fighters form and exchange of punched remained on level with each other despite both becoming tired noticeably in the 2nd round.
By the final round both ladies were still swinging punches in each others direction, but just out in front was Cindy who took this close and tight match between these two battle hardy ladies.
Winner: Cindy Burns
Fight 8 Keiron Smith v Liam Coyle
Billed as the repeat of last years finale, it was clear these two were no strangers in the ring together before. The match stared as it would finish with Keiron being the one throwing the hardest and fastest punches.
With Liam on the ropes several times in round 2, and by the final round Liam had little fight left in him giving Keiron an easy win for the red corner.
Winner: Keiron Smith
Fight 9 Lyle Connolly v Dean Clayton
By this final bout the crowed were almost all on their feet. Lyle and Dean, both two brusers of men, from the outset showed a strong style of boxing with each delivering hard blows in their competitors direction. Into round two the tide changed with the previous hard blows taking effect on Lyle who had slowed remarkably and at times during the 2nd round was unsteady on his feet. The ref did at one point put the fighters into the neutral corners to check Lyle was able to continue.
As the final round began, Dean delivered a few more hard blows to Lyle putting his into the ropes. Before Lyle could recover or Dean throw any more hard blows, Lyles coach in the red corner called for an early bell and conceded by throwing the towel in on behalf of his boxer and giving the last win of the evening to Dean
Winner: Dean Clayton
Special thanks was given to the Scorpion Boxing Club in Ballymoney for their hard work in training and conditioning these boxers for the event, especially to head coaches Karen and Spike. The fights don’t just happen as all those taking place go through weeks of intensive training to get them fit to pass a medical and compete.
With the conclusion of the show the boxers all returned to the ring (as friends!) for one last photo call before the boxing was finally at a conclusion. Of course that wasn’t the end to the night with a disco into the small hours provided by CJ Entertainments.
If you would like to put your name down for next years event and think you have what it takes to step into the ring, then contact Friends of Ballymoney United FC Facebook page.
Pictures will also available of the evenings fights and competitors in the coming days which can be views and ordered from Christopher Shaw Photography.