Ring rusty Boyce loses main event
Corey Boyce’s return to the ring after a 2½-year absence ended in a disappointing defeat at Teachers Rugby Fight Night “The Resurrection” at the Berkeley Institute on Saturday.
The amateur heavyweight lost a unanimous decision to a determined, if limited, Matthew Dionne, of Atlas Boxing and Fitness Club in Toronto, in the event’s headline bout.
Boyce, who served a three-fight suspension from the Bermuda Boxing Federation for an altercation with a rival outside of the ring, showed understandable signs of ring rust and appeared unusually reticent to exchange with his larger opponent.
Dionne used his extra size to his advantage, repeatedly manhandling Boyce, forcing him back against the ropes where he bombarded the Bermudian with some crude but effective blows.
The Canadian continued to resemble an out of control juggernaut, relentlessly barrelling forward and swarming his rival, and it was no surprise when all three judges scored the fight in his favour.
Boyce, who lost his undefeated record, has beaten more accomplished opponents than Dionne and put his uncharacteristic performance down to his lengthy layoff.
“[Dionne’s style] took a little more energy out of me than I’m used to,” the 29-year-old said.
“There’s not really any big guys for me to spar against on the island; I’m not really accustomed to bigger guys.
“He had a better reach than me and was getting in some punches, although his power didn’t trouble me. The problems were really at my end and ultimately my body let me down.
“I felt kind of slow, especially as I came into the second round. I lost because I wasn’t good enough on the night.”
Dionne said he was worried about “gassing out” as he was making the step up to three-minute rounds for the first time.
“I just kept on going and kept fighting through the fatigue,” he said. “This was my first open-class fight; up until this point I have been fighting two-minute rounds. He had some impressive head work, so I purposefully went to the body and tried to get inside. By the end of the second round, I felt like I was landing some good shots. I knew all I had to do was keep him at bay in the third. I enjoyed fighting overseas; I like being the bad guy!”
Andre Lambe, Boyce’s stablemate at Forty Rego’s Gym, delivered an impressive display during his unanimous decision win over Mathankan Iranjan, of Gideon Boxing Academy in Scarborough, Ontario.
Lambe showed his growing versatility, boxing on the inside for much of the encounter and wobbling his opponent with a straight left hand in the third round.
In his final outing before the Pan American Games qualifiers in Nicaragua in April, the southpaw repeatedly found a home for his razor-sharp right hooks.
“He was trying to shoot straight left-hands and jumping in, so it was opening up for the check hook,” Lambe said. “I started to go to the body so he didn’t know what was coming.”
Lambe opted to eschew his usual tactic of prowl the perimeter and used his body strength to push Iranjan back when the pair met at close quarters in the centre of the ring.
“I’m bigger than I used to be and was I was definitely heavier than him,” said the welterweight. “I felt his shots weren’t that powerful and started pushing him back. I could hear him breathing heavy, so I thought I’d start putting the heavier shots on him. He was a good fighter and when I caught him he still had his guard up. I wasn’t going to go all willy-nilly [in search of the knockout].”
Asked how he assessed his performance, Lambe added: “For my first time fighting on the inside, I’d give myself eight out of ten.”
Middleweight Tyler Christopher, who will also represent Bermuda at the Pan American Games qualifiers, was awarded a points victory after Kyle McLaughlin, of Durham Boxing Academy in Ajax, Ontario, suffered a nasty cut above his right eye from an accidental headbutt.
With Teachers Rugby Fight Night returning after a four-year break, it seemed only fitting for one of the event’s old faces to win on his fifth and final appearance.
Mark Dunlop, 39, dusted off the cobwebs to claim a technical knockout victory over Jason Clark, of Controversy Gym,
“I last fought when I was 32; back then the age limit was 33,” said the super heavyweight.
“I’ve had three kids since then and I thought I was done and dusted. Last year, I joined Aries [Sports Centre] and started hitting the bags for the first time in seven years.
“When I heard Teachers were doing another event and that the age limit was 40, I thought maybe it was a sign for me to do one more fight.”
Dunlop said he felt he had unfinished business after losing against a “superior boxer whose muscles in his shoulders touched his ears” in his previous contest.
“I was happy to give it up back then,” the Scotsman added, “but I turn 40 in two weeks and I thought, ‘I have to do this; it’s a no-brainer’. I came out to the Proclaimers [I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)] and made it all about the event. I knew that would be a good sing-a-along.”
Dunlop lived up to his reputation as a pressure fighter, completely outworking his younger opponent, whose failure to complete the three rounds was largely because of fatigue.
“I just thought, ‘If I go out on my shield, I go out on my shield,” Dunlop added. “I’m a pressure fighter; I may be tired in the third round, but it doesn’t stop me. I’ll keep on going.”
Jordan DeShields (Aries Gym) bt Steve Wallace (Fight City Gym) by split decision
Mark Dunlop (Aries Gym) bt Jason Clark (Controversy Gym) by technical knockout
Robbie Bailey (Fight City Gym) bt Bertie Horsfield (Forty Rego’s Gym) by split decision
Dijon Benjamin (Police Gym) bt Eduardo Jair Gonzalez (Controversy Gym) by unanimous decision
Matthew Dionne (Atlas Gym, Toronto) bt Corey Boyce (Forty Rego’s Gym) by unanimous decision
Sean Fitzgerald (Aries Gym) bt JJ Saur (Fight City Gym) by technical knockout
Adrian Roach (Controversy Gym) bt Ngai Franklin (Forty Rego’s Gym) by unanimous decision
Nathan Amaral (Fight City Gym) bt Jahniko Francis (Forty Rego’s Gym) by split decision
Tyler Christopher (Bermuda National Boxing Team and Forty Rego’s Gym) by Kyle McLaughlin (Grant’s Gym, Toronto) by unanimous decision
Mick Ward (Aries Gym) by Dijon Arruda (Controversy Gym) by technical knockout
Andre Lambe (Bermuda National Boxing Team and Forty Rego’s Gym) by Mathankan Iranjan (Grant’s Gym, Toronto) by unanimous decision
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