VIDEOS: Bideford boxer Freddy Bazell impresses on debut
TWO months ago, Freddy Bazell had not even set foot in a boxing gym.
Now, after a barnstorming debut for Bideford ABC, he looks a man in a hurry.
After a six-week crash course, the 22-year-old jumped at the chance to appear at Saturday night's Pollyfield Centre show.
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And there was plenty of crash, bang, wallop when he went up against another newcomer in Will Ellicott.
Both have a bit to learn about the finer points of boxing but what their bout lacked in subtlety it more than made up for in spirit. Battling on with bloodied noses, the pair knocked lumps out of each other for three riotous rounds.
By the third, there was nothing to separate them but it seemed the hopes of the home favourite had been damaged by a points deduction for dropping his head. Bazell brushed off that setback and rallied to take the win by majority, much to the delight of his supporters who also showed their respect for Ellicott, from the emerging Tamar ABC in Bude.
It was the highlight of a top night with expert match-making ensuring almost every fight was unpredictable. Seven of the 11 competitive bouts went to split decisions.
Kyle De Banks made sure the evening ended on a triumphant note for Bideford, edging a majority over Courtney Richards in their heavyweight clash.
VIDEO: Kyle De Banks v Courtney Richards:
A contrast in styles made for a fascinating contest with the visitor from Plympton ready to bang and the taller De Banks boxing behind the jab.
After only ten bouts as an amateur, it was a last appearance for Richards before turning professional.
Apparently, he will be using the Casualty theme tune as his walk-on music and it is easy to see why. Brutal hooks off both hands and a willingness to work at close quarters should make him a crowd pleaser.
De Banks stood up to the aggression despite having his movement restricted after recently breaking his foot. Without showing the fluency of his classy victory over Valentin Bumbul in November, the Royal Navy boxer did enough.
He started on the front foot but was caught by heavy shots and required a standing count at the end of the second. The final round was equally tight and De Banks picked his shots to take the decision 22-21, 19-15, 10-17.
Soane Coysh was Bideford's third senior boxer to triumph, taking another majority after four fraught rounds with Kyle Gargett, of Pilgrims ABC.
VIDEO: Soane Coysh v Kyle Gargett:
After a cagey opening, Coysh landed a sweeping right early in the second and finished the round with a rapid left.
Caught just above the belt, Gargett had the wind knocked from his sails and was given an eight-count in the fourth.
Although it got scrappy at times, Coysh's poise and persistence paid off.
His younger brother Chade Coysh made a rip-roaring start against another Pilgrims opponent, Ryan Hibberd.
Coysh began at a furious tempo with right-handed attacks but Hibberd composed himself impressively and, come the third, wobbled his opponent with a stunning left-right combination.
Coysh did well to stay on his feet but the visitor finished strongly to take the decision from all three judges.
Mayflower's Howard Hart was the next Plymouth man to earn a unanimous win, against Bideford's Ben Owen. Two weeks after losing to the same opponent in the England ABA Championships, Owen made a solid start but Hart's dominant second round was the difference.
In the battle of the heavyweights, David Aston, of Hamilton Green, had the edge over Jamie Creek who had a measure of success with jabs and combinations but found Aston was often first to the punch.
Former Bideford amateur Tommy Langford presented the trophies. Unbeaten in his first three pro fights, Langford will meet an international opponent in the Midlands on May 11.
VIDEO: Jamie Creek v David Aston: