Kerry given no Hope but Welsh dragon breathes fire over Grzegorz Proksa’s short-lived EBU title run

17 Mar

Alan Dawson – London

Grzegorz Proksa‘s tenure as EBU middleweight champion lasted just one fight as unfancied challenger Kerry Hope out-hustled the previously undefeated Pole at the Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield on Saturday, March 17. Proksa established an early lead but suffered a ghastly cut that changed the nature of the bout, allowed Hope to stamp an authority on the contest and cruise to victory in a closely-competitive, highly-entertaining war.

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Dawson’s scorecard

Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Hope
9 9 10 9 9 10 10 10 8 10
10 9
Proksa
10 10 9
10 10 9 9 9 10 9 9 10

Official verdict: 114-114, 112-115, 113-114 to Hope.

An England-based Polish southpaw of diminutive height but great sporting stature, Grzegorz Proksa elevated himself to the pinnacle of the European middleweight charts by retiring world-ranked Sebastian Sylvester in October and, versus Kerry Hope in Yorkshire, he once again displayed his aesthetically-pleasing boxing style. He showed good upper body movement, exquisite foot placement and generally confounded the Welsh challenger with his shoulder shimmy, his gun-slinging nature by shooting from the hip and, when he loaded up on his punches, the only hope Kerry had was by surname only.

By round three, Proksa had established an authority with his body-punching, however, a worrying cut had opened up on the 27-year-old’s brow following what the referee had deemed an accidental head-clash with Hope. The cut was so angry that it perturbed Proksa and Hope began peppering the wound with jabs thrown from portside. Any ascendancy Hope had from his third round advantage was beaten back down in the fourth as Proksa approached him from all angles and rattled Hope’s frame with a barrage of mighty blows.

In the fifth, Hope stepped up a gear and forced Proksa into a corner. The reigning European king, though, was punched precisely and, while Hope appeared the greater jabber, it was Proksa’s shots that were doing the greater damage. In a contest that was proving to be filled with see-saw action, the pendulum swung back into Hope’s favour as, despite taking shots flush, he pressed forth and put Proksa under unaccustomed pressure, making the Pole wilt through a dedicated headhunting tactic which exploited the champion’s non-existent guard.

With blood splattered over his brow and cheek at the end of the seventh, Proksa had relinquished control and momentum to Hope. All too often Proksa was failing to land with his left hand which allowed Hope to find his own way through with clubbing right hooks. In round eight, the uppercut – which had been a reliable weapon for the title-holder in the preceding rounds – remained a useful punch when Proksa was backed into the ropes, yet Hope roused the crowd and will have attracted admiring glances from ringside with his left hand and his work-rate.

It was testament to Hope’s chin that he was able to withstand Proksa’s power, particularly the left straight coupled with the right hook yet Kerry was, at the beginning of the ninth, docked a point by Phil Edwards; the third man in the ring, for rubbing his sweaty head into Proksa’s laceration.

Proksa’s work-rate had lagged significantly by the championship rounds and the one thing that had kept Grzegorz in the contest was the ninth round sanction. The end of the 11th, though, in keeping with the power struggle, saw Proksa finish well, yet it was not enough to convince his corner who implored the Polish pugilist to secure a last gasp knockout.

In the final round, Proksa tagged Hope with one-two combinations, slugs thrown with bad intentions and tortuous uppercuts launched from knee level. With half his face caked in blood, Proksa dipped and ducked under what Hope fired back, yet the champion secured what could be a crucial final round.

Hope landed close to 800 punches, showing he was a far busier fighter than Proksa, however, it was Grzegorz who outlanded the Welshman. The judges at ringside favoured the work-rate of the challenger, who entered the bout as a huge underdog yet left the Motorpoint Arena with the EBU belt wrapped around his waist.

With the win, Hope moved to 17-3-0, 1ko while Proksa suffered his first defeat and fell to 26-1-0, 19ko.

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One Response to “Kerry given no Hope but Welsh dragon breathes fire over Grzegorz Proksa’s short-lived EBU title run”

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  1. News: Jan – June « On The Beak - November 18, 2012

    […] Kerry given no Hope but Welsh dragon breathes fire over Grzegorz Proksa’s short-lived EBU title r… […]

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