Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECHONEWS to 80360, or email us »
Cage fight night proves to be a slamming success
SOUTHEND’S hugely popular cage fighting show will be staying in the town – despite having to turn away hundreds of punters at its latest sell-out show.
A capacity crowd of 1,500 – which included Southend United first-teamers Bilel Mohsni, Mark Phillips and Luke Prosser – were treated to 13 ding-dong fights at Ultimate Warrior Challenge 22 on an electric night at Garon Park on Saturday.
Another 200 punters were turned away because the venue was full, but promoter Alex Burzotta said they’re not thinking about moving to a bigger venue to accommodate their growing fan-base.
“It would be easy to turn around and say we need to go somewhere bigger, but we love Garon Park because it’s our home and it will stay our home,” he said.
“We do want to travel with the promotion, and I’m in discussions with other venues about that. But I was brought up in Southend and it makes me proud that we can give something back to the town in this way, so we won’t be moving on.
“We had fans, fighters and coaches visiting from Italy and Norway, and all across the UK from places like Liverpool and Newcastle at this show.
“It helped fill the Roslin hotel, meant that Mayhem and Mansion night clubs were packed, and kept local restaurants busy.
“It was a huge success and we’ve never had to turn away that many people. So it was great that everyone was treated to such great fights, because so many we really great battles.”
It was another great show for home favourite Walter Gahadza as he got the biggest cheer of the night by extending his perfect record to 11-0-0 with a TKO of Frenchman Loic Marty in round one of their welterweight contest.
Liverpool’s Paul ‘Tellies’ Kelly stopped Brazilian Henrique Santana in the closing stages of the opening round of their co-main event.
Billericay’s Mark Cosh picked up knock-out of the night with a stunning 10-second stoppage of Remigijus Reblys, and Sweden’s Hakon Foss took fight of the night with a unanimous points decision over Charlie Leahy.
Local fighter Joe Emmons caused quite a stir in the Southend United heartland when he walked out for his fight to West Ham United’s famous ‘I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles’ club song!
“It didn’t knock him off his stride, though, as he beat the tough Vitalijus Gelzinis with a unanimous decision.
Burzotta also singled out Craig Daly for praise as he marked his pro debut with a unanimous decision win over Giacomo Pala.
Full UWC 22 results: (amateur bout) Stephen King defeated Danny Blundell via unanimous decision in round two after 4:00mins; (semi-pro) Rhys Nunn defeated Silviano Valenti via knock-out, round one, 3:09mins; (semi-pro) Dan Piper defeated Andrea Milano via submission (side choke), round one, 2:29mins; (semi-pro) Dan Cane defeated Tim Baker via knock-out, round one, 0:55mins; (UK1 bout) Joe Emmons defeated Vitalijus Gelzinis via unanimous decision, round three, 2:00mins; Salih Kulucan defeated Scott Ryan via unanimous decision, round three, 5:00mins; Craig Daly defeated Giacomo Pala via unanimous decision, round three, 5:00mins; Michele Mirabella defeated Chris Stebbeds via TKO, round two, 1:26mins; Tye Palmer defeated Scott Rogan via submission (rear-naked choke), round one, 3:21mins; Mark Cosh defeated Remigijus Reblys via knock-out, round one, 0:10mins; Hakon Foss defeated Charlie Leary via unanimous decision, round three, 5:00mins; Walter Gahadza defeated Loic Marty via TKO, round one, 1:16mins; Paul Kelly defeated Henrique Santana via TKO, round one, 4:57mins.