July 27th 2013 - Hastings


Members of the academy fight team were in action again this weekend as Tommy "Terminator" Crossland and Jamie Clarke went into battle on the big "Pantheon II - Gladiator Games" promotion in Hastings. 

This was the first time so far South of the Yorkshire border for both fighters and both were eager to impress. Promoter Andy Chambers did a fantastic job with the show; putting on a great production with well matched exciting fights all night. 

First up for the academy was the "Terminator" Tommy Crossland. At only 14 years of age Tommy was giving away 2 years in age and a good 3 inches in height to his 16 year old opponent Elliot Hallsworth of home gym Fighting Tigers. Undeterred Tommy set straight to work with his fast long range combinations; driving home clean punches and heavy low kicks and controlling the tempo and distance as he comfortably took the first round on all judges score cards. Hallsworth came back strong in the second opening up with some aggressive attacks which Tommy defended well before countering with his own work including some great clinch and knee strikes. Tommy showed he was the boss on the inside as well as at distance in this round and while pushed to work harder, was again the clear winner. Coming into the third it was clear that Hallsworth had to force a stoppage to keep alive his hopes of victory. And showing true warrior spirit he came out hard and aggressive putting together intelligent attacks to back Tommy up and score well with strong punch combinations. Tommy defended smartly and countered well but the momentum of the bout had shifted slightly as Tommy was forced to fight off the back foot. As the final round reached the halfway point, Tommy although unhurt, was in danger of not achieving the clean sweep that seemed a certainty in the first two rounds, he needed to up his game and he answered his corners call and used his movement and angles to creat new openings. This enabled him to take charge of the tempo and unleash some blistering combinations of punches, kicks and knees which left the judges and audience in no doubt of who was the dominant fighter. Winner by unanimous decision - Tommy Crossland!!!

Next up was Jamie Clarke fresh off of two impressive victories over the last six weeks, Clarke was firmly up against it stepping up two weight categories to the light-middleweight division to face the hugely popular Jamie McGuigan. Clarke entered to little fanfare as the crowd whilst respectful made their allegiance clear. If there was any doubting this at all, it was put to rest when McGuigan entered to a rapturous roar from what seemed a massive contingent of support. 

The feeling going into this bout was that Clarke was the technically superior fighter, whilst McGuigan was the bigger stronger and more aggressive combatant. The way the fight played out proved this to be the case as McGuigan ran straight out of his corner at the opening bell and bullied clarke around not allowing him a minutes breath or an inch of space. Clarke did well at this point to nullify McGuigans attacks with strong clinchwork but he was unable to let his hands or his vaunted kicks go quick enough as McGuigan took huge risks to ensure the fight took place at close quarters. As the first round came to a close, Clarke began to score heavily with low kicks and knees on the inside but McGuigan remained relentless forcing the pace and bullishly catching kicks and knees and running Clarke across the ring and throwing him to the floor with MMA style spikes - neither of which is technically legal but as only one warning came from the referee Clarke continued to fight the fight that was in front of him rather than the one that fit the rule set!!

Coming in to round two Clarke was a round down but had showed the technical ability to outscore his opponent. In order to do this however he needed to be more aggressive and push his opponent back while also going to work on his opponents alarmingly exposed lead leg. Clarke followed both these instructions to good effect and landed some damaging low kicks along with some strong punches and knees. On a couple of occasions it appeared that clarke had dazed McGuigan with the clean straight right hands that he managed to land to McGuigan's unguarded chin as the local man rushed in to attack, but while Clarke was causing the damage it was McGuigan who was forcing the pace shaking off the bombs of Clarke and continuing to be the aggressor. A closer round but again, won by McGuigan on sheer volume and aggression.


As round three began, both fighters were showing signs of fatigue, McGuigan had a steely determined look about him and it was clear, despite having two rounds in the bank, he wasnt leaving anything to chance. He rushed out at the bell and resumed his relenless attack. In this round however Clarke managed to pick him off more consistently with straight rights and heavy low kicks. Although the fight was still scrappy and McGuigan continued to force the pace, it was Clarke who was landing all of the meaningful shots in this round as he scored big clean single shots before pulling McGuigan in for single knees and then nullifying the return attack with clever use of the clinch. This continued further into the round and McGuigan became more desperate, showing his massive heart and will to win he was sprinting in with his attacks and throwing soccer style kicks and swinging haymakers seemingly from the floor. This time, instead of backing up Clarke capitalised on the risks McGuigan was taking and nailed him with a huge left kick to the neck and jaw. It looked for a second that McGuigan might fall as he slumped to the side before being pulled into the clinch for a knee. McGuigan recovered his senses quickly and let go a huge knee in answer to Clarkes own shot which had just landed. Unfortunately, McGuigans knee strayed low and landed heavy on Clarkes groin guard. This accidental illegal blow forced Clarke to take the necessary rest time allowed to recipients of such blows but, also broke his momentum in the midst of his strongest attack yet. After the action resumed the bout continued as it had thus far, with Clarke picking out big clean single damaging blows and McGuigan aggressively trying to rough Clarke up and make the fight as physical as possible. When the bell sounded it was clear that the home town favourite had done enough - taking the bout two rounds to one in what was an out and out war and a real thriller for the onlooking support. 

Clarke was gracious in defeat and was grateful of the ring time and experience the bout had afforded. Both lads were a credit to their gym and if Clarke continues to grow and McGuigan stays at the same weight, a rematch could well be on the cards which judging by the reaction to this one, would be a welcome addition to the fight calendar. 

"Took my 2 grandchildren here as I got fed up of them on the Xbox. Mick trains them hard but it is so good to see the boys healthy and alert."

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