On a night of mixed fortunes for the Fight Academy stable, promoter Dennis Hobson looks back on our show at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge Arena on August 27 that saw the winning return of heavyweight Dave Allen, victories for Mark Jeffers, Levi Kinsiona, Stevi Levy, Katie Healy, and Tommy Hodgson – but reverses for Sufi Ahmed, and Anthony Tomlinson (pictured) in the main event.
Was Anthony Tomlinson’s ninth round defeat to Mexico’s Dante Jardon more about Anthony’s performance? Or was the opponent just too good for him at this stage of his career?
Anthony said when he joined us that he wanted to be in big fights. Anthony and his trainer wanted someone who was credible, they fancied this job and thought they could do a number on him.
Anthony admits he fought the wrong fight. He should have used his boxing skills but was trying to force openings, like a battering ram, when it didn’t need that. Sometimes a door just won’t open and you have to unpick it, rather than keep hitting it.
He took a lot of unnecessary shots and spent a lot of energy. Jardon caught him with some decent shots, he’d have stood up to them earlier in the fight but wore himself out trying to load up too much.
It’s a big learning curve for him. We invested a lot of money into that fight because we wanted him on the world scene, but he can still be on the world scene and he’ll be a better fighter for the loss because he knew fought the wrong fight. He’s learnt that sometimes you have to box your way through and can’t be a one trick pony. He showed plenty of heart and toughness, but I didn’t want him to show that!
Anthony seemed fired up at the weigh in, and on entering the ring – was that a factor in him deviating from his boxing?
Yes – he couldn’t come back down and listen. He got that fired up, was telling everyone he was going to knock this opponent out in four rounds and it was as though he felt he had to stick to it. At this higher level you have to say ‘this kid’s going nowhere and I just have to get the win’. He had a gung-ho attitude and you can’t just do that, you have to be adaptable and have a Plan A and Plan B.
It was a bruising fight for Anthony – does he have a break now and then get him out again?
I think so. Get him in an eight rounder, using his boxing ability, and then see what’s around. He’s exciting, good looking and popular and he’ll come again, for sure.
Dave Allen returned to the ring after almost two years away, stopping Andrea Pesce in two rounds – was it the perfect opponent after such a long lay off?
I was pleased with his comeback. I wasn’t over expecting anything from him, but he got the opponent out of there. He’s heavy handed, exciting to watch and has plenty of charisma.
His opponent wasn’t world class or anything but he was tough and Dave stopped him, whereas others might have struggled to do that. There’s obviously room for improvement, but Dave proved to himself that he still has something. If he works on it then he’ll be a force to be reckoned with again and will win a few titles. I go back a long way with him and love working with him. The next couple of years with him are going to be very interesting.
Dave hasn’t won any kind of title yet in his career – is that the aim?
Dave Allen needs to win a title. We’ve got to win a title together. We have a connection and I want to win a title with him and get him on my wall of fame!
Mark Jeffers moved to 13-0 with an eight round win over Michal Ryba – what did you make of his performance?
When Mark fights in eliminators or titles, you’ll see him come into his own. He’s earned his stripes now and wants to test himself against kids that come to fight, with ambition. That’s when we’ll see the best of him. He has a lot of class, and different gears to go through. I really think he can operate on the world scene, he has that much ability.
The two women on the card both got wins – Stevi Levy moved to 4-0, and Katie Healy got her second victory – any thoughts?
I’m a fan now of the women’s boxing, and I really like these two. They both conduct themselves really well, and are great characters. Stevi is as wacky as they come, but she gets herself in great shape and I think there’s a lot more to come from her. She’s a bundle of dynamite and loves the game.
Katie is the upmost professional too. She’s only young but does everything the right way. I think we’ll win something with both of them and am so pleased they’re in our stable.
We’ve also got Hannah Rankin who talks so much sense and is very classy. She’s the flagship for us because she’ll soon be fighting for a world title in November. So, it’s very exciting times.
Stevi Levy is managed by Dave Allen, as is Levi Kinsiona who also got a win on the show. Dave believes Levi has a British Title in him – would you agree?
I think he has it in him. He has all the attributes, we just need to see if he can tough it out, turn a fight around when he has to. As regards ability, he has enough to win at least a British belt. I like Levi, I get on really well with him, and hopefully being under Dave’s guidance will bring the best out of him.
Tommy Hodgson from Newcastle made his debut. He was a very good amateur, and came well supported – do you think we might see him on another show?
I’d like to think so. I get on really well with Empire Pro Tape who sponsor him and Fight Academy, and I like Tommy’s team. Tommy, in and out of the ring, was so professional and I loved watching him. I like him and it would be good to go on a journey with him.
I’d like to do a deal with Tommy because I don’t think there’s anyone better to manoeuvre him than us, and Jamie and Dean from Empire, to get him all the way. I’d love to be involved in his journey, but that’s up to his team. He’s a smashing lad and a tremendous fighter. We could have some great nights with him in the Northeast, I could build shows around him and we’d have some fun because his fans were great.
There are others out there but I think we’re the best fit for him. We wouldn’t rush him like some other promoters would and we’d get him the right opportunities at the right time.
Sufi Ahmed lost his fight against Jahfibus Faure – do you think he deserved to lose?
I think it could’ve gone either way but I thought Sufi looked lazy, a bit languid in his tempo. He could have done a lot more and he missed a trick because if he’d have won he could’ve maybe fought for the Area Title next. He might need another fight now before he can fight someone like Michael Gomez Jr for that belt.
The Central Area Title fight between Kane Salvin and Michael Gomez Jr fell through almost literally at the last minute, with Kane withdrawing just before the weigh in, unable to make weight. It was a real shame for Gomez Jr, who had obviously got himself in terrific shape – what are your thoughts on the situation?
The way Kane handled it all wasn’t professional. He let a lot of people down, like Glyn [Rhodes], us and Michael [Gomez Jr]. There were a lot of lads who could have been on the show, someone else could have had that spot. Michael had sold tickets, was in great shape, and Kane wasn’t professional enough to let anybody know that he was struggling with the weight.
It was a major let down and I can’t see him having a future with us, to be honest. We got him the opportunity in the first place when he won the title, he’s not a massive ticket seller, we invested money and I’m very disappointed in him.