Impressive Gardener thrills Contender fans
Hard-hitting Michael 'The Wasp' Gardener moved one step closer to his goal of being the 2016 Wray and Nephew Contender champion when he scored a brilliant victory on points over his more experienced rival, Ramel 'Sub Zero' Lewis, at the Chinese Benevolent Association auditorium on Wednesday night.
It was a unanimous decision as Judge Ransford Burton scored the fight 49-45, Laurence Neufville 49-46, and Peter Richards 50-45.
This was easily the most exciting fight in the competition so far, and spectators had a lot to cheer about. Both men had signalled beforehand that they would be throwing a lot of punches, and they kept their word.
The action started immediately after the signal to start was given, and it was Lewis who landed the first decisive punches. Gardener retaliated very quickly, however, and three jabs followed by a hook to the body sent the signal to Lewis that he was in for a hard night. The Gardener camp had something to think about before the round ended as he was cut over the left eye by a punch. The doctor examined it and ruled that it was nothing serious.
Both men then tried to stamp their authority on the fight, and there was an exciting exchange over the last 20 seconds of the round, which was a signal to spectators that they were in for a fistic treat. And so it was. The excitement continued into the second round as a confident and sometimes cocky Gardener scored repeatedly with hard punches to the head and body.
Lewis had his moments of ascendancy, but it was Gardener who scored consistently and methodically in the third round, which produced a lot of action and had spectators on their feet cheering wildly as the tempo of the fight increased.
Things reached a crescendo in the fourth round as Gardener let loose with a barrage of punches. Lewis was not able to keep him at bay and he was hurt in this round. After a quick burst of two-fisted action from Gardener, Lewis seemed ready to fall and would have quite likely hit the canvas if he had not been caught up in the ropes. Referee Owen Nelson ruled this a knock-down, however, and gave Lewis an eight count. Gardener was all over him at the bell.
When Gardener came out for the fifth and final round, he was more conservative and appeared winded. This was not surprising, however, as it was the first time that he had gone beyond three rounds. Lewis was not able to capitalise on this, however, and Gardener was able to end the fight on cruise control, and a with a victory neatly tucked away in his pocket.
There was one amateur bout on the card which saw Samuel Grant of Sugar Olympic Gym scoring a points victory over Collel Hogg from Boys' Town.