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Blackledge heads winning evening
EIGHT East Lancashire fighters all secured victories on a bumper card at the Reebok Stadium on Saturday night.
Accrington’s Luke Blackledge warmed up for his British super middleweight title fight with Paul Smith on December 7 with a comfortable points victory, while four boxers were triumphant on their professional debuts.
Heavyweight Adam Machaj, also from Accrington, knocked out Luke Martin after only two minutes of the opening round in Bolton.
AJ Faizy, a 20-year-old light welterweight born in Afghanistan but now living in Lower Darwen, also secured a debut knock-out as he stopped Ollie Rainbird in the last of the four rounds.
Stirk House trainer Kevin Maree had two debutants on the bill, Blackburn welterweights Haidher Riaz and Qasim Niaz, and was happy that both dealt with the occasion well.
Riaz, 20, claimed a points win over Liam Griffiths and Niaz, 21, similarly overcame veteran Carl Allen.
“I was really pleased with both of them,” Maree said.
“Haidher made his debut first and he was fighting a southpaw, so he had the nerves to deal with and he was fighting someone who was quite tricky.
“It was a difficult start but he was really cool and composed and did really well.
“And Qasim was superb, he had some really nastiness and venom in his punches.
“Carl Allen has had more than 100 fights and he said to me afterwards that he thought Qasim was a real talent.”
Blackledge registered a points win over Iain Jackson in a four-rounder that Maree admits he had reservations about, given the magnitude of his forthcoming British title fight.
“I was really nervous for Luke’s fight, more than for some of the title fights we’ve had,” he said.
“It was a risky fight and ordinarily I wouldn’t have taken it but Luke just really wanted to fight because he was coming off the back of the defeat in Denmark and a draw.
“You could see straight away that Luke was head and shoulders above his opponent but desperate men do desperate things.
“I was just hoping that the guy didn’t do anything stupid and go in with his head because if Luke had got a cut the title fight would have been off. But he came through without any injury.
“It was a busy night for me but that’s what I’m in boxing for.
“It’s the first time I’ve had three fighters win on the same bill and I want four now!
“Bert Myers was in the corner for the first time in my career as a trainer – he trained me and he also trained Haidher before passing him on to me.
“That was special to have him there, because it was the three generations from Bert to me to Haidher.”
Also victorious was Darwen cruiserweight Stevie Taylor, who secured a third round stoppage of Paul O’Hagan to take his record to five wins and no defeats.
Nelson light welterweight Atif Mushtaq overcame Joe Beeden on points, while Blackburn welterweight Kurt Grieve similarly defeated Dee Mitchell.
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