THERE were plenty of compliments flying around after Friday’s second professional bill of the year at North Bridge Leisure Centre.
A bumper crowd of around 950 helped produce a good atmosphere for the Sky TV cameras, who were there mainly to see wins for Ovill McKenzie and Dereck Chisora.
However, Liam Walsh and Tyrone Nurse were among the local fighters to grab their chance in the spotlight.
Both had comfortable wins at welterweight, Halifax’s Walsh in his first eight-rounder against Michael Frontin and Huddersfield’s Nurse over six rounds against Ivan Godor.
“Sky loved the show and hopefully they will come back again,” said Chris Aston, the trainer and manager of the West Yorkshire fighters on the bill.
The night came to a sudden conclusion when McKenzie took just 15 seconds to stop Welshman Jeff Evans in the main contest and that meant more exposure for the local professionals on Box Nation TV.
Aston said Walsh was described as the “next Ricky Hatton” by one TV pundit and Nurse, who is also unbeaten as a professional, as a “young Tommy Hearns.”
Walsh and his army of 300 plus fans had a few anxious moments in an exciting contest.
Frontin is a useful counter-puncher who caught the ex-amateur rugby league international a few times.
However, Walsh’s quality shone through and a left to the body in the last round confirmed who was boss.
Nurse came through well against a tough East European opponent while, in the four rounders on the bill, there were wins for Halifax’s Scott Gladwin and Richard Bitner but a defeat for Shazad Hussein and a draw for Bradford’s Essie Mestry.
Gladwin recovered from a slow start to confirm his superiority over Anwar Alfadli, who he had beaten before. He won the bantamweight contest 39-37.
Bitner just got the better of tall and plucky opponent Lee Jevons by 39-38 at light middleweight but Hussein, beaten on his pro debut at this venue in May, is still waiting to get off the mark.
He made a cautious start this time but out-worked and out-boxed James Tucker for the opening two rounds with the third fairly even.
However, Hussein was put down in the final round and although he responded well, Tucker got the verdict in the light heavyweight scrap.
Meanwhile, the winners of Friday’s two main bouts are eyeing bigger tests.
McKenzie, whose solid right hand left Evans hanging over the ring apron, has already been linked with a fight with former world cruiserweight champion Enzo Maccarinelli - originally expected to fight on the North Bridge bill.
McKenzie, who works as a bouncer at a nightclub, was happy to focus on his performance. “I hope to keep it (the belt) for a long time now,” he told the Box Nation TV channel.
Chisora wants a fight with one of the Klitschkos after registering a comfortable six-round points win over Lithuania’s Remigijus Ziausys.
Wladimir Klitschko has twice pulled out of scheduled fights with Chisora due to injury and the 26-year-old’s hopes of a crack at the Ukrainan’s world titles were severely dented when he lost his unbeaten record to Tyson Fury in July.
However, after winning every round against Ziausys, Chisora said: “I want the two brothers. We’ve got some unfinished business.”