Boxing

Larkin and Holmes Win

Boxers Sam Larkin and Josh Holmes gave domiant performances in front of their home fans

Sam Larkin Vs Luke Flash

Super featherweight fighter Sam Larkin described his homecoming as a ‘dream come true’ when returning to winning ways against Luke Fash at Colne Muni.

The 28-year-old put the disappointment of defeat to journeyman Jimmy Quinn to bed with a controlled and composed display over the well-travelled Yorkshireman.

Spurred on by a rambunctious backing at the Edwardian theatre, an iconic landmark placed smack bang in the heart of the town, Larkin did what other former Sandygate ABC stars

Shayne Singleton, Chris O’Brien, Stuart McFadyen and Shaun Horsfall had done before him.

“It was brilliant,” he said in the aftermath, his words almost drowned out by the noise that still reverberated around the arena.

“It couldn’t have gone any more to plan. I’ve been thinking about that moment for a long time.

“For my first and second fights I was nervous, but I wasn’t scared. Today I was scared. I kept questioning whether it was meant to be?

“Whether I was going to win in Colne? What if it all went wrong? It couldn’t have gone any better.”

Larkin’s shots had recoiled in a state of near sub-ordination and demoralisation when meeting the resistance of Quinn at King George’s Hall in March.

But it was different this time around. Larkin led with the jab, a weapon carrying more than enough elasticity, potency and accuracy to dictate the bout, while his body shots sank deep in to the frame of Fash.

“I was happy with everything,” Larkin said. “Since teaming up with Alex [Matvienko] at Elite Boxing I’ve calmed down a lot. I used to get in, have a scrap and tire myself out after the first round. We’ve worked hard on chilling out and setting the pace. It’s working.

“I love it. Even throughout the amateurs I won a lot of fights off my left hand. I’ve got a good, accurate jab and if I’m landing it I don’t see the point in trying to mix it up too much.

“What’s the point if I’m winning the fight off my jab. I was doubling up on them, trebling up, and I was landing nearly every one of them. He was eating them for fun. My hand was hurting because I’d landed that many.

“We’d been working in the gym on feints and head movement; I’ve got a very solid jab, it’s fast and it’s very accurate as well. I was working well off the jab, hitting hard to the body.

“Everybody who I’ve been sparring with commented on my body shots. It worked, I was hurting him and I took it out of him, but he just kept coming. He was on the front foot so I was up for it throughout the fight.”

Larkin, sporting a slightly blackened left eye, also displayed a determined durability, soaking up a number of retaliatory strikes from a rough and ready Fash.

After four rounds, referee Jamie Kirkpatrick scored the contest 40-36 in favour of Larkin, who added to his debut triumph against Ricky Leach.

He said: “I didn’t want an easy time, I wanted to be given a hard test and I got one. Every round was tough, he hit me to the body hard, he hit me hard to the head and he was working me as well.

“You’re in the wrong game if you want to go out and have an easy fight. I don’t want to be putting all the hours in to have easy fights. What’s the point? I’d rather take one to give one.

“It was good. It’s definitely a dream come true. The ultimate dream was to win by stoppage, but you can’t underestimate these tough kids.

“I caught him with some big shots, I hit him hard to the body, one in the second round hurt him a lot, but he just came back.

“I tend to get stuck in a lot, but I took my time and listened to Alex and my team. We got the job done. It was class, it really was mental out there.”

Holmes Vs Dylan Draper

Stephen Graham may be the first celebrity to lend his support to super-lightweight boxer Joshua Holmes, but the Liverpudlian star of the silver screen could be the first of many.

The Snatch, Gangs of New York, This is England, Boardwalk Empire and Line of Duty actor has already pledged his allegiance to the up-and-coming Phoenix Camp fighter, vowing to be ringside for one of his contests in the near future.

And the 45-year-old, nominated for a British Independent Film Award for best supporting actor as well as a British Academy Television Award and RTS Award for best actor, also requested a seat to be reserved in his name when Holmes makes it to Madison Square Garden.

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