Monday, April 20, 2009

Photo Gallery: John O'Donnell vs Craig Watson; Lenny Daws vs Pete McDonagh

There were two titles at stake on Saturday April 11, at the York Hall in Bethnal Green.

In the main-event, Craig Watson put his Commonwealth welterweight crown on the line against challenger John O'Donnell in a battle of southpaws, while Lenny Daws and Pete McDonagh contested the vacant English light-welterweight title on the undercard.

Photographer Justin McKie was ringside to capture all the action from both exciting bouts.

Click on the photos to enlarge.

Craig Watson vs John O'Donnell

The challenger, John O'Donnell makes his way to the ring. O'Donnell, fighting with plenty of hometown support enters the contest on a 5 fight winning streak and an overall record of 20 wins against only 1 defeat.

The Commonwealth welterweight champion Craig Watson, enters the ring ready to make the second defense of the title he won from Ali Nuumbembe in December of 2007. The crafty Manchester fighter comes in with a record of 12 wins and only 2 defeats.

The champion started well, and had the edge in the early rounds.

O'Donnell came on strong during the mid-rounds. Here he catches Watson with a right hook.

One of the many good exchanges during the grueling bout. O'Donnell fires a hook to the midsection, as Watson follows through with a left.

Desperate to hang onto his crown, the tired champion digs deep and finds a home for his left hand. With the battle winding down, it's anyone's fight.

The last few rounds were very tightly contested. Needing to win the final frame, and spurred on by the hometown crowd, the challenger lands a sharp uppercut.

Referee Victor Loughlin raises the hand of the winner, as an elated Mick Hennessy looks on. The disappointment on the Watson side is clear. The scores were extremely close. Judge John Keane had Watson in front 116-113, while Judges James Davies and Dave Parris both had it 115-114 for O'Donnell.

The new champion shows off his belt, before celebrating with his fans.

Lenny Daws vs Pete McDonagh

Pete McDonagh gets warmed up on the pads. The Bermondsey fighter has been on a good run lately, with 6 wins in his last 8 fights. In his most recent bout, he earned a decision over the previously unbeaten Lee Purdy.

Lightening Lenny Daws, a regular at York Hall comes into the bout with only 1 defeat in 20 professional contests. The Morden fighter, who once held the British 140 pound crown, drew with Nigel Wright in his previous attempt to win the English title.

McDonagh started the bout very well and took the first couple of rounds. Here he catches Daws with a hard right hand.

The action was intense, as both fighters were more than willing to come forward and mix it up.

After getting off to a slow start, Daws found his footing and turned up the intensity. Here he pounds home a right hand between McDonagh's guard.

As the bout wore on, Daws proved a little bit too strong for McDonagh, but the action was competitive all the way through.

It's over. After 10 tough action packed rounds, Daws has his hand raised by referee John Keane. Keane's score was 97-94.

The new champion proudly shows off the hard earned prize.