John O’Donnell outpoints Tommy Tear
LONDON, England – John O’Donnell restored his standing among domestic welterweights with a dominant decision victory over Tommy Tear for the BBBofC Southern Area title Saturday at York Hall at Bethnal Green in London, England.
O’Donnell (31-2, 11 knockouts) was the stronger man throughout, pushing back Tear (13-2, 1 KOs) for most of the fight, switching between southpaw and orthodox effectively and breaking down his rival with double right hooks to the head and body en route to a 98-93 decision win on the referee’s scorecard. Tear, of Slough, Berkshire never stopped trying but was outmuscled and outworked throughout.
The win is the 30-year-old O’Donnell’s seventh straight, and his first since December of 2015. Now the Shepherd’s Bush, London resident says he wants “bigger and better things,” namely BBBofC English welterweight titleholder Johnny Garton.
“I see Johnny Garton say in an interview he doesn’t know who he has to fight next. He does know, he’s got to fight me. He won’t fight me, he’s backing out already because he knows already what’ll happen to him,” said the native of Galway, Ireland O’Donnell, who brought with him a vocal following who made their presence known throughout the ten-rounder.
“Now realistically, no one can avoid me now. The board, they know I’m active and relevant and there’s no excuses. I’m one fight away from the British title (currently held by Bradley Skeete),” added O’Donnell.
Also featured on the card was unbeaten British heavyweight Kash Ali (11-0, 3 KOs), who kept his record unblemished with a 4-round decision over Hari Miles (9-12, 2 KOs). Ali, 24, of Birmingham, England displayed deceptive hand speed considering his rotund frame and was able to drop his Welsh opponent in the first round and wobble him throughout to earn a decision by the score of 40-38.
Ali, a 5-year pro who has been plagued by inactivity in 2012 and 2015, was working in the corner with two-time heavyweight champion Tim Witherspoon for the first time. Witherspoon, who scored three knockout wins in the United Kingdom during his prime years in the 1980s, including a nine-round stoppage of Mauricio Villegas at York Hall in 1988, believes Ali has the stuff to follow in his shoes if he wants it bad enough.
“He has potential to become heavyweight champion of the world. It’s up to him. I can teach him all the stuff that I know. He’s the one that’s gotta get in there and do the job,” said Witherspoon, who has worked with Ali for the past two months.
Witherspoon feels Ali needs to become more aggressive, saying he must put aside his “nice guy” personality in the ring. He thinks Ali is 3 fights away from a step-up in competition, still.
The prospect who shined brightest on the undercard was Richard Riakporhe, who finished the debuting Aaron Lacey at 2:14 of round one with a barrage of heavy right hands which resulted in a knockdown.
Lacey rose but the referee determined he was in no shape to continue, elevating the 26-year-old from Brixton, London to 2-0 (1 KO). Riakporhe, a former ABA novice champ, gets the most out of his 6’5” frame when delivering right hand power shots.
“I knew it was a matter of time when I landed my right hand. He reacted quite badly when I landed my first right, that’s when I knew I was gonna take this guy out,” said Riakporhe, a former street tough turned Marketing, Communications and Advertisement graduate from Kingston College.
Riakporhe says he “shouldn’t be here” after nearly dying following a stabbing incident in which his chest was opened up during emergency surgery. He says finding boxing kept him in the gym and away from bad influences when he put on the gloves at age 19.
When asked whether his degree helps him in his career, Riakporhe said: “A tremendous amount. I can market myself as a fighter. I don’t need anybody. I have it all in my head, exactly how I want to do it.”
In an 8-round cruiserweight bout, Robin Dupre (11-0, 1 KO) of Dagenham outboxed Russ Henshaw (6-3, 2 KOs) to a decision win. Dupre, 29, kept a busy pace, busting Henshaw’s nose with a steady stream of uppercuts from varying distances. The referee’s score was 79-75.
Joshua Ejakpovi (5-0, 2 KOs) boxed a safe, but effective fight against prolific loser Kevin McCauley (11-126), winning by a referee’s score of 40-36 and sending McCauley’s winless streak to 85-straight. The 30-year-old “Hollywood” Ejakpovi of Marylebone, London darted in and out with his superior footwork but took a few shots from the aggressive but unambitious McCauley.
The card was promoted by Mickey Helliet’s Hellraiser Boxing.