BEN JONES became the WBO European super-featherweight champion with a dominant display of boxing at K2 in Crawley on Saturday night.
In front of a packed house, Jones topped the bill and did not disappoint an exuberant crowd who got behind their man from the start. Jones was in control from the outset and dominated opponent Kris Hughes from start to finish.
If you were being generous you could have given Hughes one of the 12 rounds, but that would be charitable to the Scotsman.
It was that one-sided a performance from the Capel resident.
The only real surprise of the evening was that Jones did not stop Hughes before it got to the end. He had Hughes on the ropes metaphorically and physically during the bout, but the Scotsman proved to be a stubborn opponent, refusing to give in and he lasted until the end of 12 gruelling rounds, but the decision was a formality.
And that showed in the judges’ scorecards as well, with Jones securing a unanimous decision – 119-109, 119-111, 120-109.
Jones said afterwards: “It’s an amazing feeling, I’ve worked for it all my life. I’ve dreamed of it since I was eight years old.
“I wouldn’t say it was my best performance at all, I knew it was going to be a scrappy fight, but I didn’t think it was going to be so entertaining for the crowd if I’m honest. He’s got everything to spoil a fight. I thought it was going to be a messy brawl. But I caught him early with a few body shots and his punches didn’t come out so much and once that happened I knew I had him.”
Jones was hurting his man with a series of shots to the body, followed by an uppercut and on a number of occasions it looked as if the referee would step in and stop the fight.
In round five, Jones connected with a lovely left jab and got two uppercuts in after a succession of hits to the body and Hughes was tiring.
Again in round seven, Hughes looked a beaten man with one good connection looking like it would be enough to floor him, but every time Jones got into his hitting stride, Hughes stubbornly held on, scrapping it out.
Jones added: “I’ve watched a bit of him, he knows how to grab and to hold and you can get two or three decent shots off and he grabs, gets his breath back and recovers and he’s very clever at that. I was ready for it and kept my calm, didn’t lose my temper and I got him with a few good shots at the end. Maybe if that was a bit earlier I might have stopped him, but it’s just luck of the draw. It could have been in the third round and it would have been all over but that’s boxing for you.
“I knew I was hurting him all the time, he was starting to breathe heavily, but he knew how to struggle through.”
Jason Nesbitt and Scrappa Smith got the night up and running, with Smith claiming a 60-55 points victory. Lee Jenman then beat Didier Blanch 40-37 before Marcus Eaton picked up the same margin of victory against Bheki Moyo.
Then in the special support bout to the Jones fight, a well-backed Nick Jenman, cousin of Lee, lost out to Chris Jenkinson in an international masters bronze middleweight title fight.
Jenman was stopped in the seventh round, caught by a surprise left hook from Jenkinson having been the better boxer until then.