‘Wasp’ Gardner stings Lewis with unanimous points decision

‘Wasp’ Gardner stings Lewis with unanimous points decision

Friday, May 06, 2016

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Michael ‘Wasp’ Gardner went sub- zero to carve out a masterful unanimous points decision against Ramel ‘Sub Zero’ Lewis and moved into the semi-final round of the Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum Contender Boxing Series at the Chinese Benevolent Association Auditorium, on Wednesday night.

Gardner was recording only his second professional win in as many fights and up against a very seasoned campaigner of 11 wins, and with a scintillating display of uncompromising body shots, peppered with a series of probing, even explosive shots to the head, swung the fight his way, with all three judges scoring in his favour. Judges Laurence Neufville and Peter Reid scored it 49-45, while judge Owen Nelson saw it 50-45.

When ring announcer Olive Hardie made the announcement, the decision was overwhelmingly popular with the crowd.

Entering the ring like a Roman soldier of the Praetorian Guard — metallic helmet and all — Gardner cut a picture of savagery that would have scared the daylights out of any opponent.

However, Lewis and his handlers could have dismissed the heroics as geared to attract attention from outside the ring and having no bearing on the fight. Lewis opened the first round as a man on a mission and drew first blood. This called to attention the services of ringside Dr Andre McDonald. It was, however, nothing too serious and so the boxers were allowed to continue to lay the groundwork for the plethora of punches that would unfold in succeeding rounds.

Despite the injury, at the end of the round Gardner had done enough to give a seething idea of what was to come for the sold-out crowd to savour.

The second round began with the boxers throwing bombs at each other, with Lewis on the hunt for an early knockout. But, it was Gardner who countered to land the most telling punches, while stepping out of the line of fire. Sensing that Lewis may be thinking of an early knockout due to the cut face, Gardner returned for the third round as a wounded wasp and waded into Lewis with a double-fisted attack of heavy body blows and fierce head shots that, at one point of the round, referee Owen Nelson to step in to give Lewis a standing eight count. This was after Lewis appeared to be out on his feet from the flurry of punches he was absorbing. The move by referee Nelson probably rescued Lewis from being knocked out as Gardner was laying it on.

Lewis recovered to fight on, but from this point onward only a knockout seemed possible to rescue him from certain defeat as his younger and more ebullient opponent, most fluent in attack and dominant in the fight, picked his spots with uncompromising regularity.

In about the fourth round or so, Lewis appeared to stagger Gardner with a strong right to the face, at which point the eventual winner skipped out of harm’s way. He had done enough damage to his opponent with his heavy body shots and Gardner coasted through the fifth and final round, playing the cat and mouse game on the ropes while daring his opponent to come forward. Lewis accepted the invitation but seemed too tired to be effective with his punches.

"I am very pleased with my performance. I came into this fight with only one intention, and that was to win. And for this, at no time did I take my opponent for granted. What you see coming from me is confidence, not cockiness," Gardner said.

"From the first round," Gardner thought he had the fight won. "I thought I could have finished him off in the third round but the referee intervened. So, I did not get the knockout but I stuck to the game plan, beat the body, and achieved the objective of winning," he concluded.

Lewis was full of praise for the younger fighter. "I thought it was a good fight, but I got tired early in the fight and robbed it of greater excitement. This, I thought, was caused from the long lay off and having to lose so much weight. This weakened me and prevented me from being at my best and more effective in the ring. What really hampered me in the ring tonight was tiredness. I am not taking anything away from Gardner, but I could have done much better being in better condition," said Lewis, who was reaching this stage of the series for the second time.

Trainer Castro Brown praised Gardner for a fair showing and pointed out that Gardner was much better than was seen Wednesday night. Gardner was prepared to defeat ‘Sub Zero’. "In his fights, Sub Zero’s opponent attack the head and not the body. Our plan was to go to the body and when you attack the body, then the head will drop. "Michael Gardner is the best fighter in the Contender this season. We see no danger to him winning the title. We are going to prove this even with ‘Chop Chop’ Corley among the fighters. For him, we have a plan which we will execute when the time comes," Brown disclosed.


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