Jake ‘Brutal’ Bostwick had the full backing of a partisan crowd in Bethnal Green’s York Hall on Saturday night, but Patrick Vallee wasn’t there to make up the numbers. The pair engaged in a three-round thriller, as Warrior Fight Series came out swinging with its third instalment.
Bostwick edges Vallee in Thriller
Not many people know this, but Jake Bostwick makes a bit of money on the side renting-out his fists to demolition companies. He’ll reduce a disused warehouse to rubble with a blistering combination for five hundred quid, or raze an entire block of flats to the ground with a right hook for seven-fifty. Joking aside, Bostwick got a brief taste of what it’s like to be the bricks rather than the wrecking ball during his instant classic with France’s Patrick Vallee on Saturday night.
It was a typical start from the young Londoner, forcing the issue from the outset with hard kicks while stalking his man down. Vallee – a veteran of the European circuit – was the consummate professional though, using his movement well and braving the storm while he sought out an opening. It came with a room-silencing uppercut towards the end of the first, but the Frechman couldn’t capitalise. Vallee switched back to his bread-and-butter submission attack, forcing Bostwick to defend an armbar to the bell.
After a slightly calmer second round the fight was all to play for heading into the third. Bostwick walked his opponent down well, snapping off powerful, accurate punches that cracked like gunshots though the venue. As the crowd hit fever pitch willing their man to the win, Vallee upset the applecart again, dropping Bostwick with another uppercut in a moment of déjà vu. Once more he was unable to finish, this time with strikes rather than a submission. Just as it seemed like all was lost, Bostwick was able to effect an escape. Biting down on his gumshield, he dug deep and let rip with a Hail Mary, smashing Vallee backwards and down where he continued the onslaught to the bell.
It was a moral victory at the very least, but nervous faces in the crowd and whispered discussion between those ‘in the know’ pointed to Bostwick’s army of fans leaving disappointed. After what seemed like an eternity the scorecards were revealed; all three read Bostwick, and the York Hall erupted.
A draw may have been the fairer result, but neither man would have left the venue with much to complain about whatever the scorecards had read. Bostwick once again proved that he is much more than an offensive tank; his knack for defending submissions and ability to take a hit, remain composed and rally should silence any remaining doubters as to his position as a top-10 ranked UK fighter.
In the evening’s co-feature, Nathan Jones took a reasonably straightforward victory over Matt Robinson. Jones looks firmly back on the right path after hitting a career speedbump which saw him drop three straight in 2014. A quick takedown allowed him to move seamlessly to Robinson’s back and secure the fight-ending submission in a shade over two-and-a-half minutes. The win – which also earned him the promotion’s welterweight title – is Jones’ fifth straight.
In a match that raised a few eyebrows on paper, Brad Wheeler and Kester Mamba battled it out for an entertaining six-and-a-half minutes. ‘The Crazy Kid’ was firmly in control throughout, but Mamba is more capable than his record suggests, at one point attacking the legs of grappling standout Wheeler as the pair jostled for position on the mat. Wheeler was all business in the second; securing a dominant position and raining down a hail of elbows for the stoppage. Wheeler has now won five on the bounce, and will surely be mixing things up with a notable name in the UK’s lightweight division next time out.
Darren Stewart found out why that in seventeen pro MMA fights, Lloyd Clarkson has been stopped with strikes only twice. A small light-heavyweight who will likely make middleweight his home as his career progresses, Stewart hit Clarkson with everything but the kitchen sink, most notably a series of jaw shattering elbows that ‘Maverick’ dropped his guard to invite before grinning and getting stuck back in. Clarkson was game, but it was one-way traffic for the most part, with Stewart’s striking output netting him a clear points win.
Pelu Adetola looked like a different fighter to the one who was last seen at Cage Warriors in November of last year. Sharp hands, stinging leg-kicks and great defensive head movement were the order of the day as he notched up a unanimous points victory over the always game Emmanuel Cammarata.
Ticking the Boxes
The quality of Saturday night’s event belies the fact that this was just Warrior Fight Series’ third foray into fight promotion. Mired in controversy before a bell had even rang at their first event, WFS have succeeded in not rising to the bait; instead putting on a series of solid, entertaining fight cards of which their most recent was their strongest yet.
Regional events are often forced into a pattern of pitting local ticket-sellers against hapless bums in order to flesh out their undercard and keep things profitable. WFS has avoided that trap; the matchmaking was solid and nobody looked out of their depth. The action didn’t get under way for a full 90 minutes after the advertised start time, but once the ball was rolling the pace was solid throughout.
The York Hall, famous as a destination for boxing aficionados, added prestige to the proceedings and a decent-sized crowd generated an atmosphere far greater than their numbers. The building also has the advantage of there not being a single bad seat in the house; should the promotion attract even bigger crowds to future events – and one would assume that they will – the venue could become a comfortable and iconic home to them for some time.
By Brad Wharton