Newark's Tom Cowling and Olly Marple extend unbeaten records with wins in Leicester
Two of Newark’s young prospects protected and extended their undefeated records on Saturday night.
Pro boxer Tom Cowling, 24, of Newark, outpointed Seamus Devlin as he made his ring return for the first time since lockdown.
And it was the same story for fellow stable mate Olly Marple, also 24, who fought for the first time since a four-round points win over Raimonds Sniedze two years ago because of hand problems.
The Newark light-heavyweight earned a points’ win over Tim Ventrella as all eight of Carl Greaves’ fighters cruised to victory at the Morningside Arena in Leicester.
The bill was Greaves’ first since the easing of covid restrictions and the Newark promoter said he had to deal with new challenges while organising the card.
“It was hard putting it together,” said Greaves.
“I had pull outs from big ticket sellers, injuries and opponents dropping out.
“I managed to get eight fights together and we got an area champion in Kyle Haywood so we are on a roll — but it hasn’t been easy.
“Some lads performed better than others but a long lay-off can be difficult to deal with.”
Greaves sold more than 1,100 tickets for the show, including 200 ring-side seats.
Of those who gathered support was Newark’s Cowling, who extended his record to five wins from five.
He said he was pleased with his performance.
Trainer Greaves said Cowling showed maturity against a tricky opponent.
“He fought a tough kid from the bare knuckle game so we expected him to be aggressive and put it on Tom,” said Greaves.
“But what actually happened was different. Tom is a strong puncher himself and he got the kid on the back foot early on.
“Seamus didn’t want to engage with Tom or exchange with him — he was in defensive mode.
“It was a bit negative from him and he made it hard for Tom, who expected him to come to him and have a fight.
“He said after the fight that Tom was the hardest puncher he had ever been in with, which was a huge compliment and it is good to know because he has been around a bit.”
Despite his compliments, Greaves also said many lessons could be taken from the win.
“Tom was a bit frustrated and he could have cut the ring off a little bit better but other than that he controlled the fight from the off, had him on the back foot and overall we were pleased with the win,” said Greaves.
“At the minute it is a case of the more rounds the better and we will see him in with better opponents soon.
“He has always done enough to beat the level in front of him and the more he steps up in levels the more he will perform in my opinion.
“The next step will be up to six rounds.”
Greaves said the win for Marple — also on points — was a rewarding feeling after his original opponent failed a covid test, prompting a late change in approach.
“It has been a long, long time for Olly,” he said.
“He has had real bad hand trouble that almost kept him out of the game so he is still not 100% and you could notice that he couldn’t hit with full power on the night but he is still making progress.
“He has loads of ability and has real natural skill and athleticism.
“We had to draft in a new opponent who was a real big kid, but he did well and boxed smart. The last 20 seconds Olly got the crowd going with a toe-to-toe exchange having controlled the fight from the first bell.
“He is very dedicated and he is itching to get back in.”
At the top of the bill, Leicester’s Kyle Haywood became the Midland Area super-welterweight champion at his second attempt following his first — and only — defeat to CJ Challenger in 2019.
“Kyle has been training with me in Newark for four years now and I am over the moon for him,” he said.
“Kyle landed the cleaner punches and both needed stitches after a head clash, but that summed the fight up.”
Greaves said he hoped to offer both Marple and Cowling a home show at Newark Showground in December.