Boxers are floored by reception in the Capital

Stephen Simmons scored a points victory against Jiri Svacina. Picture: Toby Williams
Stephen Simmons scored a points victory against Jiri Svacina. Picture: Toby Williams
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Cruiserweight boxer Stephen Simmons hailed the Clean Rite 2000 Ltd New Era show as a huge success as he returned to winning ways with a comfortable points victory over Jiri Svacina at a sold-out Meadowbank.

And the 31-year-old admitted he cannot wait to do it all again after it was announced promoters MGM Scotland will return to the Capital venue on Saturday, December 5.

Lewis Benson, left, oozed class against veteran Kristian Laight. Picture: Toby Williams

Lewis Benson, left, oozed class against veteran Kristian Laight. Picture: Toby Williams

The 2010 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist was given a rousing reception as he was piped into the ring by the Davidson Mains and District Pipe Band but was largely untested in the final bout of the night against his awkward Czech opponent.

Simmons was eager to atone for the first pro-defeat of his career suffered in April and he was too powerful for the eastern European, but was left frustrated by Svacina’s lack of commitment during the eight rounds.

“It was unbelievable out there,” Simmons said of MGM’s inaugural show in the Capital. “It was really impressive and surpassed any expectations that I had. It was just awesome and they’ve proved that Edinburgh has a base for professional boxing. What an opening. There’s going to be more to come in December so it’s going to be electric.

“I must thank the pipe band who were awesome and made it an amazing entrance.

“I could possibly defend my Celtic title on the December show or I could maybe fight for an international title. For me I just want to keep busy. That’s what MGM promised me when I signed back in March.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done but it’s good to have gotten in eight valuable rounds, especially against a guy that didn’t want to fight. He was running away so there’s not much you can do. He just came to survive and get a pay day.”

Tommy Philbin opened up the evening with an impressive display in his super middleweight pro-debut, England’s Mitch Mitchell proving no match for the 25-year-old who eased to a comfortable points victory over four rounds.

Brian Forsyth, looking for his second win of his pro-career, found his range in the third round of his bout with Luke Allon but was left a tad despondent as the judges scored the card 39-39 in their super middleweight duel.

Light welterweight’s Lee Redpath gave an assured performance against Ibrar Riyaz, the 33-year-old making good use of the jab as he made it three consecutive wins since switching to the paid ranks last year.

However, Lochend’s Stephen Tiffney got the biggest reception of the night as he provided the only knockout, flooring Lithuania’s Aivaras Balsys in the first round, his opponent enduring a torrid time before the contest was brought to a halt with just over two minutes on the clock. Tiffney was fast and precise with his shots, picking off Balsys at ease in what was the perfect start to his featherweight career.

“I knew he wasn’t the strongest so I was out there to take him out but I didn’t quite expect it to be in the first round,” Tiffney said. “I had a good support out there so it was a great night. It was an amazing atmosphere. Everybody has been saying this for so long about Edinburgh so it’s great it’s going to happen.”

John Thain was accurate with the jab in a smooth display against Lewis van Poetsch in what is likely to be his last bout in the light middleweight division. The 27-year-old is set to move down to welterweight but produced a striking four rounds in what was his 13th win of his professional career.

Light welterweight’s Lewis Benson oozed class against Kristian Laight in the penultimate bout of the evening, the 2014 Commonwealth Games boxer, spurred on by a raucous crowd, easing his way to a fine four-round victory over an opponent who has fought more than 200 professional bouts.

In the only fight not to feature a boxer from the Capital, Caldercruix’s David Brophy faced a difficult Dan Blackwell but came through his six-rounder winning 60-54.

Meanwhile, Craigmillar’s Jason Easton opened up his pro career with a stoppage in the third round against Bulgarian Ivailo Boyanov at Ravenscraig Sports Complex.

Boxing at light welterweight, the 24-year-old had his opponent on the canvas in the second round with a terrific body shot before a left hook in the next round brought the contest to a premature end.