Djillali beats Veal for title and Purdy and Wu wage war in K1 thriller at Road to Contenders
PUBLISHED: 18:46 17 February 2019 | UPDATED: 20:43 17 February 2019
Norfolk prospect Chey Veal came up just short in his bold bid to move up a weight category and capture the first title of his promising fighting career at a superb Road to Contenders event in Norwich.
Veal, a natural flyweight, stepped up ten pounds in weight to meet the tall, rangy and experienced Duncan Djillali for MMA banatmweight gold in the main event of the first-ever Road to Contenders show at the Epic Studios.
And, in an absorbing back-and-forth scrap, Veal, who fights out of Norwich’s Elite Gym and Tsunami Norfolk, was pipped 48-47 on all three scorecards, the fifth and final round proving decisive as Djillali managed to keep the fight standing and land some spiteful shots.
Djillali, who was presented with his belt by former Norwich City star Grant Holt, improves to 6-5 with the win while Veal drops to 3-3-1, but will only learn from the experience – and pose problems for anyone back at his natural 125lbs.
Elsewhere, the K1 match-up between Suffolk’s Jack Purdy and Norfolk’s Adrian Wu was every bit as good as advertised, both men trading breathtaking and brutal high-level combos in a staggering display of elite striking.
In the end Purdy, of Ipswich’s Mamba Martial Arts, took a razor-close points win – but there will be huge demand for a rematch between the two, ideally over five rounds and with a title on the line.
Cromer’s Fighting Fit Martial Arts gym had a perfect evening, with their fighters winning all five battles in which they engaged – Bartek Grabowski and Eddie Jonas looking particularly impressive, while Jen Stoner, Ben Hicks and Beth Boland also had their hands raised.
In the co-main event of the night, Elite’s giant heavyweight boxing hope Jakub Adamski saw off the game Kamil Witkowski via split decision, showing nice boxing fundamentals and his trademark terrifying power in equal measure.
And two more Elite fighters, brothers Luke and Reece Ward, look to be stars of the future after they both thrilled the packed crowd with their victories – Luke showed an otherworldly chin and relentless pressure to beat Cameron Johnson on points in a K1 fight, while Reece displayed his unorthodox but flashy striking in his tough majority decision triumph over the talented Craig Gibson.
Fellow Elite prospect Danny Gotts, meanwhile, laid claim to knock-out of the night honours, responding to some goading by foe Richard Patchett with a perfectly-placed right hand to drop his man and force an early halt to hostilities in the second round of their MMA dust-up.
There was an impressive finish too from Siam boxer Paddy Harkins, who landed several rapid combinations on Elite’s Aaron Rolfe to prompt a second-round stoppage – to his credit, Rolfe took the fight on late notice and gave up a significant amount of weight in the duel.
Road to Contenders full results:-
Bartek Grabowski beat Jamie Grant on pts (UD) - 56kg boxing
Danny Gotts beat Richard Patchett via second round TKO - 72 kg MMA
Eddie Jonas beat Joao Lopes via third round TKO - 68kg K1
Luke Ward beat Cameron Johnson on pts (UD) - 64kg K1
Liam Bailey beat Jack Walker on pts (UD) - 80kg boxing
Jen Stoner beat Leanne Fernandez on pts (UD) – 63kg K1
Jonathan Hind beat Sam Smith via second round TKO (cut to eye) - 70kg MMA
Paddy Harkins beat Aaron Rolfe via second round TKO - 82kg boxing
Ben Hicks beat Jay Durrant via first round TKO - 84kg MMA
George Morris beat Mark Dunham via second round TKO - heavyweight MMA
Reece Ward beat Craig Gibson on pts (MD) – 60kg MMA
Beth Boland beat Ewelina Rolinska on pts (UD) – 57kg K1
Jack Purdy beat Adrian Wu on pts (UD) - 60kg K1
Jakub Adamski beat Kamil Witkowski on pts (SD) - heavyweight boxing
Duncan Djillali beat Chey Veal on pts (UD, 48-47 on all three cards) - Road to Contenders bantamweight MMA title