17/04/2024

Plenty of fighters cashed in on the opportunity provided by Stan Sport's 'Turf War' pay per view - Photos: Stan Sport/Facebook

‘Turf War’ - Williams vs Hall saw two mega-stars top the bill, capping off a night in which a fight of the year contender captivated audiences.

A fight of the year contender, the son of a legend’s debut and a big time return dominated the fall out from Stan Sport’s ‘Turf War’ – Williams vs Hall event in Sydney on Wednesday night.

All of this, of course, does not account for the meeting between Sonny Bill Williams and Barry Hall. Understandably, the bout between the two converging football stars led to heightened mainstream appeal.

Those that tuned in were treated to a sensational night of fights though, with an undercard that delivered in droves.

Without any more deliberation, here are the talking points.

Sonny Bill Williams calls for Gallen after emphatic performance

Rugby took the mantle of king, as Sonny Bill Williams’ (9-0, 4 KOs) scored a dominant first round TKO of Barry Hall (0-1-1).

Scheduled for eight rounds, the highly touted cross-code showdown lasted less than two minutes. The powerful right hand of the Kiwi found the mark early, bringing an abrupt end to the action.

In all, Hall had no answers for the speed of Williams, who did not look back after establishing range early in the piece.

Often caught rushing in, the ex-AFL star was met with the force of a well-timed shots on numerous occasions. Specifically, a sharp left hook was indicative of a skills progression by Williams under the tutelage of former World champion, Andy Lee (35-3-1, 24 KOs).

With such a victory, Williams also proved that he is better than the term ‘footy fighter’ might suggest. The emphatic nature of the performance goes to show that Williams is at a level above fighting fellow football players.

For this reason, Williams’ post-fight call for a bout with another fighter in a similar category, Paul Gallen (12-1-1, 7 KOs), makes complete sense. Each man has participated in these attraction fights, as well as contests with fighters considered more credible competition.

Sure, the meeting might not result in the purest boxing contest, but it will lead to an evenly matched bout on paper and one that creates a platform for Australia’s up and coming fighters.

Fleming and England combine for magical co-main

Australia now has a clubhouse leader for fight of the year in 2022 and it’s going to take some catching.

Even with two fighters nicknamed ‘Showtime’ and ‘Action’, nobody could have been expected to witness the painting of such a masterpiece on the Sydney canvas.

Super Featherweight pair Paul Fleming (28-0-1, 18 KOs) and Jackson England (13-2, 8 KOs) gave everything in pursuit of victory, with both men walking through fire in their 10 round co-main event.

Ultimately, the experience of Fleming shone through in a unanimous decision victory (95-94 x 2, 97-92), but the 2008 Olympian had to battle plenty of adversity along the way.

Early in round two, England slipped past a straight left hand, following with a counter right that sent his southpaw opponent to the canvas.

Yet Fleming returned to his feet undeterred, such was the nature of the evenly matched contest.

Over the course of 30 minutes, each fighter wore their share of hard shots, only to march forward in response. Through eight rounds, the action was truly ‘tit for tat.’ Each time Fleming made his way to the inside behind a damaging right hook, England found a way to exit the exchange with scoring uppercuts.

Sensing the very real prospect of losing his undefeated status, Fleming found another gear late in proceedings. Staggeringly, the 33 year old increased his output in rounds nine and ten of an already gruelling fight, thus stamping his authority on the contest.

From the triumph, a whopping five regional titles were added to Fleming’s trophy cabinet. While he walks away with all the belts, England too is a winner. Regardless of the official result, the 24 year old from Perth cashed in on the opportunity afforded by a big platform for his pay per view debut, proving that he belongs in the mix with Australia’s best.

More Boxing News:

WATCH: ‘It’s my time’ – Jackson England ahead of Fleming encounter

From Rose to Kambosos: Australia’s most memorable boxing bouts on US Shores

Dib vs Ng: Five talking points

Patience required on Mundine journey

An interesting storyline heading into ‘Turf War’ was the debut of Rahim Mundine (1-0). As the son of former World champion Anthony (48-11, 28 KOs), a sizeable amount of interest surrounded his maiden bout.

The 21 year old showed clear talent in his unanimous decision win (40-37 x 2, 39-37) over Lepani Levatia (1-5, 1 KO). Standing in a tall stance with a low lead hand, a style reminiscent of his legendary father, Mundine landed jabs to both body and head from a comfortable distance.

This exhibition of clear skill should be seen as a huge positive, given the relative lack of experience on Mundine’s part.

A prodigious rugby league talent, ‘CJ’ as he is known, has given little attention to pursuing a boxing career to this point. In fact, he entered this contest without an amateur fight to his name. Yet Mundine fought in an incredibly composed manner and did not let the pressure of carrying a legendary surname plague him.

The lack of in-ring tenure should also be enough of a reason to temper expectations from fans who might have been expecting a spectacular finish. As is the case in all sports, boxing involves a serious learning process, and Rahim has only just finished his first day at school.

With the entire Mundine family behind him though, including legendary grandfather Tony (80-15-1, 64 KOs), a solid future in the sport is there for the taking, should he choose to pursue it.

Welcome back, Bilal

After a near three year hiatus from the ring, Bilal Akkaway (21-1-1, 16 KOs) made a solid return on the ‘Turf War’ undercard.

Moving up to Cruiserweight to take on Sebastian Singh (13-5-3, 8 KOs), the 28 year old looked refreshed in his unanimous decision win (60-54 x 3). Although the scorecards reflect a clean sweep, Akkaway was met by a tough opponent who continued to pose challenges.

As the rounds wore on however, the class of the former interim WBA World title challenger began to show. By the time the final bell rang, Akkaway had landed more than his share of heavy punches behind a crisp jab.

More importantly, it was clear from the smile on his face that he enjoyed his return to competition.

With six rounds now under his belt, Akkaway will look to gather momentum back at Super Middleweight and re-climb the ranks of a division he almost reached the summit of.

Meehan left frustrated and without an opponent

On a night full of opportunity, spare a thought for Heavyweight knockout artist Willis Meehan (12-0, 10 KOs). ‘The Hitman’ found out just before the event that his bout was cancelled, due to issues relating to the medical clearance of veteran opponent, Hunter Sam (11-17-3, 4 KOs).

At 26 years of age, Meehan seems ready to dive into the deep end of Australia’s Heavyweight division. Though nothing is guaranteed in the world of combat sports, he might have turned in a star making performance.

It is certainly not outside the realm of possibility, given that Meehan finished Sam in the first round of their 2019 fight,

While fighter health is, and should always be, top priority in such a brutal sport, the chance to showcase skills in front of big audiences is also central to career progression. With Meehan’s background in rugby league, a place on the undercard of a dual-code megastar might have afforded this.

Overall, a frustrating night for a fighter determined to follow in the footsteps of his World title challenging father, Kali (42-6, 34 KOs).

For all the results from “Turf War – Williams vs Hall,” click here.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

About Author

Leave a Reply