Gardener secures Contender final spot
Hard-hitting Michael 'The Wasp' Gardener (2-0) moved one step closer to his goal of being the 2016 Wray and Nephew Contender champion when he scored a brilliant victory on points over his more experienced rival, Ramel 'Sub Zero' Lewis (7-5), at the Chinese Benevolent Association auditorium on Wednesday night.
It was a unanimous decision as Judge Ransford Burton scored the fight 49-45, Laurence Neufville 49-46, and Peter Richards 50-45.
This was easily the most exciting fight of the competition so far, and spectators had a lot to cheer about. Both men had signalled beforehand that they would be throwing a lot of punches, and they kept their word.
Lewis had his moments of ascendancy, but it was Gardener who scored consistently and methodically in the third round, which produced a lot of action and had spectators on their feet cheering wildly as the tempo of the fight increased.
Things reached a crescendo in the fourth round as Gardener let loose with a barrage of punches. Lewis was not able to keep him at bay and he was hurt in this round. After a quick burst of two-fisted action from Gardener, Lewis seemed ready to fall and quite likely, would have hit the canvas if he had not been caught up in the ropes. Referee Owen Nelson ruled this as a knock-down, however, and gave Lewis an eight count. Gardener was all over him at the bell.
When Gardener came out for the fifth and final round, he was more conservative and appeared winded.
He also showed some of his former amateur weaknesses when he leaned on the ropes and dropped his guard several times.
Lewis was not able to capitalise on this, and Gardener was able to end the fight on cruise control and with a victory neatly tucked away in his pocket.