FIGHT fans were treated to an action-packed night of boxing on Saturday at the Lagoon Leisure Centre and hometown favourites Kris Carslaw, Stephen Russell and Stevie Weir didn’t disappoint their fans.
All three put on terrific performances and they were joined on Braveheart Promotions’ all-action bill by IBO Inter-Continental lightweight champion Willie Limond, Commonwealth Games gold medallist Kenny Anderson and up-and-coming Scottish prospects Eamonn Goodbrand and Jason Hastie.
Weir was the first of the boxing Buddies to take to the ring in the evening’s second contest and he put on a great show against London’s Duncan Cottier to secure his third professional victory in three fights.
However, Weir was pushed all the way by his vastly more experienced rival who was taking part in his 50th paid bout.
And although the Englishman had suffered 44 defeats from those bouts he was made of sterner stuff than his record suggested – a fact acknowledged by Weir after the contest.
The Paisley puncher started slowly as he sized up his opponent but midway through the opening round he caught Cottier with a fearsome combination although the Londoner showed his experience to get out of trouble.
Weir troubled his rival again towards the end of the round with a great right to the body and in the second round another shot to the midriff put Cottier down briefly, although referee Paul Graham appeared to adjudge it as a slip, before the home favourite unleashed a barrage of shots but again the Englishman survived.
The Lagoon crowd were now baying their man to stop the contest after Weir started round three with a snap left which rocked Cottier before he then caught the 31-year-old with another couple of terrific shots.
Cottier may have suffered numerous defeats but he had only been stopped on four occasions and he was in no mood to see this contest finish early as both fighters showed plenty of aggression in the final round although Weir caught his rival with a couple of big shots and put in a relentless finish to take the round and secure a 40-36 victory on the referee’s scorecard.
Afterwards Weir paid tribute to his vanquished opponent and also the vocal home support saying: “The atmosphere was absolutely brilliant and it was the best I’ve experienced, better than Linwood and better than the SECC.
“To fight in Paisley was something I’ve always wanted to do and the crowd was fantastic and I was really pleased to get the win.
“I thought Cottier was a lot better than his record suggests and I think he must have fought a lot of up- and-coming boxers who are more likely to get the decision than him because he was good and he could certainly take a punch.
“I felt in control of the fight from the word go and as I was getting into it I knew I could take his punches so I was able to take a few risks.”
Russell was the next home favourite in action in a six-round contest against London-based Ghanaian Sumaila Badu as he looked to make it six wins out of six.
But the Paisley super-bantamweight had to use all his skills to take the victory against a slippery and awkward opponent.
The opening round was a tentative affair before Russell took control with a great right midway through.
He then boxed intelligently in the next couple of rounds although he was told off by ref Graham midway through the third.
But at the end of that round he rocked Badu with an overhand right before the bell saved the African.
The next round saw some good exchanges between the duo with the Paisley fighter just edging it before Badu got a stern telling off in round five for using his head.
Both fighters went for it in the final round but Russell again looked the more likely and at the end of the fight he was awarded a 60-55 victory on the scorecard.
Then Carslaw took on the experienced Ernie Smith, a fighter with 150 contests under his belt, and he looked determined to put on a show for his home support.
He landed a great shot in the opening seconds to stamp his authority on the bout and then a great right to the body rattled Smith midway through the first.
But towards the end of the opening round the South Wales scrapper appeared to headbutt Carslaw although Smith immediately apologised.
Carslaw was equally impressive in the next two rounds as he caught Smith time and time again but the experienced journeyman proved durable.
However, in the final round Carslaw sent his rival sprawling to the canvas with a terrific right to the jaw and Smith took a count of eight although he survived to the end of the contest.
But Carslaw was awarded a 40-35 points victory as he extend his recorded to five wins from five with an impressive showing.
And the boxing Buddie was pleased with his performance saying: “I thought it went well considering I hadn’t boxed for seven months and to put him down in the last round was a bonus.
“He’s a guy that was always going to be hard to put down and when you’re up against someone with that many fights under their belt you’ve got to learn something from it.
“It was also brilliant to perform in front of the Paisley crowd and I can’t thank them enough for coming out and continuing to support us.”
In the night’s other contests Birkenshaw’s Goodbrand recorded an impressive win over Keith Lilley, Hastie outpointed Mark Bett in a tight contest, Limond eased to victory over Matt Scriven and Anderson took the verdict in a dirty encounter against Latvia’s Jevgenijs Andrejevs.