Portsmouth boxers Lucas Ballingall and Bailey Donald impress on South Parade Pier bill

Bailey Donald, right, on his way to victory. Pic: John ArthurBailey Donald, right, on his way to victory. Pic: John Arthur
Bailey Donald, right, on his way to victory. Pic: John Arthur
Chris Hitchin and Atlantic Promotions staged a compact yet entertaining night of professional boxing at South Parade Pier.

The four-fight Christmas ‘Sleigher’ show was unavoidably reduced to three bouts as Portsmouth’s Connor Edney suffered a freak calf injury while warming up backstage that forced him to withdraw just as his opponent entered the ring.

After a successful debut at the same venue in October, it was a bitter blow to the likeable bantamweight who had plenty of fans in the crowd, but 2020 will doubtless see him continue his momentum.

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Nonetheless, a brace of Pompey boxers in Lucas Ballingall and Bailey Donald racked up wins in two enjoyable fights.

Lucas Ballingall, right, on his way to victory. Pic by John Arthur.Lucas Ballingall, right, on his way to victory. Pic by John Arthur.
Lucas Ballingall, right, on his way to victory. Pic by John Arthur.

Lightweight hope Ballingall showcased his silky southpaw skills with a four round shut-out victory over Slovakia’s Ivan Godor, much to the adulation of the raucous fans.

Trained by his father Michael, Ballingall showed exceptional movement and accuracy as he chopped painful hooks to the head and body of an opponent who grabbed and mauled repeatedly in a fruitless attempt to disrupt the 23-year-old’s rhythm.

It was a good work-out for Ballingall who stayed composed throughout, despite Godor’s spoiling, and extended his unbeaten record to 13 fights.

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Ballingall is overdue a shot at a title after Archie Sharp pulled out of a WBO European title bout earlier in the year. But as the mandatory challenger for the English title currently held by Myron Mills, 2020 could well serve up the opportunities he deserves.

Lucas Ballingall is declared the winner. Pic by John Arthur.Lucas Ballingall is declared the winner. Pic by John Arthur.
Lucas Ballingall is declared the winner. Pic by John Arthur.

In only his second fight, welterweight Donald won all four rounds against Sheffield’s Qasim Hussain, a veteran of over a hundred fights who knew enough to survive down the stretch and yet retain enough energy to taunt Donald’s fans between rounds.

Carrying his hands low, Donald showed good speed and lateral movement as he thoroughly dominated his opponent. Hussain’s shell-like defence prevented many of Donald’s shots from landing cleanly but, when they did get through, they hurt - briefly buckling Hussain’s legs in the second round and forcing him to spend long periods covered up on the ropes.

Trained by Waterlooville’s Daron Wiseman, who has guided Donald throughout a highly successful amateur career, the teenager showed an aggressive, flowing style

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with plenty of punch variety that indicates he is well-suited to the professional game.

Lucy Wildheart, left, on her way to victory. Pic: John ArthurLucy Wildheart, left, on her way to victory. Pic: John Arthur
Lucy Wildheart, left, on her way to victory. Pic: John Arthur

The show opener featured a women’s super-featherweight contest between Sweden’s Lucy Wildheart and Slovakian Denisa Cicoova.

The Scandinavian girl forced Cicoova to retire at the end of the second round.

Scheduled for six rounds, southpaw Cicoova had no answer to the relentless pressure and power of Wildheart who bossed throughout and began breaking down her opponent from the first bell.

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In her first contest since narrowly losing a decision to former Olympic Gold medallist Estelle Mossely in June, Wildheart produced hurtful, heavy hooks to the body - something of a signature punch.

Bailey Donald after his victory. picture: John Arthur.Bailey Donald after his victory. picture: John Arthur.
Bailey Donald after his victory. picture: John Arthur.

The crowd rewarded the win with healthy applause, and Wildheart will begin 2020 on the hunt for significant titles. With her record in the professional ranks now standing at six wins and one loss, she is certainly one to watch.