|Last night, at the Newham Leisure Centre in London, Ian Napa outboxed and outfoxed a hardworking Martin Power to retain his British Bantamweight title. Despite being six inches shorter than his opponent, and having a four inch reach deficit, "Dappa" Napa used a style practiced to negate Power's advantage, forcing Power to lunge in rather than being able to box as he would have liked.||
© Jane Warburton
For Napa, his sights will be set on a third title defence to claim the Lonsdale belt outright, and maybe even European honours. For Power, his third consecutive defeat has left him with a lot of thinking to do about where he can go from here.
Round by Round: Power seems to have the edge in the support terms here tonight, but Napa looks pretty confident too, as always coming in pretty loose and with his trademark shades on. Power's four inch reach could be a big advantage to him tonight, as he looks to repeat his first victory over Napa last week.
Both guys with cagey openings, plenty of head movement from both, and Power claiming the centre ring. They trade jabs early on, and Napa ducks under a right hook from Power. Napa's jabs fall short. Power with a jab and two straight shots landing. Power with another jab and straight shot.
Napa's jabs are only finding the Power guard. Power doubles up the jab then a straight rtight, but as they clinch, Napa works three hooks into the body. Power with a jab, and another hard straight down the middle. Trading jabs, but they tear up a little close to the bell, hooks to the body from each, then a jab from Power.
Napa with some jabs. Power with some hooks. They land simultaneous right hands. Napa more active this session with body shots and a right hook. Napa gets caught with another right hand, but works the body again. Napa is pushing Power back a bit more now. They clinch, and Napa is pushing Power back onto the ropes, then puts more hooks into the body.
Power is being pushed all across the ring now, and is forced to lunge in with counter hooks. Napa is in his element in centre ring, moving well and popping the jabs. Power comes forward with two landing hooks, and puts some body shots in as the bell rings.
Napa's session this one. 19-19 Even.
Napa jabs to the body, but gets caught with a left hook. They trade hoooks centre ring again with Power landing a little more. Uppercut and a straight right from Power, and he's circling Napa more than retreating now. Power landing another hook as Napa puts in a hook of his own, its the trademark shot of the fight at the moment. Power is getting the best of this round now, as Napa comes forward and gets caught with straight shots time and again with his shoulder roll guard not working. Napa looking better there, with a good body shot and a big right hook.
Power's round, but Napa still looking good. 29-28 Power.
Although Power has the name, looks like Napa has the actual "power" in this bout. Power coming forward with some jabs, but Napa goes to the body twice, but Power gets in his nice right hook. They trade simultaneous left hooks, and Power is consciously trying to push Napa back again now. It's swinging like a pendulum here.
Two good hooks in close from Power, then brings the guard up to block Napa's shots. Napa with two body shots. Power jabs, then looks to clinch. Power swings wildly with a flying left hook. They trade short hooks in close. Power comes in with a shot, but ships a right hook. Napa parries the power punches (pun) then counters to the body once more.
Napa ties it up. 38-38 Even.
Napa's jabs soar over Power's head. Cagey opening once again, and Power counters a Napa lunge with two hooks to the body. Napa takes a left hook, but throws a few jabs to keep Power off him. Big right hand from Power, and although it misses slightly, Napa goes stumbling back. Uppercut from Napa. Napa is working to the body again with a fine flurry of hooks. Power coming forward in spurts with jabs and straight right hands. Jabs from Power, but Napa with some sideways movement and gets out of the way. Napa moving well, but takes a left hook. Napa with some heavy shots to the body once again, and a right hook up top. They touch gloves, but Power looks a little despondent.
Napa's round. 48-47 Napa.
Napa with a hook sends Power stumbling. Power has a good flurry with Napa in the corner. Napa swings two wild hooks and misses, which is untypical of him. Napa does seem to pack the punch of these two. Right hook from Power, but Napa lands two in response. Napa's body shots are clubbing Power again. Power lands one of three jabs thrown, but Power is still shipping Napa's shots. Quiet round that one, but it's hard not to give it to Napa for accuracy and power.
Napa's round. 58-56 Napa.
Napa is dominating the centre ring now, and as Power comes in behind the jabs, Napa is landing body shots. Good straight right then a left hook rocks Napa back well. Napa with his own right hook. They trade body shots on the inside, its scrappy in there, but Power might be landing more. Right hook from Power, then Napa with a body shot.
Power with a hard upperhook landing near the sternum, but Napa digs in, pushes Power back and puts in even more body shots. Power headhunting with some jabs and straight shots, with maybe one or two landing from 9 or 10. Napa with two big hooks upstairs, but Power digs in with two straight shots of his own.
I think Power's workrate edged him this round. 67-66 Napa.
Power with some jabs, but Napa with some body shots. Power with a good flurry of hooks, and Napa is shoved back on the ropes. Napa's jab lands as Power's falls short, despite the difference. Straight right from Power. Two right hooks from Napa, then a great uppercut lands on Power, and Napa has the momentum again.
Body shot and right hook from Napa, but Power falls short with his jabs again. Left hook from Power, but the pace is slowing here. Flurry of body shots from Power, but one maybe two land. Napa comes out swinging to the body, landing more frequently, then an uppercut, and Napa knows he's just got to keep this up.
Napa's round again. 77-75 Napa.
Going into the last third of the fight it's Napa that has the fight to lose at the moment. Keep an eye out Mr. No Contest. Power working to the body, then a jab. Napa lands to the body, then backs out away from Power's straight right hand. Napa is now giving the tiring Power the ring centre. Napa with body shots to Power's jab riposte. They swap shots, falling short. Napa to the body. Napa with a good right hook, then a one-two to Power's body. Uppercut from Power then a straight right hand. Power is coming forward and throwing more, but Napa is more accurate in punching in bunches.
Not sure on that one, maybe Power's on workrate, but call it a tie on my card. 87-85 Napa.
The trainer still encouraging Power to fight in straight lines with the right hand. Power with jabs landing, and Napa falls short. Power digs to the body. Big right hand from Napa as Power is rocked coming in. They clinch and lean on each other. They trade jabs and short hooks in the clinch. Napa gets caught by another two jabs, but not much zip on them.
Power is blocking swinging hooks, then lands a jab and right hand. Napa goes back to his money shot with hooks to the body. Power comes back with jabs to push Napa back, and a straight hand. Napa swings to the body, but stumbles back from the force of his own punch. Napa with a good left hand pushing Power back. Napa to the body, but Power's put in a big effort this round. Jab and straight shot from Power, but Napa returns and overhand right.
Power looks shot, but he worked his heart out there to take the round. 96-95 Napa.
Napa opens up with some body shots again, but Power comes back with some hooks. Sky have Napa way ahead, but he's not working enough to make this a cakewalk in my opinion. Napa calling Power in, who obliges with some jabs and hooks upstairs. The Napa guard is working well though, give that to him. Big right hook from Napa, as Power comes in with a jab and straight shots. Power with a huge flurry of effort, body shots and straights upstairs. Looking to pressure Napa, but he's flat-footed and looks exhausted in there. Napa with a good right hand, but Power lands body shots.
Napa's accurate hard punches edge him that one, but i still have it fairly tight, whatever Jim Watt says. 106-104 Napa.
Napa looks fresher, falling short with three jabs, then finding the Power guard with an overhand right. Power is all over him though, with body shots and hooks upstairs with Napa pinned in the corner. Body shots again from Power, then a one-one-two. Fantastic last round as they both trade and throw. Napa with some fantastic hooks, but Power is ploughing into him with straight shots and body shots, and although he ships a straight shot, he's throwing more.
Napa is fighting out fo the corner, with two big hooks landing. Napa with an overhand right. Napa gets caught three times in a great flury from Power, and two right hooks back in the centre of the ring. Napa comes back to the body, and Napa's grinning like he knows he's won. He's taking a jab and a body shot now, and waves his hand in victory. Napa takes two more shots. Both men hug, and looks like Napa's taken it.
Trainer Johnny Eames is hugging his fighter Power, who has taken the last round.
115-114 to Napa.
It's been an exciting fight towards the end, and Eames has Power on his shoulders, trying to swing the judges. Eames genuinely think Power's got this one.
The scorecards are read: 117-111, 117-111, 117-112 all for Napa
UD decision, and Ian Napa has retained his title. There are boos around the arena, but Napa was the powerful fighter in this one.
Ian Napa wins his third straight contest, all British title fights, to improve to 16-6 (1).
Martin Power has his best showing since stopping Isaac Ward last year but loses his third straight bout to drop to 19-3 (8). While he has only lost to quality operators such as Napa and twice to Commonwealth Champion Tshifhiwa Munyai, the St. Pancras man must improve his defense if he is to return to the top class in Britain.