Statement stoppage for British title chaser Josh Wale but Atif Shafiq beaten

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Barnsley’s Josh Wale was clearly in a rush as he disposed of opponent Aivaras Balsys inside two rounds at iceSheffield.

Wale was double-booked for the night and was due at an awards ceremony is his home town later in the evening.

But he had time to grab a statement stoppage ahead of his British super bantamweight title fight early next year. Opponent Balsys - a natural featherweight had been stopped just once in 12 defeats previously, so it was a suprise to see him so comprehensively bullied by Wale.

Once Wale began to find the body, it was clear that Balsys did not fancy four rounds of such punishment.

He retreated into himself, allowing Wale to come forward at will and consistently find the body.

One such hefty hook, followed up with a strong right cross crumpled Balsys. Though he met the count, the same sequence put him down again and the referee had seen enough.

If Wale was explosive, Rotherham’s Kash Ali was devastating as he took out Lukas Skirca in less than two minutes of the night’s opening bout.

Ali connected with a flush right uppercut that saw Skirca bent double. Referee Howard Foster got his count to three before deciding Skirca was finished and waved the bout off.

It was a night for stoppages and Rotherham’s Lee Appleyard continued the theme as he overwhelmed Michael Stupart in the first round.

Classy Appleyard’s accuracy saw him dominate the short contest.

A big overhand right doubled Stupart over and Appleyard pounced, landing two clean shots and referee Foster had seen enough.

There was a shock in the main event as Rotherham’s Atif Shafiq was outpointed by Abdon Cesar in a British Masters lightweight title fight.

Ingle-trained Shafiq started the eight round contest well, showing his skill to dart in and out of range and tag the rather crude Cesar.

But as Cesar began to find the hefty shots, Shafiq’s fight waned and he found himself embroiled in a scrappy war he would have little chance of winning.

In the third and fourth Cesar dominated while Shafiq offered very little in return as he consistently missed.

The fight descended into somewhat of a wrestling match, about which both men were warned, and it played straight into Cesar’s hands.

The ultimate outcome might have been a surprise but there was no shocks when a 77-75 decision in the Cameroonian’s favour was declared at the end of the bout.

There was a steady debut win for Clinton Woods-trained Jos Paul, who outpointed the resilient John Weeks over four rounds.

Eckington’s former unlicensed fighter showed some decent flurries of shots to control Weeks but there is plenty for he and Woods to work on in the coming months.

Paul must work on his jab and looked particularly vulnerable to left hand shots but had enough skill to stay ahead of Weeks through the majority of the contest, earning a 40-37 points decision from the official. His overhand right is a particularly dangerous shot to look out for in the future.

Big hitting cruiserweight debutant Russell Henshaw of Ilkeston earned a second round stoppage against the rarely-stopped Moses Matovu while Newark’s Fergus Taylor was made to work for his 59-56 win over the tough Ibrar Riyaz.

Belper welterweight Ryan Fields won a 59-56 points decision against a game Kevin McCauley.