Lee Murtagh’s Boxing Diary – Back to Malta


We started the year off in warmer climes, when a Bethlehem team went over to Malta for the first time in almost a year. We had six boxers on the bill
although the total entourage was twenty seven people with family and friends, quite a good turn out considering it was just after Christmas.

East Leeds was represented by Crossgates Liam Hayes and Seacrofts Mark Black. Unfortunately we suffered a touch of the ‘away day post Christmas blues’ as Liam suffered a defeat in a fight he should have won – if he’d have just found the extra gear he quite clearly has. I don’t know if it was the heat, although February in Malta is not exactly sub-Tropical, the flight over taking it’s toll but quite simply, Liam just didn’t do enough. He was on top a lot during the fight but just couldn’t seem to capitalise and believe me Malta is a tough place to go get a decision and Liam just didn’t work hard enough on this occasion.

Mark Black, like Liam was also fighting for the second time in Malta. He also lost but in a different manner to Liam as he allowed the large ring to work against him and he let his opponent run around it and pick him off, I actually thought the fight was fairly even but Mark just didn’t impose himself enough. Lee Williams was on the wrong end of what I thought was a very suspect quick stoppage but all in all it was a great experience for everyone involved.

We took a couple of Bethlehem’s up and coming young fighters out there for the experience and both Liam Mc.Elduff and Stanks based Danielle Naylor will have gained good insight from their trip out there. I hope to take another Bethlehem team to Malta in May. I would love to have them both fighting out there however for Liam there is no-one in Malta of a similar age with similar experience, so he might have to wait a bit. The same goes for Danielle, however she’s got a title fight to look forward to before then.

Unfortunately print deadlines have worked against me again but she’s fighting for the Semi Pro Boxing Yorkshire Area Featherweight title against Sheffield’s Chelsea Smith in my first show of the year at the Aria on Woodhouse Street. Danielle is proving to be a really good, skilful boxer and she also seems to be turning into a bit of a cult figure with quite a large and vocal following. She’s worked hard in training and deserves a chance at a title.

Liam Hayes is heading the bill, which gives him a quick opportunity to get the Malta defeat out of his system and Liam Mc.Elduff has his fifth fight, it’s some times easy to forget Liam is only sixteen. Garforth’s Joe Hardy has been training with us for a few months now and is having his first fight for Bethlehem.

You might have already seen series 3 of Bethlehem Boxing which was filmed last Autumn, it’s amazing how quickly things change and for me it seems to be looking back on a different era with many faces coming and going since it was filmed, which really is just typical of boxing.

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