Garston’s Tony Dodson was unable to deal with the naked aggression and sheer brute strength of Ovill McKenzie at Bowlers Exhibition Centre in Manchester Friday night. Like the bare-handed bull tamers of Tamil Nadu, he could only collar the Commonwealth champion for a few fleeting moments before being tossed to the canvas and then trampled underfoot in round 3.
Dodson, who could pass muster as a Jason Statham-a-like, attempted to ride out McKenzie’s initial bolt from the pen. The favourite hemmed Dodson in against the strands for the majority of the session, whistling home waves of awkward humdingers which the local fighter attempted to evade and then smother.
Dodson did claim round 2. Boxing on the back foot, the challenger landed a series of meaty counter rights which bloodied McKenzie’s nose. It looked the perfect gameplan. “The Upsetter’s” wild vigour, though, marked him as a constant threat.
McKenzie (174 lbs.) slugged Dodson (173 lbs.) with a straight right in his own corner moments into the 3rd, a shot which wobbled his knees and from which he never recovered. Two more rights and a clubbing shot with his pet hand bundled Dodson over and onto all fours, drama which drew ear piercing shrieks from the home crowd. Up at nine and chasing a lost cause, Dodson ate a follow-up barrage which sat him on the ropes and brought referee Victor Loughlin’s intervention at 1:06.
McKenzie, 20-11 (9), is in rude form yet it’s difficult to plot a next step for him at light heavyweight. A rubber match with Tony Bellew makes no sense for either. A return with the tricky Darlington southpaw Bob Ajisafe would likely be an eyesore, while Nathan Cleverly is too far out of reach. He’d almost certainly be deemed too risky for stuttering Sunderland prospect Tony Jeffries, although Birtley bomber Travis Dickinson would make for fun fare.
Dodson, 28-7-1 (14), joins a list of seemingly cursed Scousers of late. The Smith brothers, Paul and Stephen, the aforementioned Bellew and Derry Matthews have all been beaten in succession. The fog will surely lift from over the Mersey in the coming months, an unwanted pea souper which is blighting the top men in its midst who punch for money.