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Dai Country by Alun Richards [...].

Dai Country by Alun Richards But the sight of Benja hesitating and muttering to himself was confusing.

He flung out a half-hearted right and followed it with a heavier blow hooked to the body which Benja blocked. For almost a full minute, there was not a blow squarely struck.

But Benja, slant-eyed with a glowering rage, suddenly gave one almighty shudder and rushed for his man in a spasm of temper, throwing a wild uppercut that grazed Biggs' forehead and caused him to send a haymaker in frightened retaliation.

He grunted as he did so, wincing as the contact with Benja's jaw sent a shooting pain up his arm. To his surprise, it landed plumb on target, but even more incredible, still blinking through moistened eyes, Biggs saw Benja stiffen as he fell like a clothes peg on to his back on the floor.

There was an amazed gasp from the crowd and before the derisive shouts began, Biggs, flushed with embarrassment, said thickly through his gumshield, "I didn't mean to... honest...".

But the referee began to count and the photographer's flash bulb caught Benja's glazed eyes and inert body sprawled in that ludicrous position, his new gloves unmarked.

He was out for the count, first punch.

Then the crowd began to laugh. Ever vociferous, now they excelled themselves.

"Iron man," one shouted.

"Iron man - glass jaw!" "What you got there, Biggsie boy - a coconut?" "It's a carve-up. The poor bugger don't look as if he ever bin off the sick."

"Bring back the soup kitchens!" "It is Benja," said Ivor Jones to his brother. He stood up and peered into the ring. "It is, it bloody is. And behind there... Jecko, the bastard!" But Jecko had turned to go. He did not see the need to wait. They could have been scooping up Benja's limbs, he would not have stayed, nor felt one second's regret. He felt free, released, a new vigour coursed through his veins and he strode with a unique confidence, his manner and walk, the newlyacquired flush of colour on his cheeks, all indicative of a body wholly alive with the pleasure of conquest.

Benja defeated, Benja a shell, splayed out like some absurd novice, cooked by his own vanity, and a photographer there for good measure. He would take pleasure in purchasing that photograph, Jecko knew.

Continues tomorrow Dai Country by Alun Richards is published by Parthian as part of the Library of Wales series. For more information on the series visit www.libraryofwales.

org. To buy your copy visit www.gwales.com
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 24, 2010
Words:428
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