By Martin Dunn: Gary Fox floored Neil Hepper to land a ‘dream’ Northern Area lightweight title at the Hartlepool Borough Hall on September 30.
Fox landed a strong right hook with 70 seconds to go in the fifth round of their rematch leaving Hepper staring at the ceiling.
Fox, who took the last outing by a point back in March, said: “I’m absolutely over the moon. It’s a dream come true for me.
“It’s been a long time coming for me to get this belt around my waist and now it’s finally happened.
“I thought I fought OK but I have a lot to put right if I am going to go for a title again.
“There were sloppy mistakes that I can easily rectify, but there is work to be done.
“But all in all, I’m the one with the title and there is nothing else that can be done, I’m just pleased to have won.”
The 26-year-old Fishburn fighter took on his Darlington opponent for the second time at the same Hartlepool venue but this time with an added incentive of a belt lying at ringside.
Fox had his 100 plus strong following shaking the foundations of Hartlepool’s home of boxing as referee Mark Curry waved his hands above Hepper’s head after Fox had pounced once the eight count was given.
However it did not all go to plan for Fox.
Through the first four rounds of the contest, Fox was trailing to a smart and precise performance from Hepper.
The fast and furious action that had been promised to more than 500 plus fight fans inside the Borough Hall came from the first bell.
Fox was buoyed by his previous victory but was quickly under pressure as Hepper came out and landed strong shots.
But then it was the turn of Fox to land one of his own midway through the third round as he rocked Hepper.
The pressure built as Fox’s nerves calmed and he settled into his own
Fox added: “I had all the fans behind me and they were great.
“I wasn’t at my best in the opening minutes but still I had to fight my own way.
“It was a good fight and I bet it was great to watch for the neutral but I should have been better.
“The punch I caught him with was a good one and I did catch him a few times but to be fair to Neil he was landing good too.
“But that is boxing. One punch can change a contest and it did.”
Fox will now look to “bigger things” after the win that saw him crowned the best lightweight in the Northern area.
He will return to the Brierton gym with his head held high and look to plan his boxing future with coach Neil Fannan.
Fannan added: “We will look for another decent fight and see what happens.
“He didn’t box to his best but Neil did look like he was tiring in the fourth with a long time to go.
“Gary is strong enough and has good spirit and I was disappointed, but Neil raised his game a lot.
“Gary had to push him back when he was he stood off, but it is all a learning curve.
“There is still a lot to work on but he has come a long way so hopefully it’s a sign of good things.”
October 1, 2012
Report courtesy of www.northeastfightscene.co.uk