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20 JUNE 2018


Purdy Shocks Watson Once More

Lee Purdy Finishes Craig Watson (Pic: Javed Iqbal)
Lee Purdy Finishes Craig Watson (Pic: Javed Iqbal)

By Andrew Wake at ringside: Lee “Lights Out” Purdy proved that lightning can strike twice on Saturday night when he stopped Craig Watson in the fifth round once again.

The Essex man won the British welterweight title by halting Watson on the undercard of Amir Khan- Paul McCloskey in April, but many considered it to be something of a fluke.

However, at the Leisure Centre in Watson’s home town of Oldham, Purdy made the doubters eat their words by grinding down the tricky southpaw before referee Mark Green waved it off.

The win sets up a rematch with Commonwealth champion Denton Vassell. Purdy lost a close fight of the year candidate to the Mancunian in 2010 and has been keen to avenge the set back ever since.

For Watson, it will be hard road back to title contention. Now he’s been stopped in his last two outings, he’ll surely slip down the domestic title pecking order and could find himself on the outside looking in.

Things had actually started well for the Joe Pennington-trained stylist. He beckoned Purdy forward, avoided the Colchester man’s jab, and connected with right hooks.

And he continued where he’d left off in the second session by landing a flush counter left off the ropes after Purdy had twice fallen short with his stick.

But Purdy began to solve the Watson puzzle close the end of the third. He landed a right hand followed by clubbing left and visibly the tide began to turn.

Watson cleverly moved around the perimeter of the ring and landed some decent shots, but by the fifth and ultimately final round, Purdy was prepared to walk through the storm to land his own weighty blows.

A left hook to the body saw Watson drop to his knees in pain and then it was clear that the action wasn’t going to last much longer.

Purdy waded in when the bout restarted and series of punches again had Watson on the canvas. While the Oldham-native bravely got back to his feet, he quite clearly didn’t want to carry on and Mr Green called it over. The time was 2.00.

The bout was broadcast live on Youtube, a new venture for the world of professional boxing.

Craig Watson (Pic: Javed Iqbal)
Craig Watson (Pic: Javed Iqbal)
Bob Ajisafe v Darren Stubbs (Pic: Javed Iqbal)
Bob Ajisafe v Darren Stubbs (Pic: Javed Iqbal)
Leeds-based Darlington man Bob Ajisafe won the vacant English light-heavyweight crown when his bout with Darren Stubbs was stopped mid-way through round three due to a cut.

Ajisafe had been in command from the off, landing one-twos to the head almost at will. Stubbs, a 39-year-old veteran, tried to get his own attacks going but the only thing he gained in the opening session was a laceration in the centre of his forehead.

The fusillade from Ajisafe continued in the second and a perfectly time right hook around Stubbs’ guard opened up a gash over the Lancastrian’s left eye.

Strings of lefts and rights came Stubbs’ way early in the third, worsening the blood around his features until referee Howard Foster inspected the damage at 0.37 and deemed the old warhorse unable to continue.

Commonwealth welterweight kingpin Denton Vassell marked time with six rounds points win over Italian-based Nicaraguan Ronny McField.

Vassell, a bank worker by day, put in a far from vintage display, often making it harder for himself than needed by got the job done. Adjudicator John Latham scored it 60-54.

Denton did land heavy blows to the torso in the early rounds but when that appeared to cause the visiting fighter little discomfort, he started to force his work and that led to several scrappy and repetitive rounds.

Preston’s Dean Halsall is a fighter with a few smooth moves. The unbeaten middleweight used fast hands and smart shoulder rolls to take his slate to 3 – 0 (0 KOs) with a 40-36 four round shutout over Waddington’s Ryan Clark.

Clark, fighting for the 40th time despite being only 21 years of age, is not your normal kind of journeyman because he comes to make a real fight off it. In the opening round his looked to have wobbled Halsall with a left hook, but the Preston man was more off balance than anything.

But he stuck to his guns and tried to land with blows as the fight progresses. Halsall, though, was simply too slick for him and connected with rapid jabs and crisp double left hooks.

From the first bell to the last there was no doubt that Austin Hornsby’s clash with Stourport traveller Billy Smith would end with a 40-36 mark from Mr Latham.

Hornsby made a controlled start, utilising a crisp jab and was never forced out his comfort zone by the 111 fight trial horse. Hornsby’s record now stands at 5 – 0 (0 KOs).

Another boxer extending his perfect record on his Hatton Promotions show was Preston light-heavy “Magic” Matthew Clarkson.

The 24-year-old took command of his fight with Doncaster’s James Tucker early on and another 40-36 verdict was never in any doubt. He is now 3- 0 (0 KOs).

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