MONTREAL’s David Lemieux and his supreme left hook got the better of a typically gutsy Hassan N’Dam to claim the vacant IBF middleweight title via unanimous decision at the Bell Centre. Scores were 115-109, and 114-110 for the new champion.

N’Dam was was in trouble early, shaken by his crowd-pleasing opponent but he rallied back. In the second session, N’Dam found himself on the canvas. He returned there twice in the fifth, and again in the seventh, but – as he did against Peter Quillin in 2012 – refused to stay there.

The Canadian, who has recovered from a pair of losses in 2011, did not have everything his own way as 31-year-old N’Dam rallied strongly after suffering each knockdown. The toughness and desire of neither should be called into question after this pleasing battle.

Lemieux, 26, can now boast a record of 34-2 (31), a repaired reputation, and becomes an attractive opponent for Gennady Golovkin.