IN claiming the vacant English title in September, Chelsea cruiser Deion Jumah had needed less than five rounds to halt, and duly retire, Wadi Camacho. Sale’s Sam Hyde, though, had been an inside-the-distance winner in both of his outings last year. Could the Joe Gallagher-trained fighter repeat the feat and hand Jumah his first loss in 13 outings?

The answer at the finish of what turned into a pulsating 12-round English title bout, which also doubled as an eliminator for the British belt, was in the negative. But it wasn’t for want of trying on Hyde’s part. There were moments in the sometimes-frenetic later stages when it looked as if Sam might just turn the trick and in so doing silence the numerous and vociferous Jumah supporters.

Still close after five often nip-and-tuck sessions, the first real spell of concerted pressure came from the champion as the halfway point approached. Hyde was forced to weather quite a storm while backed into Jumah’s corner. He managed to come through unscathed and hit back before the bell sounded. He then probably just nicked a see-saw seventh.

Previously guilty of waiting too long, Deion came out fast in the eighth, but Sam was having none of it and a couple of clubbing rights left Jumah holding momentarily. However, the champ was able to close out the round with a pair of his own shots after the slightly over-anxious challenger fell short with an intended hook.

The ninth proved pivotal and this time it was Hyde, slowing a little and with a bloody mouth, who was forced to hold, having shipped a couple of weighty combinations. Jumah looked the fresher man now and, with his confidence growing, he stretched his lead by taking the 10th. The penultimate session was seemingly won by Deion too, despite Sam springing into life once more and getting through with a couple of huge blows in the closing few seconds.

With his right eye almost closed, Hyde’s fans roared as he connected with a cracking right and a trio of uppercuts around a minute into the last round. Jumah, on the verge of being halted, grabbed hold twice under increasingly heavy fire, before regaining his composure and going on the offensive himself.

After a fine title fight, judges John Latham and Mark Lyson both scored 115-113 for Jumah, while Steve Gray had it just a little closer at 115-114. Phil Edwards was the third man.

Unbeaten Mark Jeffers, ignoring a cut to the right eyebrow sustained when heads clashed early on, bagged his first pro title in stylish fashion. The vacant Central Area super-middleweight belt went home with him to Eccleston after he twice floored and stopped Bolton’s Ben Thomas.

Thomas, dropping down from light-heavy, was already playing catch-up and had picked up a little damage beside the left eye, too. Despite being bested, he hadn’t looked like folding until being caught by a glancing right and sent to all fours midway through the fourth.

He rose in time to beat the count but was afforded no opportunity to fully recover by the onrushing Jeffers, whose very next attack – a combination downstairs – sent him sprawling once more. This was the cue for referee Lyson to wave it off with 45 seconds of the round remaining.

With a stoppage win in Rome over Emanuele Blandamura in July signalling a return to form, Hattersley’s Marcus Morrison is looking to kick on again this year. He opened his 2020 account by completing a hat-trick of distance victories over Middleton’s tough Darryl Sharp.

The latest encounter finished 60-55, with referee Edwards awarding “Sharpy” a share of the final session. Morrison, holding centre ring for long periods, called the tune for the most part, keeping it long and working away behind the jab.

Undefeated Colwyn Bay southpaw Gerome Warburton, in at just a few days’ notice, conceded weight for the second successive bout but still emerged a 40-36 winner for referee Lyson over Irlam’s winless Ryan Hibbert. It was a particularly one-sided affair.

It was debut day for Conwy’s Osian Williams. Having upped the tempo in the second half of a four against Braintree’s experienced Dylan Draper, the first-timer was the recipient of a 40-36 decision from Mr Lyson.

The Verdict M22 Promotions’ Sunday afternoon shows are attracting good crowds at Woodhouse Park Lifestyle Centre. Maybe other promoters might consider giving Sundays a try.

Deion Jumah (198 1/4lbs), 13-0 (7), w pts 12 Sam Hyde (199lbs 14oz), 15-2-1 (8); Mark Jeffers (168lbs), 11-0 (3), w rsf 4 Ben Thomas (166lbs 14oz), 2-2-3 (1); Marcus Morrison (166lbs 2oz), 23-3 (16), w pts 6 Darryl Sharp (166 1/4lbs), 5-70-1; Osian Williams (153lbs 6oz), 1-0, w pts 4 Dylan Draper (148lbs), 1-41; Gerome Warburton (171lbs 2oz), 5-0 (1), w pts 4 Ryan Hibbert (179lbs 6oz), 0-4.