IN THE last British title bout of what has been a trying 2020 the Lonsdale Belt changed hands on this Hennessy Sports promotion in Redditch, Crystal Palace light-heavyweight Craig “Spider” Richards, despite conceding both height and reach to Birmingham’s previously unbeaten Shakan Pitters securing an inside the distance win and returning to South London victorious.

With neither boxer particularly wanting to commit in the tentative early stages and having conceded a little ground to the Londoner in the previous round Pitters had made a better start to the fourth but then found himself on the canvas, initially rocked by an overhand right and then sent sprawling by a right cross whilst in the act of throwing a shot himself he had to hang in for the remainder of the session and after making it through to the bell one wondered if Craig might just have let slip an opportunity.  

 A few nip and tuck rounds followed but despite being the shorter man and oft on the recieving end of a snappy Pitters jab Richards was still getting close enough in to regularly land his own jab and by the start of the ninth he was beating the champion to the punch and after hurting the Birmingham man with a right moments earlier he dropped him a second time, this time with a left hook. Pitters was up at a count of eight but third man Victor Loughlin had seen enough and it was waved off just eighteen seconds prior to the end of the round.

There hadn’t been a huge amount of daylight between Coventry’s River Wilson-Bent and Burntwood’s Troy Coleman approaching the mid-point of the third round of the pairs clash for the vacant Midlands Area middleweight title so the conclusive ending which came at 1-42 of the round, came a something of a shock.

Wilson-Bent, working well from range, may well have been two rounds to the good having won the second by a clearer margin than the all action first but he began the third full of intent, whipping in an early right uppercut and a right cross before switching downstairs with a combination and then uncorking a cracker of a right that sent the man dubbed The Hawk over backwards.

Coleman was up as referee Bob Williams neared the end of his count but clearly in no position to continue and the Watford official waved it off.

Bexleyheath southpaw Sam Cantwell returned after a little over two years out in a scheduled six up at bantam against Chorlton’s Stephen Jackson, a first-timer trained by ex-pro Curtis Gargano who if this impressive debut performance is anything to go by is going to be one to keep an eye on. 

Sam had initially been slated to challenge Ricky Little for the Southern Area super-flyweight title but the Southampton champion’s withdrawal gave Jackson, who switched regularly, an opportunity he seized with both gloves.

On the front foot and pressing Stephen was equally happy to score with fast counters when required, had opened a healthy lead by the half-way stage and whilst Cantwell did enjoy a degree of success to the body in the third and fourth sessions Jackson was increasingly scoring with combinations upstairs and Sam was under no illusions that he had it all to do going into the last.

Still showing no sign of slowing Stephen began the session with another eye-catching combination before rocking his more experienced opponent with a straight right and referee Steve Gray, having hovered closely for a moment or two, duly brought an end to Sam’s suffering with just 46 seconds of the last round having elapsed.

The second technical count-out win of the night was garnered by Irishman Stephen McKenna who connected with a fine chopping right to leave Devon’s Des Newton spread-eagled on the canvas, referee Mr Gray dispensing with his count at eight just 36 seconds into the third round of a scheduled six.

McKenna, now with seven straight inside the distance wins had stopped Brierley Hill’s MJ Hall in five just a week earlier.

After an accomplished time in the vest Ireland’s 22-year-old Brett McGinty made his paid bow in a six against heavier Manchester based Czech Jan Ardon and triumphed when referee Steve Gray awarded him a 59-56 victory over the southpaw at the finish of what was a highly watchable encounter. The Donegal man, working with Ricky Hatton, had originally been set to debut back in March.

Birmingham middle Idris Virgo remains unbeaten, this latest victory, his ninth, coming at the conclusion of a one-sided six against Walsall’s Kearon Thomas, referee Bob Williams scoring 60-54 in his favour.

The Verdict Richards upsets the odds with terrific showing to put himself firmly in the fascinating light-heavyweight mix.