Coventry boxer Neil Simpson
was today celebrating after becoming the city's first British champion
in almost 20 years.
The 29-year-old defeated WBF
champion Mark Baker to scoop the vacant British light heavyweight
title in last night's bill at the SkyDome Arena.
Nearly 3,000 people watched as
the Willenhall boxer battled through 12 tough rounds to defeat Baker,
who put up a tremendous showing considering he was drafted in as a
last gasp opponent.
Simpson was due to clash with
Irishman Darren Corbett but the fighter, who defeated him in December,
pulled out after a dispute over contracts.
For much of the bout it seemed
that Baker was to write the headlines, especially when he had Simpson
on the canvas in round two and round five.
However, the determined light
heavy-weight battled through and had the crowd on their feet after
being announced a points winner by the match referee.
There was also a lucky escape
for super feather-weight Dean Pithie who was given a rough ride in
front of his home faithful.
South African Wiseman Jim can
count himself unlucky not to be in possession of the WBF
inter-continental belt after a storming performance against 'The
The twelve round bout saw Jim
pummel Pithie and at the final bell even Pithie was resigned to
The judges staggeringly
disagreed with the majority of spectators and declared the bout a
draw, setting the stage for a future rematch between the two fighters.
Pithie himself admitted that
he had been lucky and was disappointed that he did not give a good
account of himself.
"I can fight so much
better than that, at the end of the day the people here today have
not seen what I am capable of.
"Everyone has got their
own opinions about the way the fight went points wise and all I
would say is that another fight with Jim would show a very different
The undercard saw a flush of
local victories with Roy Rutherford, Gordon Behan, Tony Conroy and
Gareth Payne all emerging winners.
Leamington-based Edwin Cleary
scored a draw in his middle-weight clash with Stoke boxer Dean Ashton.