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Simpson's The Champ As Pithie Struggles

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 Pitbull'.

The twelve round bout saw Jim pummel Pithie and at the final bell even Pithie was resigned to defeat.

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.

He said:

"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 Dean Pithie."

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.

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CWN / Sport / Boxing / 23 May 00

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM