undercard contests that were left off of our initial report published earlier today.
In the first round between Bradford's Witter and his adversary Lynes, "The Hitter" looks confident early and confuses the defensive and cautious Lynes for much of the round. Witter looks almost arrogant and lands a decent left hook before switching to southpaw. Lynes keeps his guard high and boxes defensive for the remainder of what turns out to be a tame opening round.
In the second, Lynes is doing very little and on the back foot, drawing Witter forward. Witter is trying to force an error but really should be upping the pace. Once again the fighters produce a tame session. The third round sees Witter looking busier but suddenly Lynes lands a good left hook. Despite the measure of success, Lynes slows towards end of round when a somewhat frustrated Witter lands a thudding right hook, but the boastful triple champion overall lacks any real conviction to his work.
During the fourth, Witter slows for first couple of minutes and fails to impose any real dominance in the bout. A good spell from Lynes erupts late in the round, to which the crowd responds favorably. The fifth frame sees Witter showboating through sheer frustration and is missing wildly with huge bombs. Lynes comes forward at last and lands a cracking right cross to Witter's temple. It's enough for Lynes to take the round. There's a feeling in the air that if Lynes came forward more often, he could have won the last three rounds.
Witter starts the sixth looking the stronger and sharper man now and lands a good right hand that stuns Lynes, sending him reeling back onto ropes. Witter is going for it now but is still missing by miles and to be honest, his timing is that of a blind golfer at times. The round is memorable largely due to the huge misses by Witter.
By round seven, Witter is looking overconfident but is starting to realize that he's not having things his way. Lynes lands a bracing right cross but seriously needs to get on the offensive more as he's simply not doing enough to capitalize on Witter's ineffectiveness.
The pace slows down in round eight when Witter lands a jarring left hook to the head of Lynes, who looks happy to just box clever and safe. Terrible round for both ensues in the ninth as Witter looks to be having a three minute rest period. No action whatsoever here. In the tenth, Witter looks recharged, but is still missing at times by either inches or he's off throwing huge wild shots that don't connect. The pace slows again but suddenly Lynes explodes two big right handers to Witter's head.
By the eleventh the crowd is rampant for Lynes, as they seem to sense that if he only committed himself that could swing the fight to his favor. Even so, it's a scrappy and poor round overall until Lynes explodes a good right hand and looks the stronger of the two combatants as the round comes to a close. Both fighters look tired as they shuffle back to their corners.
In the twelfth and final round there are no real clean shots landed by either man. Witter on the whole just looks poor and his lack of timing is shocking, as Lynes again just looks happy to stay on his feet.
Witter wins on all of the judge's scorecards, 115-114, 117-112, and 116-112.
Lynes, now 26-2 (9), does bear some responsibility for the lackluster pairing as his tactic of running and occasionally countering Witter's mistakes did not help to produce a great fight to watch. It certainly wasn't the great showcase that Witter would have wanted and may have been more to do with Lynes negative hit and run game plan, trying to steal rounds. Witter needed to commit more to force the action but his timing seemed way off tonight and of the few shots that Witter did connect with, only one blow in the sixth seemed to show a result.
All in all, on this performance, it's hard to conceive that Witter, 33-1-2 (19), could be ranked above Ricky Hatton or other top class fighters as he looked at best an outsider to the top five at light welter.
Interviewed on camera by Sky Sports, Witter said after the fight “The main thing is I won. I’m not hungry for these kinds of fights anymore; I need to fight a world champion. I never got myself into brilliant form during this one but I’ll take on any of the world champions Mayweather, Hatton or Cotto and I'll win."
Of the two additional bouts on the card, the Roy Rutherford - Billy Corcoran English Super Featherweight title bout was a stand out. Ex- British Featherweight Champion Rutherford had been out of the ring for sixteen months and the Corcoran team likely knew that this would be a good time to take on the thirty two year old Coventry man. The two fighters were well matched but the extra power that Corcoran packed was a big factor in the fight as the Irishman put Rutherford down in the second. The more experienced man beat the count and came back but Rutherford was rocked a few more times as the fight went on, forcing his corner to compassionately pull him out on his stool, giving Corcoran a fourth round stoppage win. It's the biggest win of Corcoran's career as he improves to 12-1-1 (5) while Rutherford falls to 17-4-1 (6) and has lost three of his last four.
In additional action, promising light middle novice George Hillyard took on Ernie Smith. This was a risky four round match up as it was only Hillyard’s third pro fight and placed him in with hardened one hundred plus fight veteran Ernie Smith. Smith gave Hillyard some things to think about but Hillyard was starting to work the centurion out and winning the rounds. In the fourth and final round, Hillyard had a point deducted for using his shoulder and at the end of the bout, referee Lee Cook gave the fight and a shocking win to journeyman Ernie Smith, 37-38. The crowd responded with a shower of booing. It seemed to be a bad call from the official and perhaps another example of why referees in the UK should not be allowed to score fights. Smith rises to
Lastly, welterweight John O'Donnell defeated Ben Hudson on points 40-36.