Last night at London's historic York Hall, Ryan Rhodes kept his unbeaten streak at light middle intact by knocking out reigning British titleholder Gary Woolcombe in nine rounds on a Frank Maloney promotion.
31 year old Rhodes regained the British title despite not having actually fought at 12 stone/154 lb since 1997!
Against Woolcombe, the long experience of the tricky Sheffield southpaw came to the fore. In the early rounds, Rhodes lay back and was content to let Woolcombe set the tone, choosing his spots carefully and hammering the British champion with educated counter shots that Woolcombe rarely saw coming.
As Woolcombe started to run out of gas midway throughout the bout, Rhodes began to go on the offensive and scored effectively with power shots that had the Londoner in some difficulty.
Woolcombe was floored in the sixth but the big hearted 25 year old beat the count and managed to box on until he was caught with a perfect right hook to the temple in the ninth round was counted out.
The second reign of new British Champion Rhodes, 39-4 (27), will likely get put to the fire as no doubt the former protege of Prince Naseem Hamed will soon have to defend against recognized top man in the division, two-time former titlist Jamie Moore, also a southpaw, who voluntarily gave up the belt so stablemate Woolcombe could have a crack at the crown last year.
On the undercard, Essex heavyweight John McDermott, 25-3 (16), ended the comeback of Pele Reid, 19-5-2 (17), after catching the dangerous puncher flush with a uppercut that had Reid unable to defend himself from the followup assault in the second round.
With the victory, McDermott cages the vacant English title and has now won six in a row following a first round knockout loss to Matt Skelton for the British title in 2005.
Also winning on the bill were light welter Ajose Olusegun, super feather Henry Castle, super feather Akaash Bhatia, cruiser Micky Steeds, Welter Scott Woolford, middleweight Martin Murray and lightweight Laura Saperstein.