Despite an eight month hiatus from the ring following the loss of his IBF Light Heavyweight title to Antonio Tarver last year, Clinton Woods came roaring back to life last night at Hotel de France in Jersey on the Channel Islands, handling opponent Elvir Muriqi over 12 one sided rounds.
With the victory, Woods becomes the mandatory challenger for the IBF title.
The 36 year Englishman proved to be the far sharper man in the ring with Muriqi, who many thought could have the advantage in this contest due to a better showing against Tarver during a disputed majority decision loss in 2007.
The much shorter American based visitor tried to come forward against Woods but Muriqi found a wall of leather for his troubles as the Sheffield native picked off Muriqi repeatedly.
Woods shook Muriqui several times, landing bombs from both the outside and inside, putting his edge in height and reach to good use.
Muriqi showed a superb chin and big heart during the contest but was never allowed by Woods to put together a cohesive offensive strategy, coming up short by scores of 119-109 and 117-111 twice after 12 rounds.
Woods improves to 42-4-1 (24) while Muriqi drops to 35-5 (22).
Backing up the main event was former English Bantamweight Champion Jamie McDonnell, 11-2-1 (4), who stopped Krastan Krastanov, 3-3 (0), of Bulgaria in the third round at super bantam.