GLASGOW’S Commonwealth light-welterweight champion Willie Limond won the battle of the veterans last night, the 35-year-old adding the British belt of Curtis Woodhouse of Yorkshire to his own title.
The chief supporting bout on the undercard of Ricky Burns’ comeback fight at the Braehead Arena last night was a cracker of an all-action contest, Limond flooring his 34-year-old opponent from Driffield in the third and eleventh rounds, though Woodhouse never gave up.
The scoring at the end from judge John Keane was the most accurate at 116-111, with judge Richie Davies’s 117-109 verdict understandable, though how Victor Loughlin of Paisley could call it a 113-113 draw is a mystery.
After a cautious start to the fight with Limond content to score with his jab, he upped his attack towards the end of the third round and caught Woodhouse with a peach of a left uppercut that sent the British champion to the canvas, though he was up quickly to take the standing count of eight administered by referee Ian-John Lewis.
Limond stunned Woodhouse again with a crisp straight right in the fifth, before the fight became an absorbing contest featuring good tidy boxing by both men, Limond always having the better punches but Woodhouse throwing more.
It was very difficult to call most rounds until the ninth when Limond trapped Woodhouse on the ropes, the Englishman emerging with a cut over his left eye.
The relentless pace never flagged as the bout entered the championship rounds, and it was Limond who ended the better, putting Woodhouse briefly on the canvas for another standing count of eight midway through the eleventh.
That effectively ended the fight as a contest, and Limond successfully evaded Woodhouse’s charges in the last to defend his title for the third time and finally win that sweet Lonsdale Belt denoting the British championship at his third attempt.
Limond said: “I feel I have finally exorcised my demons. I have been desperate to get my hands on this elusive belt. It’s been hanging over me since the Alex Arthur fight in 2003.
“Woodhouse is a tough guy but I was patient and picked my punches. I knew I was capable of producing that kind of performance. This is the biggest win of my career.”
Earlier, Stephen Simmons of Edinburgh successfully defended his WBC international silver cruiserweight title with a barnstorming finish, flooring difficult and determined challenger Wadi Camacho and then forcing referee Richie Davies to call off the contest with Camacho out on his feet a minute into the final round.
There had been considerable aggro in the build up to this fight starting with some ill-chosed words by Camacho about Simmons’ wife Nicole, and threats and insults were traded freely on social media and at press conferences by both fighters.
Yet they both opened up by respecting their opponent, Simmons shading a cautious round. The bad blood was seen when both boxers traded blows after the bell, earning a rebuke from referee Davies.
In the second, Camacho threw more leather but it was the champion who landed with hurtful punches in the third, though Camacho absorbed them and came back with a few of his own.
in the fourth, Simmons shipping some damage round both eyes.
Camacho was proving a very tough nut to crack, and though the man from Canning Town sustained swelling to his right eye in the sixth, by the seventh round it was clear that Simmons was going to have to raise his game. Instead both boxers were warned by referee Davies for roughhouse tactics.
His jab counted for the champion in the eighth and there was a sense of momentum building in his favour. A long left and a solid right early in the ninth both stunned Camacho, and by the end of the round he was clearly exhausted.
Simmons pressed home his advantage early in the tenth and final round, making every punch count and sending a bewildered Camacho to the canvas for a count of three.
The brave challenger was allowed to continue before a barrage of lefts and rights to the head caused referee Davies to call it off some 61 seconds into the round.
Afterwards both fighters embraced warmly in the ring and Simmons said: “He wants to draw a line under everything and apologise to my wife Nicole and me for the stuff that was said. If he makes an apology then fair enough but the main thing is I am still the champion. I was proud of myself that I didn’t lose my cool and didn’t let him affect me.”
Also on the undercard, Kris Hughes got revenge for his narrow defeat by Jon Slowey last December. The Bellshill Badger won the vacant Celtic featherweight title by comprehensively outpointing Glaswegian Slowey, the three judges scoring it 98-93, 98-94, and 97-94.
Callum Johnson, the Lincolnshire-based light-heavyweight who won gold for Scotland in the last Commonwealth Games in Delhi four years ago, got his stop-start professional career back on track with a comfortable points win over Nathan King of Mountain Ash in Wales. Johnson is now undefeated in eight pro contests and has promised to fight much more frequently in future.