Boxing: Brodie's brawl points the way to Swain's crown

It took a scrap on a football pitch to persuade Manchester's Michael Brodie that he had a future as a professional fighter - which has been confirmed in an 18-fight winning sequence that has moulded Brodie into one of the best young prospects in the land.

His 19th bout should give a significant indication of Brodie's calibre against the Commonwealth super-bantamweight champion, Neil Swain, for the vacant British crown at the Wythenshawe Forum tonight.

The 8st 10lb match will provide an interesting contrast in styles and could turn out to be one of the domestic matches of the year, Brodie's fast, powerful hands against the sharp-hitting southpaw Swain.

Brodie, 22, played football for both Manchester United and City boys' teams until his sporting direction diverted after his on-field altercation. "He was a boxer and I beat him up," Brodie says. "He said to me `you've got the aggression why don't you start boxing?' So I had a go and found that I liked it better than football.

"Swain's a good, strong fighter. I've looked at a tape of him, but I'll beat him. I think I'll be too strong and stop him in the later rounds."

Brodie is a fair body puncher, and his left hook should spend a lot of time targeting Swain's ribs. That mode of attack could be the key to Brodie's success, but the Pontypridd-born Swain, 25, will take some cutting down.

The indications are that Brodie will claim the title by a decision, or on a late stoppage.

Wales should have least one winning southpaw on the Frank Warren promotion, the former undefeated British super-middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe. The knock-out specialist from Newbridge faces Nebraska's Tyler Hughes in his second appearance under the Warren banner and, although the American is unbeaten in 11 fights, it is difficult to imagine that record holding up against Calzaghe's power.

Ten of Hughes' fights have been staged in the comfort of his home state, and against little-known opposition.

Calzaghe, though, has made such short work of his foes to date 15 of his 20 straight wins have come inside two rounds.

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