Boxing: Buoyant Benn feels a cut above Eubank

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The Independent Online
NIGEL BENN considers he is in a position to dictate terms to his old enemy, Chris Eubank, after capturing the World Boxing Council super-middleweight title from Mauro Galvano, in Rome on Saturday night.

After two years' fruitless pursuit of a re-match with Eubank for the World Boxing Organisation title, Benn now can exercise the stronger bargaining power for a return fight. 'The WBC is the more prestigious title of the two and I'm certain Chris wants it. He's got to do a bit of chasing now, it's all changed,' Benn said.

The promoter Barry Hearn has a television date arranged for Benn's first defence on 13 December and there is a chance Galvano will be offered a rematch in Britain.

'I'm in the driving seat now,' Benn said after stopping the defending champion on a cut left eye. But Benn was almost stuck in a cul- de-sac. When Galvano stayed on his stool on a doctor's advice at the start of the fourth round, his seconds claimed the cut had been caused by a butt and demanded the fight be called a technical draw, leaving the title with their man.

The claim cut short Benn's celebrations, but strong representations by Hearn and the cool experience of the New Jersey referee, Joe Cortez, handling his 51st world title fight, ensured that the verdict went to the east Londoner.

Cortez was convinced that the damage had been done by a right- hand punch from Benn and not a butt during the second round, but contrasting opinions among the judges and the WBC supervisor fuelled the confusion.

'I was ready to cry. After all the hard training I thought they were going to take it away from me,' Benn said.

However, Galvano himself conceded that the damage was inflicted legally. 'The cut was not caused by the head, it was a punch,' he said. 'I feel sad because I never had a chance to get into the fight.'

Indeed he did not. Benn went on to the offensive from the first bell, leaving Galvano, with just one previous professional defeat, to snake out his left jab in a vain attempt to keep off the rampant Briton.

Benn drew first blood early in the second round from Galvano's eyebrow. He threw in heavy right- hand punches, but the exchanges became a little untidy at times because of Galvano's tendency to hold, for which he was warned. The Italian briefly brought the crowd to their feet by bundling Benn unceremoniously through the ropes in the third, but he hauled himself back claiming no knock-down and Cortez agreed.

(Photograph omitted)