Boxing: Ingle clings on to lift world crown

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PAUL INGLE rubber-stamped his quest for a rematch with Naseem Hamed by claiming the International Boxing Federation version of the featherweight title with his thrilling win over Manuel Medina in Hull.

The Scarborough 27-year-old triumphed by a unanimous points decision after a 12-round contest that will rank as one of the best fights seen in a British ring for some years. And Ingle, beaten by the World Boxing Organisation champion Hamed in 11 rounds in April, roared: "Get back in training Naz - give me a few weeks off and we'll get it back on."

Ingle finished the fight with a gaping wound on the top of his head which required five stitches, and a swollen and cut left eye. He had put the Mexican on the canvas twice in round two, with left hooks, and once again in a torrid 10th, via a straight right.

But Ingle's relentless attacking style almost caught up with him when he stood less than three minutes away from his lifetime dream. First he sustained another awful cut around the swollen left eye, then with just 20 seconds of the final round remaining he was knocked to the canvas.

Bloodied but unbowed, Ingle clambered up when the count reached six and survived groggily to the final bell as his legions of supporters screamed at him to stay upright. "I got caught with a silly shot and I just had to get up and survive," Ingle said. "I knew I had the fight in the bag, I just had to get up and keep my hands up."

There was little doubt about the judges' unanimous verdict in favour of the challenger, although one 118-107 card appeared far too wide of the mark.

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