Boxing: Omens good for show-stealer Graham

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The Independent Online
The "five titles" promotion at London's Olympia on Saturday was designed to showcase Spencer "The Omen" Oliver, the Finchley 22-year-old regarded as British boxing's hottest prospect, writes Glyn Leach.

However, the show was stolen by a name from the past, 37-year-old Herol "Bomber" Graham, who rekindled his career with a remarkable victory over Chris Johnson, a 25-year-old Canadian unbeaten in 18 fights.

Graham, a former British, Commonwealth and European champion at light- middle and middleweight, won the vacant World Boxing Council international super-middleweight title when, after being dropped by a sweeping southpaw left in the seventh, Johnson was rescued under fire by the referee, Terry O'Connor, with 20 seconds remaining in round eight.

"It is brilliant proving myself and, of course, then you prove other people wrong," Graham said. "It was like heaven when I finished him off - who said I couldn't punch?"

When Graham returned after a four year lay-off at the start of 1997 there were fears for the safety of the affable Sheffield stylist. This win, however, puts him in line for a third shot at a world title.

Oliver, meanwhile, successfully defended his European super-bantamweight title by unanimous decision against the Frenchman Serge Poilblan.