Boxing: Welsh ring master waits

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The Independent Online
STEVE ROBINSON, the World Boxing Organisation champion from Cardiff, is waiting for permission to resume his campaign to make a clean sweep of the British featherweights.

The WBO still has to reach an agreement with its leading contender, Cesar Polanco, of the Dominican Republic, before Duke McKenzie, the former three-time world champion, can be pushed to the head of Robinson's queue. However, it appears that Polcano will step aside to allow McKenzie to provide the next chapter in the amazing Robinson story.

It began with the unsung Welshman winning the vacant title against Newcastle's John Davison at less than 48 hours' notice, and reached its latest stage 413 days later with victory in his fourth defence against Polanco's compatriot, Freddy Cruz, at the Cardiff Ice Rink on Saturday.

In between, Robinson accounted for the British trio of Sean Murphy, Colin McMillan, the former WBO holder, and Paul Hodkinson, the former World Boxing Council champion.

McKenzie, who would conveniently complete the set, is equally intent on proving that he is the top 9st boxer in Britain. The Croydon fighter would have been challenging Robinson on Saturday but for an ear operation.

''You've go to fight when he wants to box and you've got to box when he wants to fight. That's the way to beat him,' McKenzie said. 'Nobody else has done that. I'm not going to run and I'm not going to hide. I won't be bullied, I won't be denied. You've got to stamp your authority from the start. If he wants to have a dog-fight, then I'll just give it to him. Cruz made the same mistake as the others, Robinson just steamrollered over them.'

Robinson beat Cruz by the wide margins of 116-112, 118- 109 and 117-110, although the 32-year-old challenger did not help his cause by having a point deducted in the eighth for pulling down the champion's head. Once again, it was Robinson's strength, body punching and determination which overcame an elusive foe who had been beaten only once in eight years.

'Cruz was very slippery, very hard to catch and I think he is more elusive than McKenzie,' said Robinson, who intends to take a deserved break from training after his hectic and very lucrative 14 months as champion.