Boxing: Woodhall buoyed by return

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The Independent Online
Richie Woodhall, the former European and Commonwealth middleweight champion, has had a second change of opponent for his return to the ring in Widnes tonight after an absence of 11 months.

He will now meet the American Benice Barber on the undercard of Robin Reid's World Boxing Council super-middleweight title defence against Hassine Cherifi.

Woodhall had originally been lined-up to face Paul Wright, from Liverpool, and then the American Wayne Hankins, but both contests fell through. The Telford-based boxer has moved up to super-middleweight after being beaten by the WBC world middleweight champion Keith Holmes in his previous bout last October - the only defeat of his 22 fight professional career.

Woodhall has been out of action since then because of a second elbow operation and is keen to get back into action and restart his career. He said: "I feel happy about my prospects after moving up a division and joining Frank Warren.

"It was getting hard to make the middleweight limit and I was always aware that I would be going up a division in my career. I am looking to come back with a good win and then see what the future holds."