Champion attacks Welch's tactics

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The Independent Online
Scott Welch had to take Henry Akinwande's punches and then a stinging rebuke from the World Boxing Organisation heavyweight champion after his defeat here on Saturday.

Welch threatened muscular deeds, but only made a passive attempt to claim Akinwande's title before going down by a huge points margin.

The challenger was never in contention and judges' cards of 120-108, 120-108 and 119-110 told the sorry tale of his failure to throw anywhere near the required amount of punches.

"Welch said he was fighting for England. I think he was a disgrace to the country. You could see he didn't want to fight it takes two to make one," Akinwande said. "The way he was talking before the fight I thought he was going to come out like Rambo. But you could see he just run like a sissy."

It was a stark contrast to the effort made by Beckenham's Kevin Lueshing to take the International Boxing Federation welterweight title from Puerto Rico's Felix Trinidad. He was stopped in the third round after flooring the champion in the second.

Frank Warren, the promoter of both British challengers, was in no mood to excuse Welch's poor showing. "It was one of the worst performances I've seen from a British boxer fighting for a world title," he said.

"He seemed to freeze up. It was the easiest chance he will have of winning a world title. He wouldn't beat Michael Moorer or Evander Holyfield."

Only in the 10th did Welch seem to make any kind of impact. His game plan was to rough up Akinwande inside, but never found a way past the champion's telescopic arms.

"I threw it away. It was my first shot at a world title and I failed miserably," Welch said . "I just couldn't up the pace. Perhaps the event and the occasion got to me."

His trainer, Jim McDonnell, was candid in his assessment: "Has he got what it takes at this level? On this performance, no."

Akinwande's next bout could be a fight in May and he is the leading contender to fight the winner of next month's vacant World Boxing Council title fight between Lennox Lewis and Oliver McCall.

n Frank Warren was involved in a scuffle with Lueshing's commercial manger, Roger Levitt, before the fight with Trinidad. Levitt was left with a bloodied lip after Warren claimed he was invited to hit out after a row over Lueshing's purse. "He challenged me to hit him on the chin," Warren said, "so I did."