Boxing: Battered Armour near end of line

The long career of Johnny Armour is clearly coming to an end following his painful and bloody defeat against Australia's Nathan Sting at the Brentwood Leisure Centre on Saturday night.

Armour, 34, lost his World Boxing Union bantamweight title when his corner man, Mark Roe, had finally seen enough and threw the towel into the centre of the ring in round 11. Armour was cut in several places above and below his eyes, and was trailing heavily on points.

''That was a bad night, but I still think I have something left and I will go away and look at the options,'' said Armour, who first won a professional title 11 years ago and has since then been at the top or close to the top of the British bantamweight divisions.

On Saturday night, age finally looked to have caught up with him, but it is unlikely that he will quit just yet. Sting is not a serious puncher and had not been considered much of a threat, so a rematch is one possibility.

Last year, Armour completed a hat-trick of 12-round fights against Francis Ampofo, but it was possible to see during their last fight in September that Armour's ability to hit and not get hit had diminished drastically from his early days. There was a time when he was both elusive and effective when close, but for the last few years Armour has traded on his strength, his durability and his simple desire to succeed.

On Saturday, that was not enough and Roe could have and perhaps should have pulled his boxer out a few rounds earlier.

It will be interesting to see what happens if Armour decides to continue because, at 34, there is little time for two or three easy fights and yet an immediate rematch or an even tougher fight for better money would surely end in defeat.

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