Boxing: Jennings fights off Pryce's last-round flurry to retain British title

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The Independent Online

Pryce dominated from the start and was grinning when Jennings tumbled over for a count in the first round. It looked like the bookies had got it wrong with their odds of 8-1 against Pryce beating Jennings and winning the title.

When Jennings regained his feet, his legs and hands were all over the place and his eyes were wide and glazed, but he knew enough to survive until the bell. Pryce sauntered back to his corner with a look of victory on his beaming face. But then it all started to go wrong for the Welshman. From the second round through to the 11th Jennings took control, dominating the fight from close range.

The fight going into the 12th and last round was no longer close, with Pryce having looked near to quitting on several occasions. Even his energetic corner man, Enzo Calzaghe, had twice seemed close to getting him to stop.

Pryce came out for the final round with the look of a beaten man on his bruised and swollen face, but suddenly he took a step forward and once more started connecting with clean, looping punches; for almost the entire last three minutes of the fight Jennings was lucky to stay on his feet.

The crowd of 2,000, many of whom had travelled the short distance from Chorley where Jennings lives, had given up on sitting down and watched the closing seconds through their fingers, not quite believing just how close the man they had come to support was to losing the title after dominating the fight.

However, at the bell it was clear that Pryce had left it far too late and that Jennings had made the first successful defence of his British title. The three wise men sitting in judgement at the ringside all returned scores heavily in his favour, but he will also have to sit down today and try and find out what he did wrong to have risked nearly throwing it all away to a resurgent Pryce in those final, ridiculous 180 seconds of action.

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