Boxing: Oakey ends long wait by winning WBU title

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Tony Oakey added his name to the list of current British world champions by easily outpointing the late replacement Konstantin Shvets to win the vacant World Boxing Union light-heavyweight title at York Hall, Bethnal Green, on Saturday night.

It was no pretty fight, though Oakey's fights never are. But the former amateur international and current Commonwealth champion is now unbeaten in 15 professional bouts.

On Saturday Shvets, from Ukraine, lost for the second time in 18 fights though possibly provided a stiffer test than Estonia's Andrei Kaersten, who pulled out at less than 24 hours notice. It was the fourth change to the main attraction and Kaersten's agent, the ubiquitous Philip Fondue, a Belgian dentist by profession, had Shvets ready.

"I never make fights easy and this was no exception. I knew how durable he was and I knew he was not like most late replacements," said Oakey.

Last year Oakey won and defended the Commonwealth title. He had a promotional agreement with Barry Hearn but for months there were no offers on the table and at the same time his manager, Frank Maloney, was apparently looking in vain for a significant fight.

Three weeks ago Hearn announced that Oakey would fight for the British title though Maloney, then stated that Oakey would have the opportunity of fighting for the world title.

Oakey, like any professional boxer would, accepted the highest bid. Hearn was understandably upset, but Oakey had his fight. And now he has his title, joining the pantheon of other current British world champions – all 17 of them.