Boxing: Witter stops Battaglia in world-class display

Junior Witter finally made the move that he had been threatening for so many years and last night placed himself in the increasingly rare category of being a world-class British fighter.

Junior Witter finally made the move that he had been threatening for so many years and last night placed himself in the increasingly rare category of being a world-class British fighter.

In less than two rounds of truly exceptional punching he dropped and stopped Italy's Salvatore Battaglia in the second round to win the European light-welterweight title at the Nottingham Arena.

However, there was far more at stake than yet another one of the sport's glitzy belts because the win confirms what Witter has been proclaiming for many years that he is indeed a serious threat to Manchester's Ricky Hatton. Witter has been chasing Hatton for many, many years and just recently the Manchester idol, who regularly attracts crowds of over 16,000 for his fights, acknowledged that he was frustrated with his own career.

"If Ricky wants to fight me and if he wants to do it on the BBC then he can come across now and I'm sure that we can make a deal," said Witter.

In last night's nominal main event local fighter Carl Froch retained his Commonwealth super-middleweight title when he finally stopped Canada's Mark Woolnough in what will be a serious contender for fight of the year.

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