Boxing: Woodhouse marks debut with thumping win

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In one of the strangest tales so far this year, former England Under-21 footballer Curtis Woodhouse came through step one of his new career as a professional boxer at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London last night.

Woodhouse, 26, comfortably won his professional debut, which was scheduled for four rounds of two minutes, against South London's Dean Marcantonio, after sending his first opponent tumbling to the canvas twice in the fourth and last round.

Woodhouse was once sold for £1m but throughout his nine-year football career, at a total of six clubs, he claims he was never satisfied because all he has ever wanted to be was a prize fighter. Last night his dream, he insists, came true.

It has to be said that for a man with absolutely no amateur experience, the welterweight fight in front of 1,000 curious diners on Frank Warren's charity show was fairly impressive.

However, there is an alternative view and it is rather more harsh because for a novice welterweight, Woodhouse looked extremely naive at times and at 26 it will be difficult to turn him into a natural boxer.

Woodhouse will now have to sort out his weight because having dropped two stone since his playing days last season with Grimsby Town, he marked up - often a sign of drastic weight loss - rather disturbingly and that is something that would undoubtedly be a problem over boxing's longer distances.

In the nominal main event, Britain's fourth best cruiserweight Mark Hobson won the World Boxing Union cruiserweight title with a lopsided victory against Pavol Polakovic from the Czech Republic. The routine and unspectacular win keeps Hobson in contention for a far more meaningful and equally lucrative encounter against either Johnny Nelson, David Haye or a rematch against Enzo Maccarinelli.

Debt collector Hobson, from Huddersfield, lifted the title with a landslide points victory. Hobson took the decision by 120-109 on the cards of two of the judges, with the third scoring 117-112 in his favour.

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