Boxing: Witter's title blown away by Bradley's powerful right hand
Sunday 11 May 2008
Junior Witter became the fourth of Britain's clutch of world champions to lose his title this year, suffering a shock defeat at the fast hands of young Timothy Bradley from California, known as The Desert Storm.
The American took a split decision and with it Witter's World Boxing Council light- welterweight title with a close but decisive victory. This was to have been the 34-year-old Witter's shop window, the fight being screened live on ITV and in America by Showbox, but his future plans went out the shop window alongside his belt.
The decisive moment came in the sixth round when Witter carelessly left his chin exposed to a booming right hand which sent him to the floor for only the second time in his career, and six rounds later to only his second defeat in 36 contests.
It was a ragged and unkempt performance from Witter, though one judge from Italy gave him the fight by three rounds. The other two, from Mexico and Belgium, gave it to Bradley by two rounds and a single round respectively. It seemed he won more decisively than that.
"I'm gutted" Witter said. "I can't believe it, I thought I'd done enough to win. It was not my best performances and I give Bradley credit. He took some good shots. But before I went down I thought I'd won every round and I got up and thought I went on to win the fight."
It was to have been the night when Witter issued a reminder to Ricky Hatton that the Hitman need look no further than across the Pennines to Bradford for a worthy opponent. Witter has been chasing him for years.
Though undefeated, Bradley was a 6-1 outsider and 10 years younger than Witter. He took the fight to the champion and was always dangerous with his right, as Witter discovered in the sixth. It was a far different Witter from the one who was so dextrous in his last defence, against Vivien Harris of the US.
Nottingham's unbeaten Carl Froch, who has been seeking a super-middleweight showdown with Joe Calzaghe – which is unlikely to materialise – stopped third-choice opponent Albert Rybacki of Poland 16 seconds from the end of the fourth round. If Calzaghe vacates his WBC title, it is likely that Froch will meet Denmark's Mikkel Kessler for the vacant belt.
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