Schwer ponders future after Dunne wins classic

Billy Schwer had nothing left to give after 11 rounds but somehow he managed to win the 12th and final session of his World Boxing Union lightweight title challenge. It was not enough.

Billy Schwer had nothing left to give after 11 rounds but somehow he managed to win the 12th and final session of his World Boxing Union lightweight title challenge. It was not enough.

Colin Dunne retained his title for the fourth time in what will surely become one of the best fights at any level involving two British boxers. It was a meeting for the purists and the novice fans alike. The Wembley Conference Centre on Saturday night was nearly full and from the opening round until the final seconds the crowd stood during each round and sunk exhausted into their seats for the minute's break like the two idols they had paid to see. It was one of those fights where it was a privilege to have sat at ringside and witnessed the action. In the end, however, it was Schwer's 10-year battle with the scales that influenced the outcome as much as any of the thudding body punches that Dunne used to slow his challenger down during the gripping fight.

"I've been boxing for 21 years," said Schwer, who first won the British title in 1992. "I can't remember a part of my life when I was not in a gym or boxing. It has been my whole life."

Dunne will now let his cut right eye and exhausted body recover before discussing where he goes from here with his manager John Hyland. Often the reality of savage encounters such as this one is that neither boxer is as good again.

Schwer will have to take a long, hard look at his prospects in a sport that has been rewarding and at other times bitterly cruel to him. During the last decade he has arguably been the best lightweight in Britain but Saturday night's failure was his third in world title fights and at 31 his future isn't that bright.

"If it was my decision Billy would not box again," said his father and corner man, Billy. "If he does fight it will not be at lightweight because he just can't do it anymore. He had to go in the sauna to make the weight and he gained 10lb between the weigh-in and the fight."

From a purely business perspective there are several lucrative encounters at light-welterweight if Schwer decides to continue fighting.

It is hard to choose one particular round in a fight that had several highlights. Dunne was cut in the fourth and Schwer in the seventh. Neither boxer was knocked down but there were moments when each was stunned and momentarily paralysed by the intensity of the exchanges. It was breathtaking stuff.

Dunne's manager summed it up when he said: "It was boxing, not Colin Dunne, that won tonight."

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