Schwer set for 'throwback' time

Even the old boys like the look of tomorrow night's fight between Colin Dunne and Billy Schwer for the World Boxing Union lightweight title at Wembley Conference Centre. It is, as they say in boxing, a "throwback" fight.

Even the old boys like the look of tomorrow night's fight between Colin Dunne and Billy Schwer for the World Boxing Union lightweight title at Wembley Conference Centre. It is, as they say in boxing, a "throwback" fight.

Dunne is the champion but his championship bauble is just the glitter on a fight that is essentially for the right to be called the best lightweight in Britain at a time when there are several other contenders. It could just be the start of a series of long-overdue bouts between quality fighters.

Dunne and Schwer have won and lost in good fights during the last 10 years and Schwer is arguably the last remaining old-fashioned fighter in Britain. He started out under Mickey Duff's protection in 1990, beat all the right losers and progressed to real world and European title fights.

Dunne's passage has been easier but he has still fought better fighters than most of the British champions have in the present age.

"This is a proper fight between two experienced boxers," said Schwer. "We both know what we have to do because we are professional fighters." The two clearly are different from most boxers at the moment; they each arrived at the uneventful head-to-head meeting yesterday with an entourage of one.

In 1996 Dunne was involved in a similar fight when he challenged Michael Ayers for the British lightweight title at the same venue. It was stopped in round nine with Dunne close to collapse. Ayers is still fighting and Dunne claims he is desperate for revenge. It is just another fight that would help the cause of domestic British boxing.

Schwer was unable to move from top European level to genuine world level in losing in two world title challenges against fighters with better records than Dunne. Tomorrow night he will not have to aim as high but he will surely need to show all his skills if he is to impose his will on Dunne.

Seldom in an age of meaningless and insulting intercontinental fights has one fight split what remains of the boxing community. While the recent ring appearances by Lennox Lewis and Naseem Hamed barely rated a word in the gyms up and down the country, everybody is aware that tomorrow night is a real fight and it is a sell-out.

Schwer is the neater boxer but Dunne is masterful at negating his opponent's skills with just a short move of his feet and a shift in his shoulders.

Schwer will read a lot of Dunne's moves because the pair have sparred nearly 100 rounds during the last six years. They are familiar but not friends; opponents but not enemies. However, the future is bleak for the loser.

"There is a lot at stake for the winner," admitted Dunne. "But I never think past one fight. That would be stupid because it would mean that I have no respect for my opponent. I respect every fighter in the ring with me and Billy is no exception."

This is like boxing used to be before Chris Eubank carved a niche for Naseem Hamed. Incidentally Hamed and Eubank never showed any interest in winning the British title.

In the past Schwer has bled from cuts and marked up above and below the eyes. This could bring a premature end tomorrow because Dunne's shorter hooks have a slicing tendency. Schwer is the slight favourite but the winners are surely the 2,500 people who bought tickets to watch one of the best fights involving British boxers for decades. It is throwback time.

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