Jones battles back to claim world crown

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Paul "Silky" Jones picked himself up from a first-round knock-down to win the World Organisation light-middleweight title at Hillsborough Leisure Centre in Sheffield last night.

The 29-year-old Sheffield fighter took the title from the holder Verno Phillips, of New York, on a split decision. The British judge Roy Francis made him a clear winner by 116 points to 111, while the Puerto Rican officials Nelson Vusquez and Cesar Ramos had it 113-113 and 114-113, and that after the challenger had a point deducted for a head-butt in the ninth round.

A year ago Jones was out of the ring but he was persuaded to return by his trainer, Freddie King. He has won 65 bouts in succession, before climaxing the comeback with this victory.

Jones pulled away from Phillips in the last four rounds as the champion tired. His early work often lacked conviction, but there was little doubting he was the master overall.

"Freddie had a lot to do with me coming back. I was flat broke but I didn't really want to go back to the ring. But now I'm a world champion and it's a dream come true," Jones said.