Vanquished Bugner pays tribute to Welch

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Joe Bugner paid tribute to the British heavyweight, Scott Welch, who successfully defended his World Organisation inter-continental championship in Berlin on Saturday. The veteran, nursing a suspected broken rib after a sixth-round stoppage, said afterwards that the Briton packs a bigger punch than Frank Bruno.

"Only two men have hit me harder, Ron Lyle and Joe Frazier," Bugner said after the stoppage which signalled the end of his career. "The kid did the job. As soon as he knew he had hurt me he did not hang around to see if I had recovered."

However, the 46-year-old, added a cautionary note. He warned of the flaw in Welch's make-up which exposes the 27-year-old British and Commonwealth champion as being far from the finished article.

"He has good speed and punching power, but he has to tighten up defensively," Bugner, the former British and European title holder, said. "He can be very wild and he leaves himself wide open."

The Australia-based Bugner then criticised the British Board of Control for refusing him a licence. After their decision, his farewell challenge for Welch's title was reduced to an undercard opener fought out in front of just a handful of spectators at the 9,000-seater Deutschlandhalle in Germany.

"They just treated me like another kid getting on to the show," he said. "The hall was nearly empty. If it had been in England it would have geed me up a bit."

Welch was upset to be the one who finished off the career of one of his former idols, on the 25th anniversary of Bugner's victory over Henry Cooper.

"It's not something I am proud of because Joe has still got to earn a living," Welch said. "I am a little bit sorry he won't be earning any more money from boxing. I was a big fan of his, although I couldn't tell him that beforehand. He was one of the best."