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Junior Witter eases past title holder Lynes to grab British belt
Boxing’s last-chance saloon has lost a customer for now. Junior Witter’s purple reign as Britain’s oldest welterweight champion has begun.
The self-proclaimed youngest 38-year-old around has no plans to join the blue rinse brigade for a while.
Instead he tinted his hair a garish purple before draining all the colour from title holder Colin Lynes in a one-sided encounter at Sheffield’s Hillsborough Leisure Centre.
It was no classic fight; far from it. The rematch, seven years on from their ugly first encounter at York Hall, was just as messy.
But Witter landed all the clean punches – pretty much the only punches – and bossed proceedings far more than the scorecards might suggest.
The three ringside judges were kind on Lynes – particularly John Kean, who only gave it to Witter by a single point.
Maybe it was because Lynes, a personable chap, was the champion; maybe because his pregnant wife was sitting close by.
But at a push you could only give the Essex man the 11th round. Otherwise it was one-way Witter from first bell to last.
There were few highlights in a war of attrition between two fighters who prefer to box off the back foot.
Witter did all the running but Lynes was unable to step away and pick him off with the jab; his trademark tactic which had unexpectedly earned him the belt against Lee Purdy.
Lynes looked scared stiff of opening himself up to Witter’s bombs. He took a couple – and took them well – but threw little back for risk of opening up an inviting target.
Witter reckons his punches pack more power since stepping up a division. Lynes, having been hurt by him before, did not want to take the risk.
That allowed the Bradford fighter to dictate the fight, safe in the knowledge that he would not be walking into a trap.
A left hook caught Lynes in the middle of the sixth and a cut appeared between the champion’s eyebrows at the start of the eighth.
The latter rounds were closer and Lynes finally found some joy in the penultimate round, rocking Witter briefly on his heels with a clean left. But it was too little, too late.
Even allowing for the generous judging, there was only one outcome as Witter put recent misery behind him by becoming a two-weight domestic king.
Lynes bowed out by throwing up in his corner; the pressure of the occasion clearly too much. He won’t be back in a ring.
But Witter was reborn and talked excitedly afterwards about a possible stab at Paulie Malignaggi for the New Yorker’s WBA crown.
Sounds fanciful? Well, 38-year-old DeMarcus Corley recently schooled world-rated fighter Paul McCloskey.
That’s the same Corley that Witter brushed aside to become champion of the world in 2007.
These pesky old guys won’t disappear willingly. Don’t expect to see them hanging round the bar for a while yet.