IN part one of our re-watch series, where I look back at the greatest bouts involving Bradford fighters, there was no better place to start than Girlington-born Junior Witter.

‘You can’t win titles with a Fred Astaire routine,’ stressed American commentators when the Bradford fighter was convincingly beaten in his first world title attempt on a Mike Tyson undercard back in 2000.

Six years later, he was back among the elite and eager to prove that that Zab Judah performance was merely a dress rehearsal.

Witter only had nine days to prepare for that night in Glasgow. When a second opportunity finally did present itself, the then 32-year-old was at the peak of his powers, having added the British, Commonwealth and European titles in the intervening 18 fights.

Don’t let the final record (51-33-1) of the man in the opposing corner deceive you, DeMarcus Corley was certainly someone to fear. His only defeats at the time had come courtesy of Daniel Lujan, going the distance with Floyd Mayweather, losing out in a shootout with Miguel Cotto and narrowly missing out on a decision against Judah.

With the bout hosted at Alexandra Palace, the Brit had home advantage, as he attempted to do something Richard Dunn, Bobby Vanzie and Frank Grant had all failed to do, become Bradford’s first world champion.

Witter’s dangerous, yet on occasions boring, style had been the reason that other world title shots had been scarce and he became the president of the ‘who needs me club?’.

The Bradfordian, draped in an Anglo-Jamaican robe, looked confident as he approached the ring, with the renowned Ingle family in his corner.

He was met by a rapturous reception from the London crowd, as the Sky Sports cameras focused in on British legends Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn sat ringside.

The magnitude of the 50-50 fight was clear to see in the first couple of rounds, as number one and two in the WBC rankings tensely commenced battle for the prestigious gold and green strap. With the light welterweights both naturally counter punchers, the bout was always going to be a tactical affair.

Witter enjoyed early success, bemusing the American southpaw with his switch hitting ability.

In the fifth, the home fighter backed up his nickname of the ‘Hitter’, which was pencilled into the back of his head, with the best shot of his 365 thrown that night. A superb left hand caused Corley’s legs to have a little dance.

A right even caused ‘Chop Chop’ to touch the canvas, but Italian referee Massimo Barrovecchio ruled it as a slip. Nevertheless, Witter returned to his corner knowing that he had the power to cause the stoppage.

His relentless nature did not stop in the next three minutes, firing fast and accurate shots to buzz Corley.

However, in the subsequent rounds, the West Yorkshireman reverted back to the mind games he had used earlier in the night. A statue-like fencer stance appeared in the centre of the ring.

His cobra-looking jab was beginning to prove the difference, catching Corley unawares on several occasions to rack up the rounds.

By the time the bell sounded for the end of the 11th, the Wincobank faithful of Brendan, Dominic and John (Ingle) knew their fighter was in pole position to secure a points victory. ‘Hitter’ cruised through to the final bell, flinging his arms into the air knowing his time had come.

A unanimous decision crowned Witter WBC world champion, a feat that had not been achieved by a British fighter since Lennox Lewis collected the heavyweight version almost a decade previously.

He dedicated the victory to his former trainer Alec Allen, who had dragged him off the streets to begin his journey at the Bradford Police Boys Club.

More importantly for the fans, it teed up a dream fight, Witter against Ricky Hatton. For years, the Mancunian had downplayed the resume of Witter but now both players could bring gold to the party.

Sadly, the battle of the Roses never happened. Hatton gained the Mayweather fight, while Timothy Bradley ended the Bradfordian’s 15-month title reign. A failed attempt to reclaim his belt a year later diminished Witter’s elite tier status.

The 46-year-old’s name will always have a place in the city’s sporting history books though, as its first boxer to win a world title.