IN another episode in our re-watch series, where I look back at the greatest bouts involving Bradford fighters, the city’s wait for a title winner comes to an end.

Despite Bradford never being known as a boxing hotbed, it is still surprising that it took until 1986 for someone born in these parts to collect a domestic honour.

Preston’s Guild Hall, which was hosting its first ever British title contest, was the location for the Battle of the Dohertys. It was the man hailing from the north that would come out on top.

The sport’s little guys don’t often get the recognition they deserve, with fighters from the heavier weight classes in the business generally becoming the bigger names and making more money.

The invention of a new division allowed John Doherty to perform at his peak and go on to win the first super featherweight British title.

It was his namesake who stood in his way. The Bradfordian was actually born Pat Doherty, but couldn’t use the name, as a Croydon fighter who had turned pro a year earlier was using it. Five years later, fate would have it that the pair would meet.

However, John wasn’t originally supposed to be Pat’s opponent. The adopted Mancunian Najib Daho pulled out a week before the fight. The Dohertys hadn’t even met until the weigh-in, 24 hours before they were set to lock horns.

This didn’t faze West Yorkshireman John though. “I kept fit over Christmas in anticipation of it happening,” he revealed after the final bell.

Despite a slow start, this showed as he coasted through the 12 rounds, looking the fresher boxer by the end of it.

The pair’s styles played off each other brilliantly to create a to and fro battle. It was the rangy, illusive John in the blue shorts and the aggressive, hard-nosed Pat draped in white and green, a nod towards his Irish roots.

The South Londoner was determined to set the pace, closing the distance in pursuit of his box and move opponent.

When John was throwing early on, his lack of power really showed. The 5’4” boxer only scored four knockouts in his 28 professional victories.

From the third round onwards, the northerner’s face was bloody. Firstly, from his nose and then he cut his left eye in the fifth.

It was all Pat in the first half. He harassed and fired dangerously. Was John’s lack of preparation the difference?

The Bradfordian would go on to defy his critics and dominate the second period. After surviving the early onslaught, he was now beating the favourite to the punch.

The seventh round would be his best, picking and choosing his shots to cause bemusement. A huge left hook got the crowd on their feet, this was what they wanted to see.

The 23-year-old now had an arrogance about his efforts. Slick combinations, snappy jabs and slithering footwork were all features of the sharp work.

John had remarkably pulled it back on the scorecards. The last round had a winner takes all feel, to the delight of the audience.

Again, the Girlington-born fighter excelled with a big right, to leave referee John Coyle, who would go on to officiate over 100 world title bouts, with no other choice but to launch John’s right arm up into the air once the final bell sounded.

The 118-117 points win showed John’s championship steel in winning this tale of two halves contest. “I did the business tonight,” he remarked in the post fight interview.

Unfortunately his next sentence would not prove to be as true. “I will stay champion, I am not bothered about them.”

He was referring to ex-world title challenger Pat Cowdell and Daho. The former would brutally steal his belt only three months later.

It would be far from the end for John though. He went on to contend for the European title in Denmark. The late Racheed Lawal knocked Doherty out in the fourth round, in the latter's only trip abroad during his decade-long career.

Despite never successfully defending the Lonsdale belt, he did recapture it two more times, against the previously undefeated Floyd Havard and Liverpudlian Sugar Gibiliru, before hanging up the gloves in 1992 after 39 professional bouts.

Doherty will forever have a place in Bradford boxing folklore, as the first man to capture a piece of gold.