Ryan Rhodes Wins British Light-Middleweight Title With Devastating 9th Round KO Of Gary Woolcombe - Naz There To See Him Do It!

Last night, at The York Hall in London, 31-year-old Ryan Rhodes of Sheffield sensationally took Londoner Gary Woolcombe's British light-middleweight title - knocking him flat at 37 seconds of round number 9. A big right hand to the temple area did the job, and the brave Woolcombe hit the floor with a heavy thud - he was totally out and the medics immediately piled into the ring to assist him. Thankfully, after being given oxygen, the 25-year-old was okay..

The fight was a very good one, if more than somewhat one-sided. At age 31, Rhodes is still as sharp as ever, and from almost the outset it was apparent he was the much bigger puncher. Woolcombe, making the very first defence of his title, was game and really tried hard, but the overall class and variety of punches from the southpaw challenger proved too much. The pace of the fight was a good one from the start, and the crowd enjoyed the action.
Rhodes, in landing speedy head shots, swept the first three rounds. Woolcombe had his best round of the fight in the 4th, when his sheer work-rate won him the session. This round aside, however, it was almost all Rhodes.

The first knockdown came in the 6th round. With Rhodes once again on the front foot, a combination hurt Woolcombe and sent him into a corner. Stuck there, a number of left hooks kept the champion in trouble, eventually sending him down for a count. It appeared as though Woolcombe went down to escape the onslaught as much as anything. Rhodes went for the finish as soon as the champion got up, but Woolcombe survived.

In the 7th, a big right uppercut sent Woolcombe's head back, and the finish looked close. Instead, the gritty 25-year-old came back into the fight! Both men has bursts of success in this exciting round, and the crowd was loving it. In the 8th, Woolcombe, nicknamed "Hot Stuff" was showing incredible guts and desire. Rhodes' attack slowed temporarily, and the younger man proved he was still in the contest. It was a close round.

The end came quite suddenly in the 9th. With less than 30 seconds gone, a huge right hand caught Woolcombe high on the side of his head and he hit the floor instantly - badly hurt. With no chance of him beating the count and the paramedics and everyone else seeing how badly stricken he was, there were no celebrations from the new champion. All thoughts were now directed towards the well-being of Woolcombe. Thankfully, after a couple of minutes in which he remained on the canvas, he was up and standing.

The 31-year-old Rhodes, who once trained alongside Naseem Hamed - who made a rare public appearance so as to cheer his long-time friend on - rejuvenated his career with this fine win. Indeed, even at age 31 and after being a pro since 1995, the best may still be to come from the stylish southpaw. With his win Rhodes improved to 39-4(27). The now ex-champion in Woolcombe fell to 25-2(10).

Article posted on 20.04.2008

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