Graham Earl's Career Over, As He's Stopped In One Round By Henry Castle

By James Slater: Last night, at The York Hall, Bethnal Green, London, one of the more exciting British fighters of recent years saw his career come to an end. 30-year-old Graham Earl of Luton, the former British and Commonwealth lightweight champion, was blown away in just 1 minute and 9-seconds of the very first round by 29-year-old Henry Castle of Wiltshire.

Caught quickly to the head and having no longer any real punch resistance to speak of, Earl gave referee Jeff Hinds no option but to call a halt to the proceedings. In losing for the third time in a row, all losses coming by stoppage, two now in the opening round, the gutsy Earl announced his official retirement immediately after last night's bout. Finishing up with a 25-4(12) pro record, the 30-year-old can now enjoy his retirement. Castle, who improved to 19-4(11) has now won his last five fights, three inside the distance.

Indeed, Castle, though he was in with a "shot" Graham Earl, made a name for himself last night. He got the job done, and quickly. Look out for him in the future, he may one day go on to challenge for one of the titles Earl himself once held. But last night was all about the Luton man. Wanting to see what he had left after being stopped inside a single round by the then unbeaten Amir Khan last time out, Earl found out. And it wasn't the answer he was hoping for.

Known most overseas for his great, fight-of-the-year candidate war with Australia's Michael Katsidis, Earl was once a formidable warrior. The unforgettable classic with Katsidis, in what was Earl's one and only world title fight (the interim version of the WBO lightweight crown), clearly took a huge amount out of him. Both taking and giving savage shots (taking mostly) in the 5-round slugfest, brave Graham was sent to the mat twice and really had to suck it up so as to come back and send Katsidis reeling.
Pulled out after the 5th-round, Earl was retired. Had his then trainer Johnny Eames had his way, his fighter would have retired period. But Earl insisted in going on, hooked up with another trainer and met Khan. If that one-round disaster didn't convince him to quit for good, last night's similar result thankfully did.

Earl has a lot to be proud of and he made his mark on the British, European and even world scene. The Katsidis classic aside, the Luton lightweight also met, and defeated, quality men such as Yuri Romanov, Bobby Vanzie (twice), Steve Murray (twice) and the tough Angel Hugo Ramirez.

However, it will surely be the February 2007 battle with fellow blood and guts banger Katsidis that Earl is best remember for amongst fight fans.

Article posted on 18.10.2008

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