Boxing

Ryan Burnett takes British title after Booth win

Belfast boxer Ryan Burnett, right, returned to the scene of his European title triumph to add another prized boxing belt to his trophy cabinet.

BELFAST box-fighter Ryan Burnett returned to the scene of his European title triumph to add another prized boxing belt to his trophy cabinet.

The British bantamweight title now belongs to the skilled north Belfast man after he hammered out a unanimous-points win over Nottingham veteran Jason Booth.

Burnett looked set for a quick-fire win after dropping Booth in the opening round at the MEN arena in Manchester.

Booth dropped to the canvas, caught hard after Burnett opened up with a solid combination midway through the first round.

It looked then that another swift end to Burnett’s title quest was on the cards.

He had grabbed the vacant WBO European bantam crown at the same MEN Arena venue when he ended the title hopes of Hungary’s Robert Kanalas inside two rounds last month.

But the 38-year-old Nottingham fighter Booth recovered well and used all the experience gained in his 52-fight career to take Burnett to the distance in an entertaining 12-round title decider.

It was new territory and a good learning curve for rising star Burnett (23), who had fought just 29 rounds in an unbeaten career, never going further than six rounds in any of his previous 11 outings.

At one stage in the fifth round, and again in the eighth, Burnett seemed on course for another stoppage win but Booth managed to survive.

But at the final bell the issue was never in doubt, Burnett taking a unanimous 120-107 verdict from the three judges.

Booth was hoping to become the first boxer in 80 years to become a three-weight British champion.

Meanwhile Anthony Crolla insists he never gave up hope of capturing the WBA world lightweight title after a fifth-round knockout of Darleys Perez.

Less than 12 months on from sustaining a fractured skull and a broken ankle while attempting to foil a burglary, Crolla claimed a world title at the second attempt, after his first bout with Perez in June was controversially ruled a draw.

Crolla made sure the judges were not needed this time, however, as a stunning left to the body doubled up his Colombian opponent, who was counted out at the Manchester Arena to spark jubilant scenes.

An emotional Crolla said: “Honestly, I always believed I would get back here and I made a promise when I was in my hospital bed that I would come back bigger and stronger and I believe that’s what I have done.

“You must never stop believing and if you never give up and you work hard then it pays off.

“With my injuries, the fractured skull was my main concern and getting over that. I had to tweak training a little bit because I had a broken ankle and there was a mental thing about getting back in there and getting punched with small gloves, but I think having my team around me has really helped.

“And like in any sport, you can be as fit as you like but if you’re not right mentally it doesn’t count for a lot so I just had to make sure I was mentally very strong and that’s what I have done.”

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