Tynesider Travis Dickinson earned the chance to avenge his only professional loss after winning a fight-of-the-year contender to retain his English light-heavyweight title.
The 26-year-old from Birtley survived three knockdowns from body shots in one round in an amazing battle, before stopping Preston’s Matty Clarkson in Leeds on Saturday.
The win takes Dickinson through to the final of Channel 5’s televised MaxiNutrition Knockout tournament and a showdown with Leeds’ British champion Bob Ajisafe – the only man to beat him in 18 paid outings – on September 27.
In a topsy-turvy encounter, Dickinson began quickly and dropped his opponent heavily in round one. Clarkson survived to the bell, but Dickinson sent him to the canvas again in the second.
Clarkson battled back again and gained a knockdown of his own in the next, although Dickinson seemed to hit the floor after a push.
Then, in the fifth, crunching body shots sent Dickinson to his knees, doubled up in agony, on three occasions, only for him to somehow summon up the strength to make it to the end of the round.
A couple of minutes later the fight was turned on its head again as Dickinson threw caution to the wind and rained shots in on Clarkson – struggling with a grotesquely-swollen jaw – forcing the referee to call a halt.