Saturday, May 30, 2009

Limond champion after points win

Glasgow's Willie Limond won the vacant WBU lightweight title with a points win over London southpaw Ryan Barrett.

Limond, 30, took the fight to his taller opponent, forcing the 26-year-old on to the back foot for much of the fight, but Barrett remained a threat.

The judges awarded Limond the title, scoring 117-113, 117-111, 118-113.

"I had to use my brains in there. I think I hurt him a couple of times but he covered well and boxed well behind his jab," said the delighted Scot.

Ahead of the fight Limond was concerned at the direction his career might head in should he lose the contest.

Perhaps it was this fear of losing that focused Limond's mind from the opening bell.

From then and for much of the fight he controlled the centre of the ring, stalking the rangy London lightweight and forcing the pace and flow of the bout.

But Barrett was a very capable opponent, relying on his longer reach to pepper Limond's face with his right-hand jab.

On occasion he made it through Limond's defences with more telling punches, notably with two stiff left hands in the opening round.

In the third round, Barrett reverted from counter-punching to going on the attack, and the pair stood toe to toe trading blows.

But for all the guts shown by Chelsea-supporting Barrett, he was unable to sustain the role of aggressor.

As the fight wore on, a pattern emerged of Limond bobbing and weaving, working his way inside, sizing up Barrett for a heavy right hand, and his opponent, rarely flustered, looking to send the Scot to the canvas with a left.

I need to know I'm fighting for a title 12 rounder so I can push myself in training
Willie Limond

As the bell sounded at the end of the 12th round, it appeared Barrett genuinely thought he had won the WBU title as he gestured to his group of fans.

But the unanimous decision of the judges had the Limond camp celebrating.

At ringside, newly crowned Limond told reporters: "I'm delighted with the win. I've had a few chances that fell through so I'm glad I've taken this one."

And he acknowledged the challenge posed by Barrett.

"Ryan boxed clever and made it a wee bit hard for me," said Limond.

"He's a good fighter. He was here to win. He had a lot of time to prepare, so we were quite evenly matched going in there.

Billy Nelson, Willie Limond and Alex Morrison
Limond flanked by trainer Billy Nelson and promoter Alex Morrison

"I had to be cautious because I knew he had very long arms, so I tried to get inside him, but when I went inside he was moving so it made it awkward.

"Also, because he was a southpaw it made it harder, but I was happy with the tactics and happy with the win.

"I had to not get caught up in it all, not listen to the crowd and go for the finish."

And he spoke of his desire to stage his next fight at the home of Partick Thistle, his favourite football team.

"I'd love to defend it at Firhill. We've spoken about it so hopefully it can turn into reality now."

And Limond, with just two defeats in a long career, is hungry for more.

"I just want to fight and win titles," he said, glancing at his belt. "I need to know I'm fighting for a title 12 rounder so I can push myself in training.

"I've been a pro for 10 years, boxing since I was six - that's 24 years. It's getting on a bit.

"I just want to win a few more titles to keep my ambitions up there; any titles - domestic, European - I'm happy with any of them."

No comments:

Post a Comment