By Tris Dixon
Leeds - JJ Metcalf is now 20-0 after scoring the best win of his career, over former world title challenger Jason Welborn.
Liverpool’s Metcalf secured the vacant Commonwealth super-welterweight title when he landed a peach of a left hook into Welborn’s side to conclude matters after 2-25 of round eight.
Metcalf had looked for the body from the start but he copped a clean right hand in the early exchanges from the ring-wise Welborn, who was happy to counterpunch in the early going.
Welborn was on the front foot in the second and landed a big right that seemed to force Metcalf to grab hold. They both had their successes in round four but the slower tempo seemed to suit the 30-year-old Metcalf better. Tivdale’s Welborn, now 24-8, landed a good right again in the sixth but Metcalf stood up to it.
There wasn’t much between them. Moments before the end of the sixth Metcalf appeared to hurt Welborn to the body but referee Steve Gray stopped the action to admonish Metcalf for straying low with his punches. He had warned Welborn for the same infraction earlier in the session.
Welborn was given added time to recover from a low shot in the eighth, and Metcalf had a point deducted for his below the belt endeavours.
Moments later, however, Metcalf surged forwards and whipped in a terrific left to the body. Welborn dropped hard, shook his head acknowledging it was a big shot, coughed out his mouthpiece and then failed to beat referee Gray’s 10 count.
This was Welborn’s first outing since his fourth-round loss to Jarrett Hurd for the IBF and WBA titles in December in Los Angeles.
Metcalf is Shea Neary’s son and Neary was in the corner.
“I couldn’t be more proud, not just as a boxer but as a human being,” said Neary. “The kid’s class and tonight he put in a performance you could only dream of.”
Sheffield Southpaw Shakiel Thompson heard the final bell for the first time, having to go six rounds against workhorse Alistair Warren.
Thompson, a 6ft 3ins middleweight, boxed largely with a low lead hand and often managed to maintain the distance between himself and Warren to improve to 4-0.
Huddersfield’s Warren, who has fought the likes of Jamie Cox, Chris Eubank Jr and Brian Rose, drops to 11-24-5 and has won just one of his last 11.
Thompson had never gone beyond four before but he landed well to the body and then switched his attack upstairs, particularly in a dominant fourth. Warren was tough, but falling well behind until he enjoyed some success in the fifth as Warren smothered and suffocated the prospect’s work. Thompson was back on top in the sixth of a good learning fight as Warren bled from the nose and by his left eye.
Referee Howard Foster scored 59-55 for ‘Dr Steel’ Thompson.
Thompson is promoted by former Sheffield super-middleweight prospect Adam Etches.