He may have been out of action for more than four years but Nicki Smedley proved he can still deliver the fireworks.
The Woodthorpe fighter ended his lengthy ring exile with a comfortable points win in a four round light middleweight contest with Norwich’s game Duane Green at Doncaster’s Dome on Saturday night.
Defeat in an English title challenge against Nigel Wright saw Smedley turn his back on the sport in May 2011.
But he showed little sign of ring rust on his return, for the first round at least.
Smedley fired in hooks to the body and head that Green simply could not deal with. And one particularly strong right hook to the ribs dropped Green to one knee.
Unfortunately that was as good as it got for the 29-year-old who has plenty of work to do if he is to once against challenge the domestic elite.
By the end of the first round Green looked ready to quit.
But as the fight wore on, it was clear he was going no where, even if he offered little to trouble Smedley.
The Sheffield fighter kept his hands low and increasingly neglected his jab, preferring to look for the big hooks.
Work to the body was also largely ignored, despite it offering him the opportunity of an early night in the first round.
There was never any doubt over the result, nor that Smedley had won each round to earn a 40-35 triumph and move to 15-1-0. But he could have done more to ensure a more impactful performance on his big return.
The night began with a ten bell salute to the grandfather of Barnsley’s Andy Townend and ended with the English super featherweight champion’s arm aloft.
Townend’s title was not up for grabs against Jamaica-born Mark McKray with the six round bout used as a ticking over exercise with bigger things to come in the new year. And it largely panned out in such a fashion with Townend not showing his usual shot ferocity and preferring to work comfortably behind the jab.
It meant rounds were closer than they might have otherwise been, though the 58-56 decision suggested a closer contest than it actually was.
Glyn Rhodes trained Sheffield fighter Ryan Hanson recorded a technical draw with Shaun Ireland after the Scarborough fighter suffered a horrendous cut to the brow from a clash of heads.
Hanson had threatened a second career win after putting Ireland down in the first round with a right hook but had to be content with what was still an unexpected positive result.
Conisbrough lightweight Steven Hale looked incredibly comfortable on his first step up to six rounds as he won every round against journeyman Kristian Laight.
Hale even managed the rare feat of drawing blood from the resolute Laight during his assured performance.
Doncaster rookie lightweight Lewis Booth made it two wins from two as he coasted to the win over Sheffield’s Qasim Hussain.
Booth produced a mature performance belying his 19-years-old and never looked in any trouble.
On Friday night, Barnsley’s Brad Botham returned to the ring in Scotland and came out on the wrong end of a controversial points loss to Ryan Smith.
Botham had been out of action since February with a knee injury but looked to have done enough to earn a draw with Smith in Glasgow.
However referee Darren Maxwell gave all four rounds to the home fighter.