CURTIS WOODHOUSE put up a valiant effort against Frankie Gavin but was on the wrong end of a split decision.
The former Blades footballer had been given no chance of beating the former amateur world champion at Liverpool Arena, but he silenced his critics by taking Gavin the distance and winning on one judge’s scorecard.
After a cautious start, where both fighters were trying to suss out the other’s style, Woodhouse began to take the initiative landing his jab regularly.
The middle rounds of the fight looked like being crucial to the eventual outcome and so it proved. Although they appeared too close to call, they were always more likely to go the Birmingham man’s way.
The 10th round was definitely Woodhouse’s.
He caught Gavin clean with a right hook that sent his gum-shield flying. Gavin then covered up wisely and proved to be elusive, whilst Woodhouse pursued him with swinging blows.
Gavin then took the final two rounds by showing glimpses of the box and move skills he learned as an amateur.
The fight went to the judge’s scorecards with both fighter’s faces messed up, Gavin looking the more grotesque; his right eye almost shut.
Dave Parris had Woodhouse up 115-114, but Terry O’Connor scored it 117-112 to Gavin and Phil Edwards had it a round closer at 116-113 in favour of Gavin.
Woodhouse earned plaudits for the guts, but was downbeat afterwards.
He told The Star: “I trained like a mad man for this fight and I’m devastated to lose. I trained to win and expected to win and I’m not the sort of person who will settle for second best.
“I gave the amateur world champion 12 rounds of hell. He knows he’s been in a tough fight and it was an honour to share a ring with him.”
Woodhouse accepts that it was an achievement to even get into a fight with a fighter whose credentials far outweigh his own.
“I’m not a quitter. If Frankie is the number one fighter in the country, like everyone says he is, then I proved I’m number two, he continued.
“I’ll lick my wounds now and I had a little cry in the dressing room. I’m going to go my mum’s pub in Driffield for a few days now and I’ll drink it dry!”
First up on the night was Lee Duncan, the Ingle trained fighter wasn’t able to beat Naseem Hamed managed Callum Johnson, who won 40-36.
Fellow Ingle fighter Anwar Alfadli was outpointed by former ABA champion Paul Butler, 40-37.