Doncaster v Sheffield boxing derby classic rescues City Hall show

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When your two headline acts pull out of the bill, and you’ve only got four fights left you need something extra-special to rescue the show.

Especially as the show re-introduces the historic venue of Sheffield City Hall to the sport.

Tom Bell, boxer, at Sheffield City Hall, where he beat Razaq Najib

Tom Bell, boxer, at Sheffield City Hall, where he beat Razaq Najib

So step forward bantamweights Tom Bell and Razaq Najib - who fought themselves into a stand-still in an epic six-round contest which had the crowd on its feet.

In the end, it was Bell, the Doncaster away fighter, who won by a single point over the Sheffield man. Both can be proud of their part in saving a show shorn of headliners Muheeb Fazeldin and Sam Sheedy.

The pair exchanged vicious assaults in a contest that went one way then the other. Najib, from Park Hill, was the pressure fighter who tried to get in close and do damage. Bell was the smarter mover, who sustained the relentless, gruelling attacks and dished out the more precise, cleaner punches.

I had it as a draw. But Keith Palmer-trained Najib took the 58-57 defeat with a grace which eludes many of the bigger names in this sport. “What a fight that was” he said. “I have no regrets I give it everything and it did not come my way. I will be back stronger.”

Dennis Hobson pays tribute to both fighters - Bell and Najib

Dennis Hobson pays tribute to both fighters - Bell and Najib

Sheffield’s Kyle Yousaf cantered to his seventh straight victory at super flyweight, over Nicuraguan Jose Aguilar. The Central American must have felt every inch of his 5,000 miles from home as the 22-year-old mixed up a cocktail of head and body shots.

Tentative and ultra-defensive, Aguilar was hurt several times but lasted the six round distance.

Sheffield debutant Mujahid Najib, making his debut in some flashy pink shorts, had too much for the Stocksbridge scrapper, Ryan Hanson, who had guts and resilience but little in the way of timing and defence.

Najib celebrated with a couple of pelvic thrusts and a Usain Bolt gesture - there will be more to come from this teenager. Ramzy Nassa, 22, had a fight on his hands with the crouched style of Hull’s Luke Fash but won 39-37.

“I want to keep winning and keep moving up” said the super bantamweight, who now has seven wins and one draw.

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