Rotherham boxer homes in on new title shot

Lee Appleyard in his battle with Atif ShafiqLee Appleyard in his battle with Atif Shafiq
Lee Appleyard in his battle with Atif Shafiq
Lee Appleyard is planning one more warm-up fight before reacquainting himself with a boxing championship belt.

The Rotherham fighter, who won the English lightweight strap 12 months ago, vacated the belt to campaign at light welterweight.

It was a move influenced his defeat to Sheffield’s Atif Shafiq in March.

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Since then, he has outpointed stubborn Slovakian journeyman Ivan Godor, 38, at Doncaster Dome and will be back at the venue on September 1.

Reflecting on his win over Godor, Appleyard was less than satisfied with the way things went.

“We’d had a few pull-puts beforehand and he didn’t come to fight.

“I thought he would be more testing but he just held and moved.

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“You can only fight who they put in front of you but I expected a tougher fight.

“And after a few years of good competitive fights, it was frustrating.

“I have asked for someone with a decent record, certainly more testing than the last one.”

He likes the idea of taking on Stockport-born Ricky Rose.

“I was down to fight him, but he suffered a nasty cut in a fight and it didn’t happen. I’d take that if he agreed to fight.

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“Rose was a good amateur, he boxed for England and won titles. He did better than me there, he’s well schooled” said Appeleyard whose record is W13 L4.

“Hopefully it will be someone like him.

“After that, I want to go for a title, Stefy Bull promised me a central area, English or eliminator for a championship.

“I am in cracking nick - I’m only two pounds over my weight from the last fight” said the 30-year-old.

“It’s a last roll of the dice (to win a belt) after vacating the English lightweight title to go to light welterweight.

“My plan is to focus on that division but if something came up at lightweight that was a good fight, then its make-able.”