Lee Appleyard toppled by Rotherham rival Atif Shafiq

Lee Appleyard (left) in action with Atif Shafiq during their Lightweight Championship contest at the FlyDSA Arena, Sheffield. Pic: Richard Sellers/PA Wire
Lee Appleyard (left) in action with Atif Shafiq during their Lightweight Championship contest at the FlyDSA Arena, Sheffield. Pic: Richard Sellers/PA Wire
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Atif Shafiq won the Battle of Rotherham tonight.

The Lightweight contest with English champion Lee Appleyard (previously 12-3) saw Shafiq boxed well from the off and the fight was stopped 33 seconds into the fifth round with Appleyard unable to cope with Shafiq’s powerful body shots.

Shafiq moves up to 19-2 after the win on Kell Brook’s undercard at Sheffield Arena.

Before the contest, there had been a mistake with Appleyard arrived to make the first ring entrance - having to wait in the wings until Shafiq arrived, as previously planned.

And Shafiq, confident and switching stance from the first bell, was under pressure briefly, on the ropes, but returned the favour, aiming some right handed body blows.

The Ingle man caught a big Appleyard right hander in the second round, but showed he had a good chin.

Rotherham derby

Rotherham derby

Appleyard was down twice in the next session.

On each occasion, Shafiq caught him with perfectly-timed body shots on the ropes.

Appleyard looked subdued and was caught again - and after his third knockdown it was all over.

Shafiq said: “It was the biggest night of my career, I’d put the work in. I took him out in good fashion.

Appleyard v Shafiq

Appleyard v Shafiq

“I’ve come through trials and tribulations but I believe my time is now. I am ready for the big fights.”

*Warrington-based Rocky Fielding outpointed Karel Horejsek of the Czech Republic 79-74.