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Local hero Rob Norton defended his British & Commonwealth crowns against David Dolan in Altrincham. Dave Woodhall reports on how he fared.

Stourbridge boxer Ron Norton retained both titles in controversial circumstances after drawing with challenger David Dolan of Sunderland. Dolan, who had been beaten on points by Norton when fighting for the same titles last February, will be aggrieved not to have take the decision and a third fight between the boxers is surely on the cards.

The tone of an intriguing if not particularly exciting fight was set early in the first round, with Norton warned for holding, and the second, with Dolan’s energetic rushes countered by Norton’s smother-and-jab tactics.

The third saw a strange minute when Norton, in a corner, let Dolan go to work, taunting the challenger and making little attempt to fight back. This, presumably an attempt to let Dolan punch himself out, also seemed to have the effect of mentally unsettling the Sunderland man, who spent the middle rounds of the fight rushing into the champion with little effect.

Norton dictated the middle rounds and was unlucky when what seemed a clean knockdown at the start of the seventh was ruled a slip, but from the ninth onwards the younger man took charge as the champion, 38 next week, seemed to run out of ideas.

As the fight entered its latter stages both men tired and things opened up as the fighters attempted to land a telling blow. But despite being roared on by the majority of the crowd in the Altrincham Leisure Centre Dolan was unable to take full advantage of his youth and Norton seemed to rally in the last two rounds.

Both raised their hands at the final bell, but it seemed as though the younger Dolan had done just enough to take the decision.

However, scores of 115-113 Dolan, 116-113 Norton and 114-114 were enough to give Norton a draw and allowed him to take the belts back to Stourbridge once more.



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