Controversial stoppage deprives Watkins of ABA Novice glory

Swindon Advertiser: Luke Watkins Luke Watkins

SWINDON’S Luke Watkins was left heartbroken after missing out on ABA Novice Championship glory in controversial circumstances on Saturday.

The 24-year-old travelled to RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire to face Newark’s Przemyslaw Pozniak but was stopped in the second round of the contest after taking a knee following a big shot to the body.

Super heavyweight Watkins, trained by Paddy Fitzpatrick, was ahead on the judges’ scorecards at the time of the decision and insisted he didn’t deserve to be stopped, and despite being quick to give credit to his opponent he admitted he was devastated by the referee’s call.

“I have to give credit to the guy because he was a good fighter but I was winning and I was still up,” he said.

“He did catch me with a good body shot and I chose to take the knee.

“It wasn’t like I was hurt or that my head was going, and it was a good shot and he has to take credit for that.

“The ref decided to wave it off, but taking a knee in the amateurs isn’t the end of the world, it means nothing, it’s a precaution for the referee.

“It’s so frustrating because I was winning the fight to him.

“I said ‘let’s do this baby’ as quick as that but he carried on counting and after that I was heartbroken, truthfully heartbroken.

“I think the referee made a very bad decision and it genuinely wasn’t my fault, it shouldn’t have been like that.”

Watkins will not fight again until the new year but will continue his strict training schedule as he bids to put the defeat to Pozniak out of his mind.

“That’s probably it for me until after Christmas because I’ve been training all the time and didn’t have much of a summer either, but I won’t stop training,” he said.

“Some people break for Christmas and go off eating and drinking but I won’t be doing that.

“I have to dust myself down and not dwell on this and look to the future.”.

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