KELVIN Young climbed off floor to successfully defend his IBO super-middleweight inter-continental title.
The Penhill pugilist was sent crashing to the canvas, which was used in the first Froch-Groves fight, in the sixth round by Cameroon-born Frenchman Francis Tchoffo before claiming a majority points decision at Oasis Leisure Centre.
The 27-year-old had to dig deep in a brutal war to get the nod from English judges Reg Thompson and Mike Alexander, who scored the contest 96-94, while Italian judge Matteo Montella called it 96-96.
“I want to thank everybody who came out and supported me,” Young said. “It was a pleasure to be in such a war like that, the crowd got their money’s worth.
“The first round I got through it, I had to box my way through it, he caught me with a big shot and took my senses away.
“When he caught me in the sixth, I was off balance, it was a good shot, I looked at my corner straight away, I wanted to jump up but (trainer) Rich (Farnan) told me to stay down take the count and got up and I was fine.”
Tchoffo came flying out of the blocks on Saturday night, swinging spiteful hooks that shook Young to his boots in the opening three minutes.
But the champion, who was making his first defence of the title he won in December, regained his composure and started to keep the game come-forward challenger at range in the following two rounds.
Then the fight exploded into life in the fourth as two head clashes left Tchoffo cut under his right eye and above his left.
The Frenchman expected referee Howard Foster, who was the controversial official from the first Froch-Groves contest, to have a stern word or two with the hometown champion.
Tchoffo came out firing in the fifth wary that his wounds would force the intervention forcing Young on the back foot looking to keep the Frenchman at bay.
Then came the sixth, Young was keeping his challenger at bay until a clubbing left sent the champion to the canvas.
Sensibly taking the eight count, Young regained his senses and showed no ill-effects and started to demonstrate his superior skills.
Young did manage to hurt the challenger on a number of occasions, but he did not go charging in against the dangerous puncher.
With the fight so close into the final session both men left everything in the ring trying to ensure victory which went Young’s way.
“I’m going to learn a lot from a fight like that,” said Young, who will now take a holiday before returning to the gym to prepare for his next defence in the autumn.
“I have to thank my coaching team, all of them got me through that because without the fitness I wouldn’t have been able to bite the bullet and get through a fight like that.
“I take my hat off to him, he came to rip that title away.”