Croydon’s Gareth Gardner reclaimed the vacant Queensbury British light middleweight title on Saturday night after showing the heart of a lion against challenger Sam Holloway.
Returning to the ring after a nine-month lay off from competitive action, Gardner was forced to call on every ounce of grit and determination he had at the Alexandra Palace to see off of the spirited assault from Holloway to claim the title he vacated back in 2013 by way of majority points decision.
It was Gardner’s seventh straight title victory in the competition since joining the show back in 2012, but the man dubbed the Croydon crowd pleaser was pushed every step of the way in a contest that could have gone either way.
From the opening bell of the contest both boxers got straight down to the brutal task they had been assigned, as Gardner and Holloway exchanged heavy leather in the centre of the ring.
Holloway looked in incredible shape and caught Gardner early in the first with a crisp straight right that got the former champion's attention, but Gardner continued to press forward with his trademark forward aggression working well behind his tight guard in a close opener.
As the fight moved into the second round, it was Holloway who started to take control of the action landing some vicious looking shots including several lead right uppercuts that almost took Gardner off his feet.
It was one of those shots that eventually rocked Gardner to his boots scrambling his senses as he looked close to going down only to get some urgent rest bite from the bell sounding to end the round.
As the fight moved into rounds three and four, Gardner looked to have recovered from the second round onslaught, and he started to show more head movement as he switched his attacks from head to body.
The fourth was by far Gardner’s strongest showing as he landed more shots as he continued to press the action, and as the contest came to a close it was left in the hands of the judges to decide who would be crowned the champion.
As MC Bret Freeman called both warriors to the centre of the ring, it was Croydon’s Gardner that was left celebrating after edging the verdict by way of the majority point’s decision.
Also in action on the undercard New Addington’s Danny Anderson and Thornton Heath’s Duane Sinclair completed the hat trick of victories for the area with point’s wins in their respective bouts.
Making his debut in the competition, Anderson had to dig deep against Dartford’s John Moloney to secure a majority points after three electric rounds of boxing, while Sinclair produced a breath taking boxing master class after returning from his debut loss to Yisan Rodriguez to comprehensively outpoint Cambridge opponent Wesley Clarke over four rounds of boxing.
Change of fortune: Duane Sinclair, here losing to Yisan Rodriguez, returned to the QBL ring with a victory on Saturday