Experience counts in boxing.
Robbie Barrett felt the benefit of that fact last weekend as he beat local rival Brad Botham to win the vacant Central Area lightweight title at Doncaster’s Dome.
This Darfield versus West Melton clash had none of the bitterness and ill-feeling associated with plenty of other boxing derby matches.
But it was nevertheless an enthralling encounter, an intriguing meshing of styles that saw each man impose his will on the contest.
Ultimately, the bitterness would come in the decision which awarded Barrett the fight by 99-92. There was little doubt that Barrett was victorious but the two fighters never looked as far apart as Andrew Wright’s scorecard would have suggested.
It would have been an incredible story had Botham emerged victorious. The tale was already impressive enough given he was fighting for a highly regarded title in only his fifth bout.
The fact the 20-year-old only turned pro in September added to the intrigue but was likely the reason Botham did not win the fight.
At 22, Barrett is hardly worldly-wise himself but he always looked like he had been in twice as many fights as his opponent.
Botham never stopped coming forward and gave Barrett plenty of trouble over the ten round contest. His problem was that he could not pin his foe down for long enough to really take control, and he did not have enough savvy to switch to a different approach.
Barrett was on the move from the start, looking to stay out of range and making his forays count. His left hook was a potent weapon, even if lacking in power to trouble Botham.
The Darfield fighter failed to keep this up throughout the fight and Botham was quick to punish lapses in concentration by forcing him back onto the ropes and firing away.
There was just not enough of this over the ten rounds to push him into serious contention for the victory but he certainly did not deserve to be on the wrong end of such a lop-sided scorecard.
A rematch in a year’s time would definitely draw some interest with Botham having a few more fights under his belt and no doubt eager to set the record straight.
Adam Jones was scheduled to be fighting for the vacant Central Area light middleweight title on Saturday night until opponent Matthew Mallin withdrew injured.
And the fortunes of Denaby Main’s Jones failed to improved as he suffered a points defeat to journeyman Simone Lucas.
Lucas had won just one of 16 previous fights but gave plenty of trouble to Jones who simply failed to control the fight as expected on a rare appearance in the home corner.
Jones was unable to assert his authority during a lacklustre performance and there was little surprise when Lucas’ hand was raised at the end.
Jones slips to 4-7-4 with his latest defeat, ensuring his chances of contesting the Central Area title in the near future suffered a blow.
Steven Hale opened the night with a blistering performance to stop Harvey Helmsley (3-14-1) in the first round.
Conisbrough lightweight Hale twice had Helmsley down before referee Andrew Wright stepped in midway through the round.
The stoppage was the second of the 29-year-old’s career and takes him to 5-0-0.