Capital gain for Glenn Foot as Sunderland fighter claims English title in a thriller

Glenn Foot (centre) celebrates his English title triumph at the York Hall on Saturday
Glenn Foot (centre) celebrates his English title triumph at the York Hall on Saturday
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Great Sunderland wins in London?

You can count them on one hand probably, certainly the ones in the 21st Century.

There was Chelsea in 2014 under Gus Poyet and the 4-0 February thumping of Crystal Palace for David Moyes’s best moment while in charge of the Black Cats.

But for finest Sunderland hours in London, you would be hard pressed to better this.

Glenn Foot is the new English light-welterweight champion having stormed into his rival’s ‘manor’ and taken the belt home to Wearside.

The 29-year-old action man defeated Londoner Philip Bowes on a unanimous points decision at the York Hall, all three judges marking it 95-93 after a gruelling 10-round confrontation for the vacant belt.

Looking from the outside in, this looked a tall order.

Bowes, from Leytonstone, just up the road from Bethnal Green, was highly-fancied at his home venue, where he had won 12 of his 15 career victories, and on his own promoter’s show.

A clever southpaw, he also had height and reach advantage.

But the 32-year-old was forced to concede second best to the remorseless Marley Pots crowd favourite, who took control from the middle rounds and refused to take a backward step.

Coach David Binns admitted a slow start to camp had him concerned for Foot, but he was thrilled with the way his boxer approached the fight and how he won it.

“Three weeks ago, I wasn’t that confident about coming down here,” he said. “But Glenn picked things up and turned it around.

“I still don’t think that was the best of Glenn Foot, but he is a warrior. He’s come down to that kid’s backyard and beaten an awkward, in-form southpaw.”

It always looked an intriguing clash of styles between the London left-hander, known as ‘Quicksilver’ and the Wearsider, nicknamed ‘Hammer’.

The early stages were an ugly mess, with constant holding. The Marquess of Queensberry will have been turning in his grave.

Boxing was avoided at all costs.

Bowes landed what few clean blows were thrown in the first and fourth rounds, while the third saw both combatants deducted a point by referee Bob Williams, who spent much of the clash separating and warning the rivals.

This reporter had Foot trailing moving into the fifth, but what is the expression about ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’?

And they come no tougher than the one-time Prizefighter champ, who was told by surgeons he would never box again after a machete attack in 2013.

The fifth was Foot’s best round so far, with a good left and two crisp rights getting through.

Bowes landed one eye-catching right in round six, but the session belonged to Glenn whose aggression was starting to bear fruit.

A right-left-right combination from Foot was the highlight of a dominant seventh and the following two rounds were just as good as he piled forward at will, connecting with some strong rights.

The Eastender tried to find away back in the last, but, by that stage, he appeared to be chasing the fight.

Foot was in no doubt at the final bell, nor his fans on the balcony who chanted “Hammer, Hammer, Hammer”.

I had Foot three points in front and Daniel Herbert, the excellent Boxing News writer next to me at ringside, favoured Bowes by one point.

But the only view which mattered was that of the judges and all three backed Glenn. What a night for Sunderland.