TONY JEFFRIES’ latest injury setback will not derail his ambitions to fight for a title in the early part of next year.
Jeffries won every round against the cagy Paul Morby in Doncaster on Saturday night, but suffered a gash across his right eye, which needed five stitches.
It was his third cut in four contests and inevitably raises concerns that such injuries could hinder him in the months and years to come.
But dad and manager Phil Jeffries is confident his son will bounce back and a clash with Reading’s Prizefighter super-middleweight champion Patrick Mendy is now being lined up.
“Mendy is a possibility,” said Phil. “Tony will not be able to spar for 28 days because of the cut.
“But it was only five stitches and the plan is still for him to box on November 5 in Liverpool.”
There was only going to be one winner between Jeffries and Morby, a slippery southpaw set out solely on survival.
It looked from the slightly shocked look on his opponent’s face that Jeffries was destined for a seventh professional stoppage as he pounded his way forward in the early stages of the contest at Doncaster Dome.
But Portsmouth’s former southern area champion Morby, while never looking likely to trouble Jeffries, found a way to hang in there, ducking shots, holding on and making the fight an increasingly untidy and frustrating spectacle.
Too often, though, Jeffries was guilty of marching forward and failing to maintain the sort of range that might have given him the opportunity to land cleaner, more damaging blows on Morby.
And there was criticism towards him from coach Tommy Brooks and promoter Frank Maloney.
Jeffries admits he was not at his most fluent as the fight wore on, but pointed out this was his first bout since last December.
“I was getting it in the ear from Frank and I know I didn’t do some of the things that Tommy was telling me,” confessed the 26-year-old.
“I’ll accept that and see what I need to learn from it.
“I won every round on the score card and I know I got very frustrated with Morby because he didn’t really want to try and win it; he just wanted to get through the eight rounds.
“He was a late replacement for my original opponent and I had no sparring against southpaws.
“There was definite ring rust and things still to work on.
“But I’ve boxed one round in 14 months before Saturday and that it bound to have an effect.
“It was eight hard rounds and good experience for me.”
The cut eye, suffered in the sixth round in a clash of heads, was a concern, he added.
“I hope this heals quickly and I can keep busy,” said Jeffries.
“I don’t want to be waiting months again to fight. I want to get on a roll now.
“The cuts are looking a problem but when heads are getting clashed then every boxer could get cut.”