Boxing: Hunt left in stitches after clash of heads ends fight
STAFFORD welterweight Rob Hunt took plenty of positives from 'Prizefighter' on Saturday night.
Hunt was ruled out in the third round of his quarter-final clash with bookies' favourite Mark Thompson at Wolverhampton Civic Hall after a clash of heads left him with a deep cut on his right eyebrow.
Doctors inserted eight stitches in the wound that ended Hunt's hopes of pulling off an upset.
The third and final round looked set to be decisive.
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Hunt pecked away effectively behind his jab in the opening round, but was outworked in the second.
With the fight in the balance, both boxers went for broke at the start of the third and Hunt held his own in the exchanges until heads cracked together.
"I've shown I can compete at that level," said the 27-year-old. "If he's a top-10 fighter, then so am I.
"I had plenty left going into the third round. I wasn't tired. I tried to mix it and then we clashed heads.
"I was absolutely gutted, but can take a lot of positives from this.
"I will have a week off, then I will be out running again."
Glenn Foot, from Sunderland, went on to lift the trophy and claim the £32,000 winner's cheque.
Grant Cunningham has a title in his sights after extending his unbeaten record in Walsall.
Martin Concepcion and Ryan Clark clash for the vacant Midlands Area super-middleweight title on Saturday, March 2 – and then Cunningham is in line to face the winner after coming through his first six-round test at Walsall Town Hall.
The 28-year-old from Stafford went through the gears to outpoint Lincoln's determined Mitch Mitchell by a 58-55 scoreline for the referee to make it seven straight wins. But he suffered an injury to his right hand that may rule him out of boxing at Wolverhampton Civic Hall on Saturday, March 9.
"Grant has a lot of talent," said manager Errol Johnson, "but we haven't seen the best of him yet."
As always, Cunningham was slow out of the blocks against Mitchell and at the midway point, the fight was in the balance. All the quality punches in the opening three rounds – jabs and body punches – came from Cunningham, but Mitchell was busier and that kept the fight close on the referee's scorecard.
From the fourth, Cunningham upped his work-rate. He had Mitchell giving ground and looking to hold from body punches in the fourth, then blasted him to his knees in the fifth with another punishing body attack. Mitchell dragged himself up, but Cunningham kept walking him down, bashing his body until the final bell.