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Boxing: Comeback king Steve Bendall targets more title success after WBU joy
COMEBACK king Steve Bendall made a sensational return by winning the World Boxing Union middleweight title and then confessed: “I hadn’t felt like that for years.”
Bendall said he was “over the moon” after he had stopped rival John Akulugu in the sixth round of their contest in Neuwied, Germany.
The 40-year-old former English champion proved age was no barrier as he stepped back between the ropes to claim one of the most memorable wins of his career.
Westbourne-based Bendall, who had lost his previous three bouts and had not fought for two years, vowed before the fight that he would retire if defeated.
But the veteran is now targeting a shot at the Global Boxing Council belt in Berlin next month after taking his overall record to 30 wins in 37 professional contests.
Speaking to the Daily Echo from Germany after his victory, Bendall said: “I am over the moon. Hopefully, this is just the start now.
“I need to confirm it but I have been told that I will be fighting on January 24 in Berlin.
“We are just trying to keep building up and to get a shot at something big. You can’t be out for two years and expect it straight away.”
Discussing the win over Akulugu, Bendall said: “I loved it. I hadn’t felt like that for years. I have always wanted it but it just felt right on Saturday.
“Even though, in my eyes, it was not a great performance, I am going in the right direction.
“It was tough. He was awkward and he could whack a bit. I realised he didn’t like the body shots and I dropped him three times with those.
“I got him twice, in the second and fourth rounds, and then I could see he was tiring. I caught him with a right hook to the body and that finished him.”
Despite the success, Bendall admits he remains some way short of his best form.
He added: “You could see I hadn’t fought for two years. That little bit of sharpness was missing.
“I am delighted to be a world champion but I have still got to get back to my best. My timing was not quite there.”
Completing a memorable night for Dorset boxing, Poole ABC fighter Lee Cutler claimed the Class B 71kg title at the Amateur Boxing Association of England Senior Novice Championships in Nottingham. The 17-year-old claimed a points victory over rival Ben Burnham of Birkenhead Venture.
However, club-mate George Harvey, 27, was stopped in the first round by Alex Dickinson (Kirkby) in the Class B 91kg+ category.
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