Rob Norton may retire after losing title

Sport | Published:

Stourbridge's Rob Norton may decide his boxing career is over after the controversial loss of his British cruiserweight title.

Stourbridge's Rob Norton may decide his boxing career is over after the controversial loss of his British cruiserweight title.

Ringside pundits – including television experts Steve Bunce and Steve Lillis – thought Norton had comfortably beaten Leon Williams at London's York Hall last night to bring the Lonsdale belt back to the Black Country.

Lillis, a correspondent for Boxing Monthly, had Norton winning 10 of the 12 rounds.

But, at the final bell, judges Richie Davies and Ian John-Lewis had the Londoner ahead by scores of 116-114 and 116-113 respectively, with John Keane scoring the fight for Norton 115-114.

Norton wants a rematch, but Williams looks set to meet the winner of Tony Conquest's defence of his Southern Area belt against Toks Owoh on Friday November 18.

And, at the age of 39, the Kidderminster-based southpaw may decide to hang up his gloves after a career that has brought British, Commonwealth and WBU world honours.

Last night's title defence was his first fight for 20 months and he looks unlikely to be handed a quick route back to championship contention.

Manager PJ Rowson admitted he was "gobsmacked" by the decision, but added: "Rob should have done more and listened to his corner.


"He should have boxed from the centre of the ring rather than getting on the back foot and leaning on the ropes.

"I've told him to have a think about what he wants to do next."

Despite his gamesmanship, Norton appeared to win most of the early rounds and held off Williams' attempts to take over in the later stages.

Norton spent most of the 10th round under fire in a neutral corner, but Williams still found it hard to connect cleanly.


The champion dropped his hands and clowned to show he was untroubled by the attacks.

Norton was pushed back to the ropes again in the last two rounds, but appeared to out punch Williams in the toe-to-toe exchanges.

For most ringsiders, Norton took charge in the opening six rounds of a fight that seldom ignited.

Williams, having just his 12th fight, appeared to lack the know how to fathom out Norton's southpaw style and struggled to land a punch of note in the first half of the fight.

From the opening bell, Norton sat on the back foot, his hands dangling by his sides trying to draw Williams onto his left-hand power punches.

Williams was reluctant to attack and let his hands go and Norton pecked away with single shots to build a points lead on the scorecards and keep the fans in their seats.

The South Londoner did get closer to Norton in the second half of the fight, but still struggled to land cleanly.

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