GREG BRIDET furthered his international claims with stunning victory for England.
Heart of Portsmouth’s (HOP) heavyweight national champion underlined his class with victory over emerging Welsh pretender Kody Davies.
And the ABA champ did that in dramatic style in Hereford, picking up a majority verdict in a battle which landed bout-of-the night-plaudits.
The reigning News Sports Awards sportsman of the year showed his depths of resolve against a talented opponent to get the decision.
That saw plenty of leather thrown, with both boxers landing heavy and hurtful punches.
But it was Bridet who had the last word in exchanges which caught the eyes of judges.
The bout started with Davies trying to take the centre of the ring.
Bridet dismissed those attempts but it was his opponent who was edging the contest early on.
That led to a change of tactics in the second round, with Bridet upping the tempo with success.
Some switch-hitting also bemused his opponent, with the HOP man’s fitness and pressure telling over the finale.
Bridet revelled in his success after the contest and believes the win can be the springboard to exciting moments ahead on the international stage.
He said: ‘This is what it is all about.
‘I have trained very, very hard for this moment and listened to my coaches and kept to the game plan no matter what happens.
‘My coaches always have the game plans ready and we work with a few, so we can change at any time.
‘I have won the elite title and now I want to keep winning on the international stage and represent England and GB Boxing all over the world.’
Bridet’s coach, Q Shillingford, explained it was an important win for his man, with Davies looking to usurp him in the Great Britain standings.
The 23-year-old is part of the GB development squad and has his eyes set on making it on to the elite podium squad.
A defeat to Davies would have seen his standing take a dent, with the contest taking place in front of GB coaches.
But Bridet handled the pressure superbly to get the win he deserved.
Shillingford said: ‘Greg was under a lot of pressure going into the contest and in with a good kid with experience at international level.
‘Wales have been knocking the door and saying he should be on the GB squad.
‘But we had the opportunity to take the bout and were never going to say no.
‘It was a great bout and he was a strong kid who pushed Greg all the way.
‘But Greg had the last say in exchanges and you could see a line between them in strength, fitness and ability.
‘All the top coaches were there watching the bout.
‘Greg wanted to show why he is on the development squad and why he wants to be on the podium squad.
‘There’s no doubt that is the level he is at – and he went out there and showed that.’
Meanwhile, the latest round of the England Boxing Schoolboy Championships takes place today in Kent.
The Southern Counties titles will be up for grabs, with a number of boxers from clubs across the area involved.