Garry Neale produced fireworks at South Parade Pier to win a tremendous super-featherweight clash with Hereford’s Dean Evans.
It was the fight of the night during Saturday’s Southsea show hosted by Noble Art Boxing and Atlantic Promotions - reports Andrew Fairley.
The two men delivered a back-and-forth battle that Neale edged 58-57 on the referee’s card, although it could arguably have been a wider margin.
In some ways it didn’t go tactically to plan for the Leigh Park boxer but it was great entertainment and he was pleased to get the win.
He said: ‘We knew this fight would be a step up and he’d be a tough opponent and for the first couple of rounds I was sussing him out.
‘But then I seemed to get tangled up in a war.
‘In the amateur days that was me, I used to like going in and having a good tear up but it doesn’t really work like that in the professional ranks.
‘You need to be a little bit clever. I seemed to be getting tagged a lot, and then I was tagging him back.
‘He made it a little scrappy and I just got pulled into a war.
‘Evans was there to try to beat me, he was very game.
‘I’m really happy he came to have a go and put on a great show for everyone who bought tickets.
‘A lot of people I’ve spoken to really enjoyed the fight and when people buy a ticket that’s the sort of thing they want to watch.’
Neale edged his game opponent in every department.
A fast start from the Portsmouth man saw him teeing off but in the second round Evans began throwing shots, many of which Neale avoided by slipping punches with fine head-movement and reflexes.
But a perforated eardrum by the end of the hard-fought six rounds showed a good number of Evans’ shots got through the 30-year-old Neale’s defences.
With this being only the second fight for Neale on his comeback, after nearly four years out, his attributes of speed, timing and power are clearly intact.
Neale poured in bombardment after bombardment of shots which to his great credit Evans withstood before firing back himself.
By the fifth round both boxers were feeling the pace but they gave it everything they had and put on a grandstand finish much to the appreciation of the Portsmouth crowd.
While initially deflated following the win, the likeable Neale was able to take a number of positives from the contest that boosted his undefeated record to 10 wins.
He added: ‘I’m a little sore but I’m alright. I didn’t really notice anything wrong with my ear until I got assessed by the doctor afterwards and he told me it was perforated.
‘Fortunately it didn’t affect me during the fight.
‘I’m going to have a good couple of weeks out of the gym and spend time with the family, heal up a bit and then get back to it.
‘I’ll be looking to go again in February or March time and from there hopefully get a chance at an area title.’