Boxing: Appleby fights through the blood to win Celtic title

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PAUL APPLEBY showed guts and skill to fight back from a punishing first four rounds in his Celtic super-featherweight title fight at Braehead to win the crown.

Appleby ignored blood streaming into his eye from his cut left eyebrow to win a unanimous points verdict against Dublin’s Steven Ormond on Saturday night and today he admitted: “It was a really close, tough fight, all credit to Ormond.”

Certainly, for the first four rounds Ormond dominated the toe-to-toe inside exchanges which robbed former British featherweight champion Appleby of his natural height and reach advantages for long spells, and denied him the chance to power punch.

But full credit must go to the newly crowned Celtic 9st 4lb champion for the way he battled back into contention, a comeback sparked by a punishing left hook to the body in the fifth round that hurt Ormond.

Appleby’s coach, Billy Nelson, is now lining his Celtic champion up for a mandatory challenger for British champion Gary Buckland’s title.

Meanwhile, Edinburgh cruiserweight Steve Simmons, on the same bill, defied a weight disadvantage of 21lb to beat Hastings Rasani. Simmons dumped Rasani in a neutral corner with a barrage of heavy punches to stop the Birmingham man in two minutes and 29 seconds of the sixth and final round and said: “Rasani, as I forecast, tried to deny me room for my heavy shots. He was a tough guy, okay, but I staggered him several times in the earlier rounds with my solid right hands and left hooks.

“I’m on track now for a crack at the British cruiserweight title later this year but to stay sharp I aim to box again in six weeks.”

Similarly, Edinburgh light-middleweight John Thain, delighted his Lochend coach, Terry McCormack, at Braehead by making it six pro wins in a row by first decking, than outpointing previously unbeaten Welshman Joe Lovell 58-56 over six rounds.