Murphy makes champion Theophane dig deep

PUBLISHED: 17:59 14 December 2011

Ashley Theophane celebrates retaining his British Light Welterweight title

Ashley Theophane celebrates retaining his British Light Welterweight title

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Kilburn’s Ashley Theophane stayed on course to claim the Lonsdale belt after coming through a tough test against Ben Murphy on Saturday.

Theophane needs one more successful defence of his British light-welterweight title to keep the belt after stopping Murphy in the 11th round at Peterlee Leisure Centre, Durham.

But it was a difficult night for the 31-year-old champion, who found himself under pressure during the early rounds before fighting back to force the late stoppage.

“The first four or five rounds I knew I was behind, but bit by bit I started to break him down,” said Theophane. “I thought I could outbox him but he wasn’t giving me time.

“I did think I was going to play with him because, not being rude, he’s a novice compared to me. But he rushed me. I didn’t have time to do what I usually do.”

Southern Area champion Murphy, a late replacement for original challenger Nigel Wright, went on the attack straight away and threw a flurry of punches that left the Londoner looking less than comfortable.

A jarring left hook in the fifth round rocked Theophane, but the former All Stars ABC amateur launched his recovery during the next couple of rounds, working the body and opening up a cut around Murphy’s right eyebrow.

With Theophane now using his jab to good effect, the underdog was visibly tiring, and the 10th and 11th rounds were decidedly one-sided as referee Howard Foster stepped in to halt the contest 30 seconds from the bell.

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