Home Boxing News Chris Higgs – New British Masters Champion

Chris Higgs – New British Masters Champion

Chris Higgs moved to 11-0 Saturday night and became the British Masters Welterweight Champion after a tough, tough fight in a packed and booming GL1 Leisure Centre Gloucester. Joel Ryan of Walsall (now 4-3) provided stubborn resistance throughout the high paced contest but Higgsy’s superior speed, accuracy and technique kept him in control after a slightly sluggish start. In winning the bout Higgs became the first man from the Forest of Dean to ever hold a professional boxing title.

As the atmosphere built after a high quality undercard, local champions entered the ring to be presented to the crowd. Southern Area Super Middleweight Champion Kelvin Young, British Super Featherweight king Gary Buckland and local hero and local Gloucester’s own John Malfah, who shared the ring with Herol Graham, Chris Eubank, Nicky Piper and Steve Collins during his brilliant career; were among those introduced.

As the ring was cleared the stage was set. The volume rose as the Forest faithful picked up with chant after chant for local favourite Chris Higgs. Joel Ryan was first to make his way to the ring and was soon followed by the 10-0 Lydney boxer Higgs who received a rapturous welcome from the over 1000 strong crowd.

Joel Ryan started quickest, pressing over the front foot and landing a long looping right hand which caught Higgs unawares. Higgs settled as the round went on and started to find the target with solid shots on the back foot. Higgs started to land the left jab solidly and, as Ryan pressed forward with his head low, he started to bring his shots underneath particularly with a stiff uppercut from the lead hand.

As the early rounds progressed, Ryan came forward hard and forced Higgs to match his incessant pace. The at-all-costs intensity of the Ryan attack made it clear they wanted to make Higgs, who was fighting at the 10 round distance for the first time, work at a higher pace than he wanted to and tire him for the home straight. However, the hard training Higgs remained composed and rode out the early storm on the back foot, often punishing his opponent with sharp, punishing counters in the process.

As Ryan momentarily stepped off the gas for a breather in the middle rounds, Higgs quickly made use of the extra time and space and took control of the gap between himself and his opponent, working well with fast straight shots before pivoting away to freedom, a cut appeared on the outside of Ryan’s right eyebrow towards the end of the fourth. At the end of the sixth, Higgs landed a thunderous left hook to the chin of Ryan and as it’s effect became apparent, he immediately upped the pace but Ryan made full use of his amateur experience to quickly close the space and as the bell sounded the moment was gone.

As the rounds wore on the fighters continued to fight at close quarters at a draining pace. The ever pressing Ryan was catching Higgs with shots over the top but Higgs responded well, most notably with a beautiful double jab, back hand which again shook the Walsall man to his boots. Heads came close on numerous as the fighters fought and Higgs would finish the fight with a swollen left eye.

As the bell sounded to start the final round, Joel Ryan again came out fast to try and force himself into the contest. He landed some excellent shots but Higgs soon re-established control of the range and once again began timing Ryan with solid straight punches and that always busy left uppercut. At the final bell both fighters embraced and drew the thunderous acclaim of the crowd.

Referee Mr Bob Williams scored the contest 98-93 in favour of Higgs in the blue corner and Tony Borg and the fabled St Joseph’s Gym, Newport had another champion.

Well done to both fighters on a brilliant, crowd pleasing fight. A huge well done to Chris Higgs who has worked tirelessly in his bid to realise his dream of becoming the first Forest fighter to hold a professional boxing title.

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