ng>A keenly-contested points decision saw Jason Welborn retain the Midlands light middleweight title after a cracking main event at Wolverhampton Civic Hall.
Huge debate followed the call from referee Terry O’Connor that left him two points up at the final bell despite visiting the canvas, writes Craig Birch.
He was in real trouble come the fifth round as he sunk to the mat, Dudley’s Aston switch hitting to land a damaging right hook to the sternum.
Rowley Regis' Welborn left answering the count until very late but gamely battled on and saw the round out, despite slipping over in an ensuing exchange.
Aston had controlled proceedings until then at a break-neck pace which caught up with him in the later sessions and, indeed, he was out on his feet by the end.
Guts for glory had been the theme, as both men put it all on the line to produce the best all-Black Country bout for many a year.
Aston’s aloof southpaw stance bamboozled Welborn at the start, using the left hand to work the jab as he loaded up with the right.
There was real snap in his punches as he tagged him with stinging shots, but back came the reigning champion with a salvo in the third.
He finally trapped Aston and let his hands go, with the challenger using his head to suck it up and duck his way out of trouble.
Aston was back on top in the fourth as he picked two opportune moments to land right hooks to the rib cage, pressure which told come the next round.
Down went Welborn and he was glad to hear the ball to prepare for the sixth, where he was cut on the left eyebrow.
And that was where ‘Tank’ ran out of steam, particularly in the last couple of rounds where he clung on for dear life.
Even so, most people had him well ahead as the contest went to the cards, where Welborn maintained his grip on the belt with a 96-94 victory.
He said: “I really enjoyed that fight. I didn’t want to go out all guns blazing and he was nicking the jabs at the start. Maybe I gave him too much respect.
“He gave me a good fight, I was conditioned but that body shot completely took my breath away. I took the count and it woke me up.
“He was whaling away, thinking I was going, and it was about my experience from there. He burned himself out.
“When I started to grit my teeth, I got to him and I could tell that in the later rounds. I thought, in the last one, that the referee was going to stop him.
“Ryan will come back from this. He’s 24 and I’m 29, so he’s still young and he’s a good fighter. Southpaws are horrible, I’m glad to see the back of them!”
A despondent Aston added: “I’m aggrieved, gutted, devastated, any word you can pick. I just thought I won that fight.
“I couldn’t believe it when they put his hand up. I boxed his head off, in my opinion, and I probably gave him two rounds. I tried to fight him late on when I should have boxed.
“I would love a rematch, I would relish getting that back on. I beat him hands down. I’d be shocked if he takes it, though.”
The main event was one of three entertaining area title tilts on the night, with Andrew Robinson and Bobby Jenkinson claiming super middle and feather crowns respectively.
The irresistable force met the immovable object as defences went out of the window , Redditch’s Robinson and co-challenger ‘Prince’ David Davis battering each other from the off.
Davis slipped well in the first three rounds but abandoned his game-plan and it later backfired, with both fighters absorbing a lorry load of punishment.
Neither head moved an inch with Robinson landing stinging right hands at will, as swelling developed over Davis’ right eye from his attacks.
The tough man from Ilkeston in Derbyshire eventually folded when he was decked by a right uppercut, although he gamely answered the count.
He was completely gone when Robinson resumed his attacks, Messer leaving it as late as possible before stepping in for the ninth round stoppage.
Lincoln’s Bobby Jenkinson came, saw and conquered with a dominating performance against Brummie Paul Holt, a replacement for Wolverhampton’s Des Bowater.
Holt was chasing the fight ever since he was dropped from a right hand to the head in the second and finished up, harshly, 98-92 behind on Mr Messer’s watch.
The knockdown was arguably a slip but Holt had to answer the count and went looking for the stoppage late on, with both contestants doing well to complete the distance.
They slugged away at each other on the inside, particularly in the last two rounds where skill and tactics were replaced by heart and determination.
Les Byfield, from Netherton in Dudley, redressed the balance of losing his pro debut by claiming a points success against wily centurion Matt Seawright over six twos.
The two clashed at welterweight, where Byfield overcame a poor start by going on the back-foot as he looked to counter punch.
It was far more comfortable a performance from there as he dominated the second half of the fight, awarded the bout 60-55 on points with Mr Messer.
It came at a cost, though, for Byfield. He was left with a split lip after a third round head clash, while Seawright was nicked by the left eyebrow in the fifth.
Byfield must serve 28-day bans from the British Boxing Board of Control, so he cannot box at Walsall Town Hall on July 4 as planned. Typically, it’s the last day of his suspension.
Rowley Regis’ Tyler Denny opened the show and performed well with a points shut-out win over Aaron Robinson at middleweight.
Denny ploughed forward throughout and tested Robinson’s endurance out with right hands, with blood shed in the third.
The doctor was called to the ring to inspect Robinson’s wound by his right eye, but he was permitted to continue and saw out the four rounds.
The card was completed by Welsh welterweight Mano Lee, borrowed from Frank Warren’s camp, with another 40-36 landslide over Stourbridge’s former Midlands champion Kevin McCauley.