The very first title fight of the year on our shores did not disappoint as the slick Deion Jumah (13-0, 7KOs) outpointed the tough Sam Hyde (15-2-1, 8KOs) over 12 compelling rounds to retain his English cruiserweight championship at the Woodhouse Park Lifestyle Centre in Wythenshawe on a M22 Promotions event.
In the maiden defence of his English cruiserweight strap that he won from Wadi Camacho last September, 30-year-old Jumah was forced to dig deep on numerous occasions during the dramatic bout, which also doubled up as a final eliminator for the British title.
After a tentative opening, the contest caught fire in the fourth round as Hyde, fighting out of the home corner, found a home for his vicious right hands, before the champion responded with some solid body blows.
The champion grew into the contest as his dangerous left hand from his southpaw stance began to stunt the progress of his plucky challenger, who continued to march forward in his usual style, seeking success with his right hand.
The middle rounds swayed back and forth as both fighters took turns to force the action, roared on by a sold-out crowd.
As it seemed momentum was swaying in the champion's direction, 'Nowhere 2' Hyde once again forced 'The Ghost' to endure a flurry of shots at the end of the 11th stanza, driving him back against the ropes.
In an agonisingly close decision, the judges scored it 115-113 twice and 115-114, as the Londoner set himself on a collision course with British champion Richard Riakporhe.
Speaking to British Boxers TV after the fight, Jumah emphasised the importance of his endurance and what he described as “the hardest camp he has ever been through”.
Trained by Gary Logan, he stated: “I felt good, we put the work in during this camp, it was the hardest camp I’ve ever been through and we were ready for a hard fight tonight and it was a hard fight.
“I was confident with the camp I have been through and with the great sparring that I was going to come on in the later rounds and that’s exactly what happened.
“I was never hurt, but Sam is really strong, when he hits you, your whole body moves. He surprised me a few times, I think he is a better boxer than people give him credit for.”
Eyeing up a potential opportunity for the Lord Lonsdale belt, Jumah continued: “I’ve said it before that this is the harder fight and Sam is technically better than Richard, we are definitely ready for Richard, I have his number for sure.”
The M22 Promotions card also saw another title fight as 21-year-old talent Mark Jeffers (11-0) captured the Central Area super-middleweight title by dispatching of Ben Thomas (2-2-3), who was unbeaten in five fights going into the 10-round contest, with a thunderous body shot in the fourth round.
The Jennings Gym prodigy from Chorley didn’t let a cut above his eye affect him, as he showed maturity beyond his years to apply the pressure and force the stoppage before the midway point of his first ever title fight.
Manchester’s highly regarded middleweight, Marcus Morrison (23-3) also remained active, earning a points victory over the game Darryl Sharp.
In what was the third meeting between the pair, WBC International champion Morrison showcased his sharp jab as he dictated the pace of the engaging bout.
Having made his professional debut less than a year ago, the slick Gerome Warburton (5-0) remained undefeated with his fifth consecutive win, unanimously outpointing Salford’s Ryan Hibbert (0-4).
Osian Williams (1-0) also marked a successful entry into the paid ranks, displaying his aggressive and entertaining style in defeating Dylan Draper.