In a huge upset, Halesowen’s Lennox Clarke stunned highly-rated Scot Willy Hutchinson in five rounds to claim the vacant British and Commonwealth super-middleweight titles at the Copper Box Arena, Hackney, on Saturday night.
A former World Amateur champion at youth level, Hutchinson had been hailed as Scotland’s next big thing since turning pro and was being groomed for stardom by Queensberry Promotions.
He started with a flourish, reeling off combinations, but Clarke began to gradually impose his physicality. Hutchinson (13-1, 9 KOs) was cut over his left eye after a clash of heads in the second as Clarke drew him into an unfamiliar, trenches war. The Midlands man roughed up and bullied the hot prospect until he broke.
In the fateful fifth, Clarke landed two huge right hands with Hutchinson out on his feet but kept up by the ropes before a left hook sent him down. He rose groggily, but his senses were still scrambled and the bout was waved off by referee Bob Williams, sending Clarke into raptures.
“This is a dream come true,” Clarke (20-1-1, 8 KOs) told BT Sport afterwards. “He is a sharp kid, but I knew I could take his best shots. I knew it was too early for him to step up against me after fighting those wallies [lesser opposition].
“I knew he wasn’t enjoying it because he was tying me up. When someone doesn’t want to fight on the inside, you know they aren’t enjoying it. So we carried on doing what we were doing and broke him down. He wasn’t ready.”
His words proved to be prophetic.
Main image and all photos: Queensberry Promotions.