Boxing: Ward's hammer flattens Viking to make him British champion
NATHAN Ward claimed the vacant EBF British super-heavyweight title with a whirlwind win at a sold-out Assembly Rooms.
Ward was backed by 250 fans in his clash with Eric "The Viking" Thompson – and sent them home happy by thrashing him inside a round to claim the belt.
Raging Bull Promotions head John Ashton hopes the 37 year-old from Derby will defend his title against Mark Walker in a rematch later this year. They were supposed to meet in the top-of-the-bill fight last weekend but Walker pulled out with a shoulder injury and Ward met Thompson for the British belt instead.
At 6ft 4ins tall and around 18 stones, Thompson, from Sunderland, had all the size advantages but Ward simply bulldozed him.
Ward, looking in terrific shape, soon backed Thompson up, then dazed him with a left hook to force a standing eight count.
Thompson was pinned in his own corner as Ward blasted him to the body to bring his hands down, then switched his attacks to the head. A two-fisted salvo of hooks and uppercuts flung a defenceless Thompson into the ropes and the referee stepped in to wave the fight off.
Derby cruiserweight Duane Reid made a winning return after a six-year break – but only just.
Reid had better skills than Lee Renshaw but was often unsettled by the Chesterfield scrapper's rushing attacks. Reid landed enough clean blows to snatch a majority points win after three hard-fought rounds.
Jon Joyce claimed a terrific win against Kieran Cumberbatch, his non-stop punching taking him to a majority points win.
In his previous fight, Cumberbatch lost a narrow points decision for the EBF British welterweight title and he caught Joyce with several hurtful, slashing punches in the second round but the Derby chef kept attacking and made sure of victory by outworking Cumberbatch in the last round.
Adam Hands took only 95 seconds to wipe out Drew Douglas.
Hands showed good skills and hit too hard for the Chesterfield boxer. He smashed Douglas to his knees and although he beat the count, his nose was bleeding heavily and he signalled his surrender.
Lewis Knight also had the home crowd cheering with a majority points win over Mark Hill and well-supported Vinny Glover had Mark Walker over three times with body shots for a second-round stoppage.