Boxing: After a sensational derby battle, the honours go to Nav

Sheffielder Sam Sheedy’s valiant attempts to prize the English light middleweight title from Rotherham’s Nav Mansouri ended in defeat after a split decision from judges at the Magna Centre.

But Dronfield’s Lewis Taylor is the new English middleweight champion after beating a game Grant Cunningham from Stafford, on the same Dennis Hobson bill.

Navid Mansouri v Sam Sheedy 04/07/15

Navid Mansouri v Sam Sheedy 04/07/15

Anybody privileged to have been ringside will not forget the night Sheedy and Mansouri locked horns.

The pair fought each other to a virtual stand-still.

It was absorbing, breath-taking entertainment.

Sheedy started the better but Mansouri grew stronger and more precise as the 10 rounder wore on.

Sam Sheedy

Sam Sheedy

Having said that, there were many in the crowd who disagreed with the judges’ verdict.

I thought Sheedy had shaded it.

TV pundit Glenn McCrory thought the Wisewood southpaw had won by half a dozen rounds.

But no one can deny the courage shown by the Sheffield Boxing Centre man - who at 27 is young enough to go on and challenge again for this title and others.

Lewis Taylor v Grant Cunningham 04/07/15

Lewis Taylor v Grant Cunningham 04/07/15

“It was a great fight,” said Mansouri. “I expected it to be easier. Sam showed a lot of heart. I really

enjoyed myself. All respect to their and my team. I knew I was scoring, and he was as well, but I felt I

was putting the pressure on.”

Sheedy said he had enjoyed the experience and he would be back in the limelight soon.

Earlier, Lewis Taylor received a gaping cut above his right eye in the fifth round after an accidental clash of heads with Cunningham.

It went to the score cards: one judge felt it was a draw but two others thought the Derbyshire man had edged it.

Taylor had targeted his rival’s body and the contest looked like being a war until Taylor’s cut caused it to be stopped.

Chesterfield welterweight Leon Field won every round of his debut against veteran Matt Seawright.

* Diego Chaves (23-2-1, 19 KOs) and Devon Alexander (26-3, 14 KOs) look set to fight an IBF welterweight eliminator on September 26th at the Little Creek Casino Resort in Shelton, Washington, the winner qualifying for a tilt at Sheffielder Kell Brook’s world title.

Brook is being mentioned as a possible opponent for Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao who is currently out with his right shoulder following rotator cuff injury.

When he returns to the ring in 2016, promoter Bob Arum says he’ll likely have three names in mind: Terence Crawford, Lucas Matthysse and Brook.