A HARTLEPOOL boxer who made a comeback in tribute to Mark Denton, has made a winning return.
Liam Dawson had been out of the sport for 10 years but resumed in the ring for Hartlepool Elite Boxing Academy in a bid to fight on Headland ABC’s show at the end of April.
Mark, who died on New Year’s Eve, was one of Headland’s greatest-ever boxers, but Dawson’s contest unfortunately fell through.
But the former Catholic Club boxer came back with a bang in Leeds last week when the 27-year-old outpointed talented Yorkshireman Dexter Thomas.
Elite coach Paul Barnes told SportMail: “Liam was meant to box on the Headland show but the bout was pulled on the night.
“He wanted to box in memory of his close friend, Mark Denton.
“But Liam did get to boxed against Thomas.
“Dexter was an ABA finalist in 2011 and it looked as though we were taking a bit of a risk putting Liam back in with a boxer of his calibre.
“All the team at Elite were confident with Liam and he justified that.”
Dawson boxed at a good pace in first round, scoring well to the body and head.
However, Thomas was game and it meant the Poolie could not afford to take his foot off the gas.
The second round was a cracker, both fighters scoring well, with Dawson forced to show his defensive skills too.
Round three proved a toe-to-toe war and despite the all-out aggression, the contest never became scrappy and both fighters never let their skill level drop.
Dawson clinched a unanimous decision, to the delight of the boxer, his corner and supporters.
“Liam dedicated that win to Mark,” added Barnes. “He was brilliant.
“AIBA international referee Jack Goodwin congratulated Liam on a great display of boxing.
“Liam will box on now and he would love a crack at the ABAs next season.
“I’ve been very pleased with him.
“He has always had talent but when he was younger you could say he was may be a little petulant.
“Now he seems to have grown up and is more level-headed – but he can still fight!”
Barnes paid tribute to Hartlepool fitness and conditioning guru, Ian Glass.
The personal trainer, from the Muscleworld gym, has worked closely with many boxers and is currently guiding unbeaten pro Josh Leather.
And his work with Dawson has paid dividends.
“I’d like to thank Ian, he’s done a fantastic job with Liam and our other boxers,” he said. “When Liam came in the gym he was 86 kilos – now he’s 67.”