CALLUM Winton can’t wait to get back in the ring again after finishing a roller-coaster 2013 with a victory in Gateshead.
Winton extended his unbeaten record to four bouts but emerged from his victory over Yousef Al Hamidi with mixed emotions.
The gifted 21-year-old looked a million dollars in the first two rounds, only to switch off in the second half of the contest.
To the delight of the large Winton support, and the disgust of the Yorkshire corner, the Hartlepool boxer got the nod, 39-38 from referee Graeme Williams.
Winton deserved it, just, and now wants to continue the good work in the Stockton gym with new trainer Imran Naeem.
The former Catholic Club boxer has had something of a turbulent year – he quit the Gus Robinson Developments stable after his spring win over Paul Haines and moved to the Bob Shannon gym in Manchester.
He never had a fight for Shannon, instead returning home and joining Naeem’s Natural Progression camp.
“I’d love to fight next month,” said Winton.
“That doesn’t look likely and there’s talk of a show in February which would be nice to get on.
“I thought I boxed mint in the first two rounds and Imran was happy but after that I just seemed to turn off.
“Things have gone well with Imran and I enjoy his coaching.
“I will look to build on what we’ve been doing and build on last night.
“I’m on a learning curve and I will learn from that fight last night.”
The one principal lesson Winton must digest is that he must fight and concentrate for the full bout.
His form in the opening half of this contest against the Syrian-born light-welterweight was nothing short of superb.
Hamidi was on his bike from Hartlepool timekeeper Stewart Lithgo’s first bell, with Winton in hot pursuit
The opening two rounds were a delight to watch as the blond bombshell landed punch after punch – the left was a favourite though an eye-catching right hook in the first drew applause from his noisy supporters.
But in round three, the change in the bout was almost unbelievable.
It was as though the off-switch had been flicked on the Winton body.
Hamidi sensed it and as the round progressed you could sense the 35-year-old was beginning to fancy it.
As Winton’s work dried up, the Dewsbury-based veteran raised his game and worked well with both hands.
“Easy, easy, easy” mocked the away coach as he got into the ring after the third.
Winton was a little better in the last but when the final bell sounded there was an anxious wait for the scoreline of Mr Williams who was scoring from ringside as trainee referee Steve Hawkins is still not qualified.
Hamidi looked non-plussed at the one-point defeat while trainer Ashton exchanged words with the Billingham official and then continued arguing with Mr Hawkins.
This reporter had the same scoreline but, on another day, it could have ended 38 apiece.
Winton admitted that there was no-one more frustrated than him.
“I’m disappointed,” he told SportMail.
“To be honest, I thought the first couple of rounds I might have been a bit rusty.
“But they ended up being best two rounds.
“I always like to go downstairs and then switch back to the head, but that wasn’t working.
“With him being so small I found him to hard to hit to the body.
“That was putting me off and it went downhill from there.
“I still thought I’d won but I was disappointed. I think I may have got a little bored.”
Fellow Hartlepool boxer Gary Fox’s contest with Marvin Greaves fell though on the eve of the show.
It was a successful event with North-East wins for unbeaten pros Craig Nicholson, Jordan King, Craig Dixon and Josh Leather.
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