Gethin claims vacant title

Martin Gethin claimed the vacant British lightweight title with an impressive ninth round stoppage victory over Ben Murphy in Walsall.

It was all Murphy in the early going as Gethin - a renowned slow starter - appeared lethargic as Murphy took the centre of the ring.

Gethin gave up the first three rounds, taking many clean shots to the jaw as the 5ft 3in Murphy worked well in close and launched long looping lefts from range.

But the fourth round signalled a change in fortunes for Gethin, who finally stepped up the work-rate as the jab kept Murphy quiet for once.

Murphy again was less aggressive in the fifth, backing onto the ropes as Gethin started walking down the smaller man with eye-catching combinations.

By halfway Murphy was out of ideas and with Gethin warming to his task the fight was firmly his for the taking, hurtful body shots clearly taking their toll.

Murphy was relying on single shots, notably the left hook, but Gethin was unloading at least three to every one of his opponent's with further slick combinations and doubling up the left hand.

The eighth round was Gethin's best as he poured forward relentlessly, efficiently working the body as the tally of blows started taking their toll.

The underdog arguably did well to see out the round and so it proved as Gethin went in the for kill in the next, Murphy offering little by way of offence and after the local hope had unloaded a series of unanswered blows the referee decided enough was enough.

It extended Gethin's winning streak to nine since he suffered a hat-trick of losses in the space of six months five years ago, and a mouth-watering fight with the winner of Anthony Crolla vs Derry Mathews surely lies ahead.