sport

Vassell too good for Heffron

Denton Vassell retained his Commonwealth welterweight title with an eye-catching one-punch stoppage of Ronnie Heffron at the Manchester Arena.

The local derby between Manchester's Vassell and Oldham's Heffron, both undefeated heading into the contest, appeared to be shaping into the anticipated well-matched tussle with two rounds gone.

But Vassell's extra experience soon started to tell and a brutal right uppercut left Heffron out on his feet, with referee Mark Green stopping the contest after one minute and 56 seconds of round six.

Vassell, 28, moves to a perfect record of 20 professional wins with 10 inside the distance, while his 22-year-old opponent slips to 11-1.

Victory also provided a welcome tonic for the champion's trainer Bob Shannon, who returned to the arena six days on from overseeing Ricky Hatton's heart-breaking comeback loss to Vyacheslav Senchenko.

Personal problems kept Vassell out of the ring for 12 months before the third defence of his Commonwealth strap this evening, while Heffron came into the bout fresh from three wins in 2012 - albeit over journeymen.

The youngster's crude attacks were picked off by the Vassell's refined left lead in the opener but when Heffron brought his own jab into play during round two he enjoyed success to the body

The majority of a vociferous crowd seemed to be backing the challenger and they drew gasps in the third when Vassell served warning of his vicious uppercut, landing flush.

By round four the champion was easily picking Heffron's jab - a meaty right hook upstairs standing as his best work of the session.

Heffron threw caution to the wind with mixed results in the next stanza and frenzied trading followed in six before Vassell emphatically brought an end to the argument, knocking out his foe's gumshield in the process.