It was a case of third time lucky for Willie Limond as he finally achieved his British title dream with a stylish performance against Curtis Woodhouse in Glasgow.
The 35-year-old twice floored Woodhouse with some powerful upper cuts on his way to a points victory to take the British light-welterweight belt.
Limond, who also retained his Commonwealth title, was eight points ahead on the referee’s card and five ahead with one of the judges at ringside, the other surprisingly scoring it a draw.
“It’s taken me 13 years to get it,” a delighted Limond told Sky Sports. “It was a great fight and Curtis pushed me all the way. I think I needed Curtis to do that to make me perform.
“I’d watched every one of Curtis’ fights since he’d turned pro. I feel I performed the best I could at the age I’m at.”
Woodhouse, who briefly retired immediately after taking the title from Darren Hamilton in February, felt Limond’s relative inactivity in recent years would go against his opponent but the Scot produced a classy display of timing and skill.
Limond – who lost to Alex Arthur and Anthony Crolla in his previous British title fights – was the more accurate puncher in the first two rounds and he stepped up his dominance in the third round when he put Woodhouse flat on his back with a left-handed upper cut, the bell proving a welcome end to the eight-second count for the 34-year-old Englishman.
The Scot stayed on top in the fourth and almost caught Woodhouse with another upper cut and, although the Englishman showed great heart to step up the pace and force Limond back, the Scot continued to land some well-timed shots.
Woodhouse seemed to increase his work-rate further but Limond briefly had him on the ropes after a powerful right hook in the ninth and put him on the canvas again late in the 11th after following a left-right counter-attack with another upper cut.
The former Birmingham and Sheffield United player again got back to his feet to give himself a chance of stealing the contest but the Scot stayed out of trouble.
“I was desperate to hang on to my British title, that belt meant the absolute world to me,” a deflated Woodhouse told Sky Sports.
“I fought the hardest I could, but on the night Willie was the better man. I’ve got no excuses, no complaints. The better man won tonight. I still love the game, and it’s still raw. But no one can take away from me that I was one day the British champion.
“I’m disappointed but overall, once the swelling has gone down, I’ll be really proud of what I achieved.”