TROY WILLIAMSON showed his championship qualities by climbing off the canvas to win the maiden defence of his British super-welterweight title in Newcastle on Friday (March 25).

The 30-year-old was floored by challenger Mason Cartwright in the second round of in their contest on Probellum’s show at the Utilita Arena, but came fighting back to clinch a unanimous points verdict.

John Latham marked it 114-113, with Phil Edwards and Terry O’Connor having wider margins with scores of 116-111 and 117-112.

Williamson produced one of the best finishes in one of the greatest fights of 2021 when he snatched the Lonsdale Belt from Ted Cheeseman with a 10th-round stoppage in Liverpool last year.

He had to slug it out in the trenches that night and had to do it again front of his adoring fans in the North East.

Underdog Cartwright put “The Trojan” down early in the second, but using a great jab and some telling combinations the Darlington fighter came back to take a deserved victory.

Credit must go to the man from Ellesmere Port for his contribution to an early fight of the year contender.

Supported by another Geordie sporting god, Alan Shearer, Lewis Ritson made a triumphant return to the Utilita Arena, where he outpointed former world champion, Dejan Zlaticanin in a 10-rounder which did not finish until Saturday.

The Montenegro boxer, best known for a win on British soil against Ricky Burns, displayed plenty of spirit but could not prevent the “Sandman” from clocking up career win number 23.

Looking lively, Forest Hall’s former British lightweight champ controlled matters, winning 100-90 (twice) and 100-91. 

Tokyo silver medalist Pat McCormack made the most rapid of transitions into professional boxing with a 98-second victory over Justin Menzie.

The Washington 26-year-old, who has not taped up his gloves since the Olympics, was an irresistible force against the late substitute from Essex.

A body salvo put down Menzie and while he was up by “nine” referee Ron Kearney waved it off at 1-38 of round one.

Unbeaten Co Durham featherweight Thomas Patrick Ward made another step towards a world title fight by outclassing Burkino Faso’s former African champion Alexis Kabore over 10 rounds.