LYTHAM boxer Scott Cardle defied setbacks to score a convincing win and chalk up a hat-trick of victories at Nottingham Arena.
He maintained his 100 per cent record by defeating London-based Nigerian Ideh Ockuko, a late replacement opponent.
Cardle took the verdict by 60-53 in the six-rounder, but it looked as though it would be all over in the fourth when he put Ockuko down.
Cardle boxed with a knee support, but his mobility did not look to be impaired – indeed, he made a confident start, establishing a comprehensive lead.
But there were danger signs in the fourth, when the boxers clashed heads. That opened up a wound on the Lytham boxer’s forehead, but it was in this round that he scored a knockdown.
Ockuko got up to continue, and though Cardle had blood seeping from his wound, he continued to take every session.
This fight was on the under-card of Carl Froch’s crushing win over Lucian Bute to take the IBF super-middleweight title in devastating fashion.
The popular Nottingham 34-year-old was regarded as the underdog heading into the contest with unbeaten Romanian Bute.
But Froch proved emphatically that defeat by Andre Ward last time out was by no means the beginning of the end for him, stopping the stunned Bute in the fifth round to add the IBF crown to the WBC belt he held twice in the past.
Froch, whose record read 28-2 with 20 early wins coming into the fight, admitted in the build-up to the contest that he had much to prove, after losing to Ward in the Super Six tournament final in America before Christmas.
“My decade of training as a professional with my trainer Robert McCracken has come together tonight and it had to, because after the defeat to Ward I was left questioning my future,” Froch said.
“The desire has never been in question because I’ve always wanted to win the four belts, and become a legend and remain at the top of the game until I get sick of it.
“I’m not sick of it yet. I still love boxing, I still love getting up in the morning and running, I love seeing my body change over training camp.
“All that has been brought to a head with this win.”
KIRKHAM’S Adam Little will be in action next month, defending a unbeaten record.
He will fight in Manchester on June 16, on the under-card when Rendall Munroe takes on Scott Quigg for the interim WBA world super-bantamweight title.