Lytham’s Scott Cardle has told how the death of fellow boxer Mike Towell played on his mind at the very moment he was landing the decisive blows to retain his British lightweight title against Kevin Hooper in Glasgow.
Dundee boxing prospect Towell died after being stretchered out of the ring in his fight against Welshman Dale Evans, also in Glasgow.
Cardle’s fight with Hooper took place just a week after Towell’s death, and the British champion said: “What had happened to Mike had been preying on my mind before the fight, and it has been something that is very hard to take in.
“When I caught Hooper with a right hand, I saw his eyes roll slightly and I have to admit for a split-second what happened to Mike flashed through my mind.
“I still had to jump on Kevin to finish the fight and I have to say I was very glad that the referee Marcus McDonnell stepped in to stop it when he did.
“He had to be wary and he did the right thing, even though Kevin was not too happy about it afterwards because he said he could have carried on.”
Cardle added starkly: “What happened to Mike puts everything into perspective.
“In boxing you can put yourself through torture for three months in training and sometimes it can lead to death.”
Cardle came through the sixth-round stoppage victory over Hooper unscathed physically, a complete contrast to what has happened in previous contests, when he suffered eye damage.
After his first fight against Sean Dodd in Liverpool last November, Cardle needed no fewer than 22 stitches in an eye injury.
He said: “Other boxers know that I cut, so they try to exploit that.
“Maybe it happens because of my style – I tend to box with my hands down and I am fearless.”
A mooted future opponent for the 27-year-old is the winner of Saturday’s bout between Luke Campbell and Derry Matthews at the Echo Arena in Liverpool. Those two contest the World Boxing Council silver lightweight title.
However, Cardle and his team are more likely to think in terms of another defence of the British title – knowing a victory would mean Cardle holding on to the Lonsdale Belt for keeps.
Cardle told The Gazette that is his priority.
“(Blackpool’s) Brian Rose won his belt outright and I know how proud he is to show it off.
“I have always dreamed of being able to get the chance to keep a Lonsdale Belt, ” he said.
Cardle has already defended his British crown three times but he is not yet eligible to keep the belt as one of those fights was drawn.