Haskins hands it to Napa
Ian Napa retained his British bantamweight title after challenger Lee Haskins was forced to retire with a hand injury.
Last Updated: 21/09/07 11:37pm
Ian Napa retained his British bantamweight title after opponent Lee Haskins was forced to retire through injury.
The challenger damaged his right hand in the sixth round and although he tried to carry on, he was pulled out after the seventh.
Haskins protested with his corner at the decision to stop the fight, which had been highly entertaining through the first half.
"I don't remember when I did the injury," the 23-year-old from Bristol told Sky Sports. "I think it was when I threw a hook.
"I'm disappointed that I couldn't carry on, but Chris (Sanigar, Haskins' manager/trainer) wouldn't let me.
"This has never happened to me before. I really wanted to take the belt back and then defend the belt in Bristol."
Napa had been in charge of the contest when it was halted, after losing the early rounds to a pumped-up Haskins.
The champion finally began to find the target in the fourth round and grew in confidence as time went by, catching his rival as he rushed in to attack.
"Lee came out to win and caught me with some good shots, all respect to the guy," Napa said afterwards.
"I'm just happy I got the victory and can move onto other things now."
For Napa the victory is his first inside the distance and sets up a rematch with former champion Martin Power, who won their first fight controversially on a split decision.
"That's a good fight for Ian," Frank Maloney, Napa's manager, admitted.
"Tonight he proved he's a worthy champion. He lost the first three rounds and then came back strongly."