Shayne Singleton has vowed not to take any more unnecessary risks after his humdinger of a contest against Wayne Reed.
The 26-year-old recovered from two knock downs to take a 57-55 points victory over the southpaw at the Robin Park Centre in Wigan.
The former English champion, who conquered Curtis Woodhouse in 2013, met the Yorkshireman at a catch weight of 157lbs.
Not only was Singleton fighting at 10lbs above his normal ceiling in the welterweight division, he was also carrying an injury on his jab hand having damaged the tendons in his thumb during sparring.
Following a limited training camp, which comprised long distance running, hill sprints and drills on the rowing machine, he said: “I felt it all the way through. I thought adrenaline would take over and I wouldn’t feel it. I tried doing everything I could with my right hand.
“You’ve got to prepare for anyone, particularly a tricky southpaw like that and I didn’t. He’s two weights above me too.
“You need that because your timing goes. Preparation is the key and I didn’t have that. All I had was the fitness after pounding the miles.”
He added: “I learned not to take a fight if I’m not right. It could’ve been dodgy. I sat down after that third round, having been put down twice, my corner said it was close and I thought I’d have to knock him out to win. Obviously I boxed and won the rounds. I knew what I wanted to do but I just couldn’t do it.
“I will listen to Karl next time. He told me that he didn’t want me taking this fight. I know for next time I won’t be doing it.”
Singleton’s restriction was clear from the first bell, with the Pendle pugilist opting to throw feints with his left before firing shots off with his right hand.
The first knock down looked innocuous as Reed landed down the middle with his left hand, catching Singleton off-guard, leaving referee Phil Edwards to apply the count.
In the second round, just moments after dazing his foe with an arcing left hook, Singleton took the brunt of another fierce left from Reed, requiring time to re-stabalise after being temporarily stunned.
In a true war of attrition, with both boxers refusing to concede ground, a deep cut started to open up over Reed’s left eye, though this failed to debilitate the 28-year-old as he sent Singleton to the canvas again in the third round.
“The shots he caught me with were flash knock downs,” he said. “They didn’t wobble me or hurt me. He wobbled me more with a big right hand over the top that wobbled my leg but I didn’t go down.
“With the knock downs I was too relaxed and I just didn’t see the shots coming. Those that you don’t see put you down.
“I was caught with my feet square on and he caught me off balance. He put me down and fair play to him. I’m not making excuses, but there’s a reason why that happened. I didn’t prepare.”
However, Singleton dealt with the pressure of that set back admirably. Unlike the Sam Eggington bout, where he lost his way slightly after hitting the deck for the first time in his career, Karl Ince’s pupil remained focused and disciplined.
After remaining patient, attempting to pick his shots, Singleton knocked Reed off balance with a smashing right in the fifth and then a devastating left hook in the final stanza put his opponent down.
Following a grandstand finish, which caused blood to pour down Reed’s face, Singleton’s arm was held aloft for the 22nd time as a professional.
“I got the win, I dropped him in the last round and showed that I had the grit to come back after being put down twice,” Singleton said. “I enjoyed it but it was frustrating. “I needed that last round. I needed it big. Luckily I landed that big left hook and it put him down.
“It took Anthony Ogogo five rounds to get rid of him, it took Rocky Fielding five or six rounds. He’s a hard man and he can take shots off them at 12 stone. I’m naturally a 10-and-a-half stone fighter. It’s a huge difference. It took something to put him down.”
Singleton added: “I thought I’d get flash backs of the Eggington fight if I got put down but I didn’t. I just needed to keep control and get back to my boxing.
“My mental strength pulled me through. It was the same with the Woodhouse fight. I won the 10th round which gave me the decision.
“I know I’ve got that attribute to grit my teeth and plough on. Some people might have give up. I learned to control myself more after the Eggington fight. I’ve got more discipline now.”