BEING able to fight out of your comfort zone and claim victory in emphatic fashion is what makes a great, accomplished boxer.
Unbeaten light-welterweight fighter Shayne Singleton is renowned for his suave in the ring; a confident swagger embellished by crafty footwork, an inherent upper body movement and the guile, patience and precision to pick off his opponents.
However, the 21-year-old’s eighth professional bout against William Warburton was a completely different affair. His foe, who hails from Atherton, had previously vandalised Chris O’Brien’s unblemished pro record after forcing a stalemate with his unconventional boxing style.
And though he never really troubled Singleton, he did force him in to mistakes, and the occasional big-hitting dispute. Singleton, who paid tribute to friend Gary Wimbles who died recently by wearing a t-shirt with the text RIP Gary emblazoned on it, was intuitive in the opening round, doubling up on his jab to keep Warburton at a safe distance before launching in to a punishing tirade of combinations. Warburton was backed in to a corner consistently but stood his ground well.
In the second round Singleton maintained his sharpness and stung the face of Warburton with a left hook and a one-two combo, leading off on his jab and finishing with a punishing cross shot to the side of the head. Singleton gathered momentum and had the 24-year-old troubled in the corner though his defence was tested when Warburton’s power prevailed. However, the ‘Pain’ reversed the action superbly when pressed against the ropes.
Warburton slipped to the canvas twice in the third, with referee John Latham correctly refusing to administer a standing count, as Singleton continued to dominate. The young Colne prospect’s ratio of punches thrown and landed wasn’t as high as usual but he worked well to exploit gaps in Warburton’s defence.
“I was happy with what I did,” Singleton said. “I accomplished what I set out to do by winning every round. I was catching him clean to the head at times, though I failed to connect with more shots than usual. He was a very awkward opponent. I’m usually very accurate but he was making me miss.
“I had to stay focussed and try not to get frustrated. Fighters like that can usually do that to you and they force you in to mistakes, but if I missed a shot to his head I was just moving down to his body.”
He added: “I was doubling up on my jabs well to keep him at distance and my combos came off well but when I had him up against the ropes he’d have his chin up then he just slipped me. Fair play to him.”
In the final rounds Warburton landed several big shots but nothing that was ever going to trouble the deficit that had grown in Singleton’s favour. At times Singleton was forced in to a brawl as Warburton came at him and, refusing to step back, he opted to stand his ground. Singleton continued to find success with various combos and knocked Warburton off balance in the sixth. Warburton came out windmilling in effect, in a desperate bid to salvage something from the contest, but this was Shayne’s night, taking the fight 60-54, which means his 100% record remained in tact.
“The sparring I did was perfect for the fight,” Singleton said. “Ali Shah, like William Warburton, is a slippery fighter so it prepared me well. I was out of my comfort zone at times, we were really going for it, but I won so I’m happy.
“I was delighted with my defence. When I’ve been throwing punches I’ve learnt to bring my hands straight back up. After I’d landed a combination he threw a big left hook and I managed to get my glove up in time to block it. Things like that, putting training in to practice, really please me. My defence was tested more, we had a set-to a couple of times but I wasn’t really phased.”
And soon it could be Singleton’s time to shine, with talk of a title shot beginning to escalate: “My promoter told me that I’m out of these lads’ league and he wants me to step up. I’m looking to get down to 10st. now, weighing in at 9st. 12lb. for my next fight. If I’m comfortable with that then I’ll try to get down to 9st. 9lb. for a title shot. I made 9st. 11lb. on my debut and I felt comfortable so I’m confident that I can do it.”