Boxing returned to the Preston Guild Hall with a bang on Saturday night.
After several years away some of the North West’s top talent starred at the iconic venue on the packed VIP Promotions card.
Trainer Karl Ince, a former pro fighter from Preston, may have been the busiest man in the city on Saturday night as he saw seven of his Catforth-based stable come out victorious having been a driving force behind the event.
In the main event of the nine-fight bill Ince guided Penrith’s unbeaten Rick Skelton to victory over wily veteran Bradley Pryce as he won his first professional title, the British Masters Silver Light Middleweight title.
The 33-year-old former Commonwealth Champion used every trick in the book to try and frustrate a fighter 12 years his junior but Skelton’s slick southpaw skills saw him to a 98-92 win after 10 entertaining rounds.
In the other title fight of the evening, another Ince fighter, Blackburn’s Kurt Grieve, edged out Bolton’s Chris Jenkinson to lift the British Masters Bronze Welterweight title.
Preston’s Mick Hall bounced back from his first professional defeat, controversially in the Blackpool edition of Prizefighter two weeks ago, with a four-round points win over Dan Blackwell.
Blackwell charged forward for the full 12 minutes but the former Larches and Savick ABC light middleweight picked his man off to prevail in front of his home crowd and move to 12-1 as a pro.
Lancaster light-heavyweight Tomi Tatham was roared on by a noisy following from the north of the county as he improved his professional record to 7-1 by dominating Elvis Dube over six rounds.
In the opening fight of the night, Ince-trained Rick Godding returned from nearly two years out injured with victory over the durable Robert Studzinski.
The Bolton light-middleweight, who has featured on Wladimir Klitschko and Amir Khan undercards, is now unbeaten in 21 contests and hopes for a rapid rise up the rankings in 2015.
Ince also oversaw victories for Blackburn middleweight Morgan Jackson and Southport welterweight Scott Moonan.
Elsewhere, there were comfortable wins for Blackburn’s Shakeeb Ali on his professional debut and Lower Darwen’s AJ Faizy.