Early finish leaves McIntosh wanting more

Norwich's English light heavyweight champion Danny McIntosh made an impressive return to the ring with a third round stoppage of the durable Hastings Rasani on Saturday night.

After a nine-month spell on the sidelines, McIntosh returned to action at Bury's Castle Leisure Centre, taking on Birmingham's former Commonwealth title challenger Rasani in a scheduled six-rounder.

McIntosh, 30, who in Stoke back in February had knocked out Portsmouth's Tony Oakey in the second round to retain his English title, was anxious to shake off a little ring rust against the experienced Zimbabwe-born fighter. But any thoughts his team had of banking six hard rounds disappeared when he halted the African just 55 seconds into the third, having clattered him with a succession of weighty right hooks to the head.

Rasani, along with his corner team, bemoaned the intervention of local referee John Latham, but their protestations fell on deaf ears. McIntosh had taken the opening couple of rounds, boxing to orders and following his busy jab in with regular rights to both head and body.

The win took his record to 12 wins and one defeat, while it was the 55th loss of Rasani's career in his 82nd fight.

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McIntosh said: 'What I really wanted to do was get some rounds in and if I'm honest the stoppage was premature, I even told Rasani the ref shouldn't have stopped it. I never really hit him hard and didn't really even get out of first gear.'

He added: 'I've had a few niggles dating right back to the Cleverly fight, first an ankle, then a knee and then a slight back problem but I'm back in the gym regularly now and just looking forward to what my team can secure for me title wise – we'll consider all the options.'

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Top of the bill action saw Manchester's Rhys Roberts claim the International Masters featherweight title with a wide 100-90 10 round points victory over Georgia's George Gachechiladze.

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