IN a case of ‘so near yet so far’ at Sunderland’s Pullman Lodge Hotel, Ashington’s Ian Turnbull boxed perfectly against Mansfield-based Latvian Alex Spitko for much of a scheduled six-round contest before being knocked out in the fifth round.
From the very first bell Turnbull (11st 9lbs) controlled the action by pumping out a hard, fast jab, followed by stinging, arrowed rights and uppercuts that landed continually and bloodied Spitko’s nose.
This pattern continued in the second and third rounds as Spitko (11st 12lbs) advanced and threw hooks that rarely landed, while Turnbull continued to score with accurate, hard shots before dancing away from danger.
With a cut on the nose, sustained during the second stanza, the Latvian was looking busted up and fighting with a face stained by blood but continued to trudge forward with his corner urging him to throw the right hand over the top.
The advice paid off in round four as, against the run of play, Spitko put Turnbull down with a right hook.
The north east fighter was back on his feet at the count of nine and returned to his neat boxing to see out the round but still looked shaky at the bell.
Turnbull came out confidently once more in round five and skilfully kept Spitko at bay until, midway through, he caught another right hand flush on the chin and hit the canvas heavily.
Bravely he was up again at nine but referee Graeme Williams looked into his eyes and deemed him unable to continue, calling the bout off at 1m 34s.
“I got a little carried away and should have stuck to what had served me so well when I was on top in the first few rounds,” said a disappointed Turnbull afterwards.
“I just have to take all the positives I can and learn from this defeat for next time.” Turnbull’s record now stands at two wins, one defeat and one draw.
Danger man Spitko moves on with eight wins from 38 contests, with six wins by KO.