Inverness boxer Calum Turnbull suffered an agonisingly narrow defeat against Newarthill’s Dylan Arbuckle, who became the Scottish super bantamweight champion on Saturday night.
The Drumossie Hotel, Turnbull’s home base, was the venue for SM Promotions’ North v West show, with four contests for fight fans.
The main event was the battle for the vacant super bantamweight strap between two former Scotland amateur team-mates. And it was a toe-to-toe thriller.
It was the first time a professional Scottish title had been fought for in Inverness and ‘Titanium’ Turnbull had the chance to become the first pro champion from the Highland capital.
Turnbull, who has worked under long-established Inverness City ABC head coach Laurie Redfern since he was a youth, seemed to land as many telling hits throughout 10 action-packed rounds.
However, a cut above his eye early on, according to Redfern, might have tipped the balance in favour of the Lanarkshire fighter, who walked off as the champion from a high-quality match-up.
He said: “In all my time in Inverness, and all the shows we’ve had, I don’t think I have seen a contest quite like that. It was so close.
“I thought perhaps with Calum being from Inverness and the show being here, the sway (of the judges’ decision) might have gone with us. It happens in some sports, where ‘he’s a local boy, he’s just got it’, but that was a bit unlucky.
“But Dylan’s coaches came over after the fight and shook my hand.
“The cut took a couple of rounds out of him (Calum). It was quite a cut and that might have given Dylan a few rounds.
“On the whole, due to Calum’s guts and determination, he deserved it.”
There is early talk of a rematch at the St Andrew’s Sporting Club in Glasgow, although it’s thought Redfern would press for a second shot at the Drumossie.
Stewart unbeaten ahead of title shot
‘Highland Warrior’ George Stewart, who is coached by his dad Bruno, was an impressive 40-36 winner against Miguel Zamora from Nicaragua.
This was the ideal preparation for Stewart as he shapes up for a rescheduled Scottish super featherweight title fight against Dundee’s Charlie Doig in Alloa on November 3.
The Inverness puncher was due to be on the show of the recent Ricky Burns’ triumph over Willie Limond at Braehead Arena, but had to withdraw through illness.
After a fine performance at the Drumossie, he cannot wait to go for glory.
He said: “I have my Scottish title fight in three weeks in Alloa. I couldn’t afford any mistakes in this one.
“But I was always confident. I had Stevie (McGuire) as my manager and my old man in the corner, so it was a case of having a game-plan and me sticking to it.
“On September 1, I was due to fight (for the title), but we had to pull out as I wasn’t well.
“I was gutted as it was part of a big show, but we’re all ready for Alloa now. I’m the main event on that night, so I can’t wait.
“My opponent on Saturday was a southpaw and my opponent next month is a southpaw, so this was really good preparation.”
His delighted dad and coach Bruno Stewart added: “It was a calculated performance from George on Saturday. We didn’t take any silly risks, as we didn’t want any injuries before next month.
“It was good to fight a southpaw, they are hard to find, although they are becoming a little more common.”
Fifth straight victory for Williamson
Alness boxer Adian Williamson, who fights for Inverness City, delivered a classy 40-36 victory over Fernando Duran from Honduras in his super featherweight clash.
The local boxer, with a perfect five from five pro card, hit some telling punches and displayed good defence when required, especially in the final round.
Afterwards, Williamson made his ambitions crystal clear after another powerful performance for north fight fans.
He said: “I knew when I got in the ring, I was just going to enjoy myself and outbox him, so it was good.
“I knew I was going to be fine and not get my face punched. I have still kept my pretty-boy looks!
“Preparation was spot-on, with sparring and running and keep on top of everything.
“I love fighting here at the Drumossie, with the crowd and the aftermath of winning – it gives you a real buzz.
“I feel I’m learning after every fight. Sparring is one thing, but it’s completely different stepping into the ring. A night such as this brings a lot of attention to Inverness – I enjoyed it.
“I want to fight again as soon as possible and hopefully for a title. There’s nothing lined up at the moment, but as soon as I get the call I’ll be ready.
“My aspiration is to go all the way. Have fights on TV, go for the WBC title, the lot – I’m coming for it all.”
Redfern defeated on her pro debut
Another home fighter was former ABA champion Lorna Redfern, who was making her professional bow against experienced Ukrainian Inna Statkevich in a bantamweight contest.
Despite dancing out of trouble on occasions, the visitor had the edge and scored a 40-36 victory.
Lorna’s coach and dad Laurie Redfern said: “Lorna had been 10 years out of the ring and it was maybe a bit too long.”
It’s understood Lorna is not put off by this setback and is eager to earn a pro victory next time out.