Teddington boxer Kieran Leinster claimed the Queensbury Boxing League national middleweight crown on Saturday and has set his sights even higher.
The 21-year-old did not have things all his own way as he claimed the vacant title with a fourth round knockout victory over John Hefford at the Copthorne Effingham Park Hotel.
After living up to his ring moniker “Lights Out” with a swinging right hook to floor his rival, Leinster is now eyeing a British title shot where he will face either Danny Lineham or Ruben Giles – who clash at Alexandra Palace on March 15.
“That was a tough fight and Hefford was much better than I expected, but as always I pulled it back and lived up to my name which is something I was looking to do,” said the St Mary’s University English literature graduate, who already held the southern area crown.
“Coming into this fight I thought Hefford was going to come straight at me and be a pressure fighter.
“But he had a really good jab and his boxing was a lot better than I thought it was going to be, which is why I kept getting caught on the way in when trying to unload my shots.
“At the end of the second round, I knew I had to make some adjustments, but even then the knockout was unexpected but it’s great to get the victory and my second title in the league.”
From the first bell, Leinster leapt straight out of the blocks to unleash his trademark attacks to the body that backed Hefford on to the ropes, before he responded with some crunching left hooks of his own.
As the fight progress Hefford looked to be edged the contest with the cleaner work, but Leinster sent him sprawling to the floor forcing referee Ken Curtis to wave off the action.
“I just want to say a huge thank you to my trainer Peter Simon as without him I would not be where I am,” he added.
“Also, thanks to my family and the Lights Out army, who were there on the biggest night of my career.”
Leinster’s triumph is screened later this month on British Eurosport.