Boxing: Rotherham fighter faces Croatian test after last-ditch change

Rotherham boxer Lee Appleyard was sick to the core when his opponent for Saturday's proposed Central Area title fight at Doncaster Dome dropped out.

Lee Appleyard, with Stefy Bull, right, and Dave Coldwell
Lee Appleyard, with Stefy Bull, right, and Dave Coldwell

But promoter Stefy Bull mounted a last-ditch effort to find another a championship match for the 28-year-old super featherweight.

And Appleyard (W7-L1) will now compete for an international challenge belt against Croatian Antonio Horvatic (10-24) to head the show.

“Lee took it really bad after eight hard weeks training and all the ticket sales he’d managed” said Bull.

“He had been out in Tenerife training with the Walsh brothers, they think very highly of him, and then we found out that his planned opponent Chris Conwell had gone ‘awol’ and the fight was off.

“We still wanted to give the fans a championship match” said Bull “and we will have an eight-round International Challenge contest instead.

“Horvatic is coming off a win and may actually give Lee more problems that Conwell would have done.”

Lee Appleyard in action this year

Appleyard, a salesman and father of two, from Bramley, is trained by Bull and Ray Doyle.

“Lee is a good prospect, the one defeat he had was a suspect verdict against someone who has done well since (Glossop’s unbeaten Adam Hague.)

“In the past, Lee has been too brave for his own- he could have won in a way that would have made the job a lot easier.

“When he came to us he loved to fight and get stuck in. But at 5ft 11ins, he wasn’t getting the right distance with his long reach, using the jab and his feet properly.”

Lee Appleyard in action this year

“We have trained him to be more disciplined and use his attributes to the best advantage.

“He can fight southpaw or orthodox and is a good technical boxer. It will be a good fight and a good show.” (Tickets: 01302 303959)

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