Duddy takes step closer to title fight


Boxing: Derry middleweight John Duddy took a step closer to a world title fight with a points victory over Battersea's Howard Eastman in Belfast's King's Hall last night.

After an intense battle over 10 rounds, Duddy was handed a 96-94 decision over former European middleweight champion Eastman, who was celebrating his 37th birthday.

Duddy, who is based in New York, had to come through some troublesome moments in the middle of the fight, but came on strong at the end to take the verdict.

The 28-year-old got off to a blistering start and took the opening three rounds with his relentless aggression which veteran Eastman, a two-time World title challenger, found hard to handle.

But in the following three rounds Eastman started to get on top and caught Duddy with some solid blows flush on the chin.

Eastman was clearly warming to the task, finding Duddy rather easy to hit but the world title prospect stood toe-to-toe and in the last two rounds managed to outwork his more experienced opponent.