BOXING: PENT-UP frustration was released with tears of joy as Runcorn's Robin Reid won the IBO super-middleweight title on a unanimous points decision over unbeaten champion Brian Magee.
Reid earned the backing of all three judges at ringside after knocking down Northern Irish idol Magee four times in an untidy, yet gripping, 12 rounds at the King's Hall in Belfast on Saturday.
Reid, 33, was relieved the officials ruled in his favour 115-11, 113-112 and 114-111 and that a fifth-round cut to the forehead in what was deemed an 'accidental clash of heads' did not ruin things for him.
Reid said: 'I totally deserve it and that's why I am so emotional.
'I've had so many decisions go against me before with the Ottke fight and the Calzaghe fight was close.
'I'd worked really hard for this fight. The cut came in the fifth round and I thought: 'Just my luck'.
'But I boxed out of my skin. It was a bit dirty - his head kept coming in, but I just kept my composure. He couldn't take the power and in the end that's what did him.'
Even the bookies had been unable to separate the pair, both being 10-11 on.
But Reid drew on all his experience from an 11-year, 41-fight professional career to overcome height and reach disadvantage and condemn the 29-year-old southpaw to his first defeat in 23 professional contests. Sixteen of Magee's 22 wins had come inside the distance but his eighth defence was blighted by an early one-point deduction.
It was initially thought this was for a low blow delivered in a first-round clinch.
But the television replays showed the offending punch to be legal and the penalty may have been imposed for Magee failing to break when told.
With blood streaming from his gashed head, Reid took a cautious approach to avoid further catastrophe, although he hadn't gone hell-for-leather at any stage.
Both men, renowned as counter punchers, were reticent with their hitting but Reid still downed Magee with right and left hands.
Two eight-round knockdowns - the first to a stinging right - swung the contest in Reid's favour, despite the man from Sutton Park never looking at his best.
Having crumpled to the canvas, Magee's confidence dipped and the left hands from the champion, his only real weapon, became increasingly intermittent.
Reid, who has never been floored in his career, even as an amateur, was again found to have a steel chin.
He was able to feign injury late in the bout as if to underline Magee's shots weren't hurting him.
The only real concern by the time the last round came around was the judges' cards.
But then it was announced there was a new champion and the champagne flowed - along with those tears.