Birmingham’s Shakan Pitters lost his British Light-Heavyweight title last night (18,12,20) in a shock stoppage defeat to mandatory challenger Craig Richards. The fight which was scheduled for 12 three-minute rounds was being aired live on Channel 5 and was the headline fight on the Hennessy Sports Promotion show in Redditch. This was Pitters first defense after beating Chad Sugden in August of 2020 in a unanimous points decision.
A cagey start to the first round as both fighters felt each other out, Pitters got the first big shot off but there was not much in the round, Pitters just edged it. Both fighters were still trying to feel each other out in the second but Pitters found his range with his jab and edged it. Pitters used his jab well in the third as he moved around the ring, Richards up the tempo and pushed Pitters back to the ropes with some good combinations to win the round. Pitters started the fourth round well using his sharp jab, Richards seemed to time Pitters well and caught him with a big right hand which seemed to hit Pitters around the back of the head. This rocked Pitters and as he fought back Richards caught him with a cracking right hand that put the champ down. Pitters rose to his feet and took an 8 count. When the ref told them to box on Richards went in for the stoppage as Pitters used all his will and skills to hold on. Pitters managed to weather the storm and recovered enough to see the round out.
The fifth was a quite round as Richards seemed to give Pitters time to recover, could not split them. In the sixth Pitters seemed to have fully recovered and as the round went on Pitters seemed to grow in confidence catching Richards with some great shots near the end. The seventh was a back and forth round with both fighters having joy, could not split them. Pitters controlled the pace in round eight with his jab and seemed to be back in control of the fight. Richard then upped his tempo again in the ninth getting his double jab off but Pitters was looking good behind his jab, Richards then caught Pitters with a massive right hook that rocked the champ who backed away on unsteady legs. Richards jumped on Pitters who tried to move away and cover-up. As Pitters sat on the ropes Richards caught him with a cracking left hook which put Pitters down for the second time, as Pitters got to his feet the ref waived the fight off.
Winner Craig Richards
Ninth round stoppage
I am gutted for Shak as you could see how much this fight meant to him, I’m not going to lie I honestly thought Shakan would win this fight with ease. I honestly did not think Pitters did much wrong in the fight, it was more to do with Richards having a good game plan and some thunder in his shots. Shakan got caught in the fourth and showed the heart of a champion by getting off the floor and riding out the storm and getting back into the fight. The right hook he was caught with in the ninth was a peach and again he showed loads of heart to stay on his feet, the left hook that put him down would have completely knocked out most people, how Shakan managed to get to his feet shows his true warrior’s heart. The ref was right to stop the fight then but you could see Shak wanted to continue.
This defeat is not the end of the world as I’m sure there will be a rematch where Shak like AJ will correct the result. As the saying goes you don’t lose you learn and I think Shakan will learn a lot about himself and his boxing and will come back an even better fighter and I can still see one of the Bbcolumn’s favorite boxers reclaim the British title or even go on to bigger belts.
The Birmingham Boxing Column has followed Shak from the start of his career and will be there when he wins bigger titles.