Bradley Pryce outpointed Ghana's formidable Osumanu "Ossie Duran" Yahya to win the Commonwealth Light-middleweight championship at the Newport Centre(UK) on Saturday night. Pryce entered the ring first to a thunderous ovation from his hometown crowd.
The champion followed flanked by giant Ghanaian flags paraded by an enthusiastic entourage.
The challenger started by eating a considerable amount of Ossie's right hand leather in the first round. The sight of Bradley with his left hand low and leaning away from Duran's dangerous arsenal brought winces and sharp intakes of breath from observers at ringside. The contrast between Pryce concern and the African's relaxed _expression was striking.
In the second Pryce had developed a nasty injury high on the bridge of his nose. Despite this, he was working to solid rhythm and punctuating his work with short staccato bursts of punches. The champion opened a worrying cut on Pryce's eye and was using his right to worsen the injury in the third.
Ossie however, was looking far from an unbeatable monster and seemed to lack a higher world class gear with which to accelerate away form a challenger swelling with confidence.
Pryce, now 21-6 (13), fought with an impressive determination and urgency throughout the contest. Bradley floated seamlessly to and from a range which allowed him to use his reactions and lean safely away from Duran's punches. By the sixth, the champion's desire was wilting.
Although the ring still bubbled with intent, neither fighter was landing with too many significant shots. At the bell, Pryce nodded to his trainer Enzo Calzaghe after turning up the heat well. Ossie looked out of ideas from the middle of the fight. Once it become clear that Bradley could use his footwork and leaning defence to avoid the champion's attacks and score well with his own shots, the blueprints for the Welshman's success had been drawn.
Pryce made the increasingly discouraged Duran look ponderous over the sixth to the tenth. The man dubbed “Sugar Sweet” was force feeding the African a sickly sweet poison of handspeed and combination punching. His swiping shots would catch the jaded Ossie coming in and the crowd started to respond to their man's pertinent performance.
The eleventh and twelfth were really tit for tat. Pryce was exhausted as his own forceful pace started to take its toll. In the last the audience urged their fighter to the finish where Pryce received a unanimous decision.
The scores read 118-112, 116-113 and 115-114. Ossie slips to 20-5 (9).