GUTSY Stourbridge welterweight Steven Pearce survived a scare to beat Billy Smith despite suffering a suspected broken hand.
Pearce battled through the pain barrier to outpoint his Stourport opponent, after sustaining the injury to his left hand in the third round of a dramatic six round contest at Walsall Town Hall earlier tonight (Friday).
The 27-year-old was in clear discomfort and had to persuade trainer Shaun Cooper from throwing in the towel at the end of the fourth session.
Speaking afterward, Pearce said: “Shaun told me he was pulling me out but I convinced him I was alright to continue.
“I said I would rather be knocked out than pulled out.
“I thought I was ahead in the fight anyway but at one stage I didn’t think I would get through it.
“I was in agony and I just had to bite down on my gum shield and battle through.”
There had been little indication of the drama to come in a low key opening three rounds, with the busier Pearce seemingly edging his way to a points victory.
But things quickly changed in the fourth, Smith catching Pearce flush with a left hook and then landing some strong body shots.
By the fifth it was clear all was not right with the Stourbridge man, as the injury forced a switch to southpaw and he appeared to struggle with planting his left leg – the subsequent limp causing many at ringside to misdiagnose an ankle injury.
After persuading his corner and referee Shaun Messer he was fit to continue, Pearce rallied in the last and was eventually awarded the fight 60-56, a scoreline which was harsh on Smith who looked a clear winner of the fourth and the fifth.
Pearce is now unbeaten in five professional bouts but may now face time out depending on the exact extent of his injury.
He said: “I’m happy to get through it and get the win.
“But I’m gutted with the hand injury. I don’t know how long I’m going to be out.”
He added: “Every time I landed with the left it was sending pains right down my leg, which was causing the limp. I’ve never known pain like that before and I’ve never fought southpaw before!”
Pearce’s training partner Kyle Spencer had earlier enjoyed a comprehensive points win in his middleweight contest with Trowbridge’s Matthew Vaughan.
Kingswinford-based Spencer was on top from the word go and hit his opponent with some big shots, particularly in the opening two rounds.
But Vaughan was equal to the punishment and survived all four rounds as Spencer took it 40-36.
There was also joy for Dudley super featherweight Dean Anderson, who outpointed Bristol’s Harvey Hemsley 39-37 in an all-action four round scrap to begin the evening.