Synonymous with barnstorming fights, on this day 24-years ago, when beloved Mancunian Michael Brodie captured the British title, he did so by knocking out Neil Swain in a scintillating war of attrition.
As with almost every Brodie fight, this was gruelling whilst it lasted, as a compact and composed Brodie marched forward against the resilient Swain, who refused to retreat and fought fire with fire.
Both warriors showcased heart and fortitude in the utmost, as the momentum of the battle swayed back and forth.
The fight began in electric fashion, as the two fighters came out with bad intentions and engaged in brutal exchanges. There was very little to separate the pair in the opening session, however, first blood went to the Welshman as he sent Brodie stumbling back into the corner with a solid straight southpaw combination.
Swain’s volume remained unrelenting throughout the fight, however, the gutsy approach of Brodie saw him continue to wear his man down short snappy shots to the body, as he maintained the centre of the ring.
Epitomising the explosive nature of the bout, Swain ate a plethora of thudding left hooks, which seemingly rattled him as he wilted to the ropes, nonetheless in the very next round he increased his volume and rallied back as he sought to turn the tide back in his favour.
With each shot thrown it felt like Swain was elevating his maliciousness, however, there was no halting Brodie that night, as he took his best shots and never wilted.
The ferociousness and accuracy of Brodie began to take its toll on the tough Welshman as he fired to the body in venomous fashion.
In the fifth, the path to victory began to emerge for Brodie as his cynical shots to the body were having a clear impact on Swain, and he began finding a more regular home for his powerful rights and lefts.
Swain, however, refused to resemble a beaten man and sought to respond to everything Brodie fired at him, leading to one of the most exciting British title fights in history.
Although he was already adored by everyone that was aware of him, the fight endeared Brodie to a whole new audience and paved the way for him to become one of British boxing’s favourite sons as he exemplified what it means to be a warrior.
In a fight brimming with significant momentum shifts, round seven saw Brodie unleash a pulverising combination to Swain, rocking the Welshman’s head back before the bell allowed the former Commonwealth champion a breather, in what would be his final fight.
In spite of seemingly being stung in the previous round, Swain lept off his stool in the eighth and the pair resumed in trading a barrage of forceful shots at each other.
In round 10, the concluded in a fittingly brutal fashion, as Brodie planted his feet and powered him a snapping right hand to the oncoming Swain, separating him from consciousness and crumbling him to the deck.
A bloodied and emotional Brodie was overcome with elation at the culmination of the battle, as he embraced Billy Graham, his trainer at the time.
Reflecting on the fight on the Tris Dixon ‘Boxing Life Stories’ podcast, Brodie paid tribute to Swain and described the bout as ‘the hardest fight he has ever had in his life’.
He added: “I take my hat off to Neil because he was a tough kid, really tough – he was double hard. It was the hardest fight I have ever had. As you have watched throughout my career, I have had loads of hard fights, but I would say he is the hardest man I have ever boxed.
“He broke my nose in the first round, and I fought ten round with my nose broke, you can imagine the pain I was going through every time I got cracked on the nose.”
Looking back on the devastating finish, he added: “I just knew, that is what I was known for, I had good power and if you look at my record I knocked quite a few people out. When I threw that punch, I knew he wasn’t getting up from it.”