LEWIS Pinto has set his sights on facing long time rival Jimmy Mizon in March after retaining his Queensbury British Middleweight title.
The Roundshaw fighter won over Wallington's Lawrence Lofts on Saturday evening in a brutal affair at the Effingham Park Hotel.
Making the first defence of his title after winning the belt back in September, Pinto was forced to fight the majority of the contest through a bloody haze after sustaining nasty lacerations over both eyes in the first round from accidental head clashes, but managed to prevail on points in a thrilling contest that had the capacity crowd captivated from start to finish.
As the opening bell of the bout rang out it was clear that the 38-year-old challenger Lofts was going to make good on his pre fight prediction of meeting the champion head on and taking the fight straight to the champion as the pair met in the centre of the ring to exchange furious blows.
Known for his aggressive fighting style Pinto was happy to engage the challenger in what developed quickly into a toe-to-toe war that saw both boxers register some vicious looking punches.
But as both boxers continued to push forward their heads came crashing together and it was the champion Pinto who emerged worse off with a nasty looking gash over his left eye.
But as the seconds of the opening round ticked away the heads once again connected and again it was Pinto who came out the loser with another deep cut this time just above his right, which looked to have put the bout in real jeopardy.
Pinto started to find his range and connected with some eye catching combination and Pinto stared to take control and many at ringside stood in disbelief that Lofts was able to absorb so many damaging looking shots
Reflecting on his performance Pinto was less than complimentary about how he thought he had boxed.
"To be honest I feel a bit disappointed with my performance in their tonight but the cuts really had a big effect on me in there.
"I could feel the blood constantly dripping into my eyes and for some reason it zapped all my energy and I felt I really under performed, but it was an exciting fight and my corner were pleased so I'm still the champion and looking forward to next year now and moving on to bigger and better things.
"I think me and Jimmy Mizon would make a cracking fight and I know there are a lot of people who would want to see that fight if it happens."