LEE Appleyard has vowed to bounce back in the New Year after missing out on a crack at the Commonwealth Title.
And, says the Bramley boxer, a rematch with Bilal Rehman, the man who beat him last month, is top of the agenda.
Appleyard lost a tight points decision to the unbeaten Rochdale fighter in the super lightweight eliminator at the Doncaster Dome.
It was a close contest, Appleyard constantly going forward and the tall and rangy Rehman relying on his movement and reach over ten fast-paced rounds.
The referee’s verdict was disputed by Lee and his camp, believing it should have gone the other way, and that has made him all the more determined to return stronger in 2019, preferably against Rehman.
“It was a really close fight. I’m not saying I was robbed, although a lot of my fans did, but I thought I’d done enough to win,” said the former English lightweight champion.
“We said in the corner that the worst case scenario was a draw. It was scored 96-94, one round the other way and it would have been a draw.
“I was the better fighter, he was more negative. I forced the fight and landed the cleaner shots.
“We are looking for a rematch. How long we have got to wait we don’t know. He might not want that because he can now look towards the Commonwealth. I’m not daft, on the business side of it he might not want to take the risk.”
Appleyard is already back in the gym ready and, at 31, says he is in no mood to hang up the gloves yet.
“The fight was a belter, it wasn’t one I need to rebuild off. It is probably the best I have ever boxed and unless I need a tick-over fight to lead in to something, I will be going straight for a title next and hopefully will be back in the ring at the back end of February or the start of March.
“I’m upbeat, I’m buzzing and I’m back in the gym already and ready to go again and see where we can go in 2019.”
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