Munroe lands a punch on Maludrottu on his way to victory
Rendall Munroe overcame a slow start to retain his European super-bantamweight title on Friday with a unanimous points victory over Simone Maludrottu.
The Leicester binman, 29, struggled to get into a rhythm against his more experienced Italian opponent early on.
But he responded with some excellent head and body shots as Maludrottu tired through the middle and late rounds.
The victory strengthens Munroe's case for a world title clash with Japan's WBC title-holder Toshiaki Nishioka.
"It was a tough fight but now I'm ready for whatever my management team decide is best for me," said Munroe.
Maludrottu, 31, had a proven track record. The former European bantamweight title-holder had won 30 of his 32 previous professional fights and challenged for the WBC crown in January 2008, when he lost on points to Japan's Hozumi Hasegawa.
And he used all his guile in the opening rounds to draw Munroe in and pick him off at will.
But, spurred on by a partisan Nottingham crowd, Munroe upped his workrate and slowly began to take control of the fight, connecting with a fine right hand in the seventh.
He continued to push Maludrottu back in the following three rounds, but failed to land a telling blow.
And when Maludrottu put up a spirited display in the final two rounds, with Monroe walking into numerous punches as he tried to drive himself on, the result looked close.
But the judges were unanimous in their decision, with two scoring it 116-112 in the southpaw's favour and the third seeing it 115-113.
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