The 12 March, 1994, marks the 20th anniversary of one of Steve Robinson‘s finest wins, a WBO featherweight world title defence against Liverpool’s Paul Hodkinson at Cardiff’s National Ice Rink.
The bout came as Robinson was still struggling to establish his credentials as a champion before a sceptical public and media.
His ‘Cinderella Man’ April 1993 title win over John Davison was dismissed as a fluke, before a homecoming title defence against new British champion Sean Murphy in July.
The Ely man’s outstanding October 1993 victory over Colin ‘Sweet C’ McMillan should have opened people’s eyes, but this was attributed to McMillan’s shoulder problems and the Welshman, 25, was again a huge underdog as he prepared for his third defence.
His opponent, Hodkinson, was a hugely respected former British, European and world champion.
The Liverpudlian, 27, had competed at world level seven times, but had lost his WBC belt in his last bout 11 months earlier, a seventh-round stoppage by Gregorio Vargas.
He was on top of the challenger from the start with constant, in-the-face pressure. This was generally the sort of bout that Hodkinson himself favoured, but on the night he could not live with the champion.
After an intense, punishing battle, the Liverpool man finally crumbled in the 12th and last round, Hodkinson stopped as he writhed on the floor in agony, his face a mangled mess.
It would prove to be his last fight, while Robinson would power on through the most glorious phase of his career.
“I was the underdog again, but I beat him and turned out to be a good champion,” Robinson would later say.
The great Barry McGuigan said of the fight: “I commented on so many of Steve’s defences and, to be honest, we didn’t expect him to beat Hodkinson.
“But he was sensational [in that fight], brilliant. He was a really good champion.”