JOHN DOCHERTY experienced the first defeat of his professional career as the Scot’s hopes of becoming British champion suffered a significant setback.

The Montrose super-middleweight had hoped to make it a perfect 10 wins out of 10 but he was overpowered by Jack Cullen in their British title eliminator bout at Wembley Arena.

The 23-year-old put his English opponent down in the first round but Cullen recovered and went on to dominate the fight. The judges agreed, with all three scoring it in favour of Cullen who could now face the winner of December’s bout between British champion Lerrone Richards and Willy Hutchinson.

It had been an explosive start, with Docherty sending Cullen to the canvas within the opening 30 seconds with a meaty left to the chin.

The Englishman, though, showed there were no lingering effects as he came back with a number of shots to show Docherty he was not going to have it his own way.

Cullen drew blood from the Scot’s right eye in the third as Docherty quickly realised he was in for one of the toughest contests of his career.

By the fourth it had become an attritional affair with both men trading punches in a frenetic contest. It continued to be a close fight throughout the middle rounds with Cullen landing the more telling shots to move into the ascendancy.

A thumping shot from Cullen in the eighth wobbled Docherty and, although he held on to complete the 10 rounds, there could be no complaints about the judges’ decision.

There was success earlier in the night for Kash Farooq whose reward for 10 slick rounds of boxing was the WBA Continental bantamweight title.

It was the Glaswegian’s first fight for more than a year after two previous comeback attempts had been postponed at short notice but he made it third time lucky on his Matchroom debut as he overwhelmed Angel Aviles to win a wide unanimous decision.

The win extends Farooq’s record to 14-1 and the St Andrews Sporting Club fighter was relieved just to finally make it back to the ring.

“I’m really happy with that, especially after such a long wait,” said the 24-year-old. “I didn’t think I was going to get out this year so I want to thank [promoter] Eddie Hearn for getting me out and for getting me a title as well.”

It was feisty from the opening round, with both men stepping forward to trade a mixture of punches. By the third round, the Mexican was appreciating the size of the challenge facing him as Farooq moved through the gears, mixing up his punches seamlessly in almost balletic fashion.

By the middle rounds it had become almost one-way traffic, with Avile’s early spark having long disappeared. Farooq constantly looked for openings, working his opponent over with a succession of jabs and hooks.

The punishment continued and although the Scot could not land a knockout blow, he was a worthy winner.