1997-01-11 Henry Akinwande w pts 12 Scott Welch, The Arena, Nashville, Tennessee, USA - WBO

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1997-01-11 Henry Akinwande w pts 12 Scott Welch, The Arena, Nashville, Tennessee, USA - WBO. Referee: Bill Connors. Scorecards: 120-108, 120-108, 119-110. In what was an extremely poor fight, Akinwande (232½) won as he pleased against a challenger almost incapable of getting to him. Badly hurt in the sixth and again in the seventh, thereafter Welch (229) was only interested in survival. However, he nearly got lucky in the ninth when nailing Akinwande with a big left hook. Using his reach advantage to good effect Akinwande was winning easily, but lacking the power to finish Welch off the contest degenerated into one long maul right through to the final bell.

After Akinwande relinquished the WBO version of the title in February in order to obtain a crack at the WBC champion, Lennox Lewis, Herbie Hide was selected to meet Tony Tucker to decide the vacancy.