Sergey Rabchenko retained his European light-middleweight title and added the WBC silver crown to his collection with a hard fought split decision over France's Cedric Vitu.

The Ricky Hatton-trained Belarussian pressed forwards throughout and even switched stances at times, but found Vitu a tough nut to crack.

At times it was a case of having to grit his teeth, take Vitu's wide arching shots, and then look to land his own.

Rabchenko had been blasting out opponents, including former three time world title challenger Ryan Rhodes, but soon found that Vitu had a sturdy chin and heart for battle.

The champion, now 22 - 0 (16 KOs), landed his best shot of the first half of the fight in round four when detonated a left hook to the jaw.

However, before the session had ended, Vitu had responded with an equally impressive salvo.

Down the stretch, both boxers toiled away, with Rabchenko the one pushing things on the front foot.

Judges scores were 116-113 (twice) to 114-115.

24/11/2012 19:18:41