Barnsley's Matthew 'Buster' Mallin is the new International Masters middleweight champion after an impressive fourth round TKO victory over Bradford's Jack 'Suddy' Sunderland at the Barnsley Metrodome last night, and the newly-crowned champion and his trainer Mick Wale didn't take any time in calling out current Central Area light-middleweight boss Jason Ball.
"I'd love to fight him for that belt in front of my fans. I'm over the moon with this belt and I want the Central Area belt next," beamed the new champion. His trainer Mick Wale also seems keen to get the Doncaster-based champion over to Barnsley for the dust-up. "We want Ball here but I am not sure if (his trainer) Steffy (Bull) will accept the challenge," added Mick.
With ex-World Darts champion Dennis Priestley watching on closely, Mallin (11st 2lb 6oz) started the fight well and he soon settled behind his jab, and it wasn't long before he connected with a flashy left hook which made Sunderland (11st 4lbs) wobble. The home favourite was strolling thanks to his box-and-move style, and Sunderland looked a forlorn figure as he returned to his corner at the end of the opener. After some words of wisdom from his trainer Mick Marsden, Suddy opened the second with a left hook but Mallin regained the ascendancy soon after. The punch of the round was a nasty looking right uppercut which again visibly took some of the stuffing out of Sunderland.
Suddy hit the deck before the end of the round after Mallin backed him up onto the ropes and landed with a big right hand, and after another glancing right, forcing him to took a knee. Suddy comfortably beat referee Alexander's count, but it was clear that this fight was slipping away from him, as he didn't have any answers to Mallin's variety, speed and foot movement.
Mallin's jabs were now getting through with regularity in the third and he soon had Suddy cut under the right eye. The cut gave Mallin even more confidence and he started targeting it, and he didn't seem to be able to miss it. By the end of the session, Suddy's cut had worsened and it was affecting his vision. Mallin (7-0) completely controlled the fourth, and Suddy's cut worsened, and predictably referee Michael Alexander called the fight off just before the start of the fifth, to save Suddy's (5-2) eye from further punishment.
Unbeaten stylist Mallin has always had the skills and the ability, but he has sometimes lacked commitment, and he has been known to fall asleep during fights, meaning he has sometimes made certain fights harder than they should have been. It has also been said in the past that his flashy punches lack zest, but this isn't the case now as he appears to have added real power to his arsenal. The 'day before' weigh-in obviously helped the likeable 21 year-old, and if he keeps on improving like he has done in the last six months, then he should have a decent future. The fight itself was dubbed a 50/50 fight, and that is how most ringside observers saw it before the first bell.
Both fighters were young and hungry, with winning records, and both lacked experience over long distances and both didn't have high knock-out ratios, and both fighters were well supported on the night, so hats off to promoter Carl Greaves for getting this fight on. It is also refreshing that both fighters took the fight, instead of looking to fight journeymen to pad their records. It just wasn't Sunderland's night, and the eye cut didn't help him but Mallin was just at the top of his game, and he wasn't going to be denied.
On the undercard, Grimsby's lightweight prospect Kevin Hooper (10st 3lb 2oz) enjoyed surely the easiest night's work of his boxing career so far with a one-sided stoppage win over Scotland's Mark Bett (10st 11lb) despite giving away about seven lbs in weight. Current International and British Masters lightweight boss Hooper had things all his own way as Bett offered very little in return. It was clear for all to see that Bett (5-16-5) didn't fancy it, and it wasn't a surprise that his corner pulled him out before the third, due a "hand injury". "How can you injure your hand if you haven't thrown anything?" said one half-cut observer. The unbeaten Hooper is now 12-0 and his next fight will hopefully be against Central Area lightweight champion, and fellow unbeaten hope Tommy Boom Boom Coyle. Hull versus Grimsby? Why not.
Leeds-based super-flyweight hope Terry Broadbent was awarded a 40-36 shut-out win over Glasgow's Ryan McNicol in their fairly uninspiring four-three's encounter. Broadbent (8st 8lb 6oz), back in the ring for the first time since unsuccessfully competing in Prizefighter last October, where he lost to eventual winner Lee Haskins in the quarters, was the busier man throughout, despite getting caught with some of the his opponent's (9st 7lb 2oz) big booming left hooks, won it at a canter. Southpaw McNicol (3-18-3) wasn't busy enough to make the most of his weight advantage but he was unfortunate not get at least get a share of the first round. Broadbent advances to 4-1, and two of those victories have been over McNicol. I wonder if their first fight was better than their second one.