BLACKPOOL cruiserweight Matty Askin could fight for the English title in his home town in the spring, after stopping Hungarian Attila Palko in Bolton to register his 13th straight professional win.
The match with Jon-Lewis Dickinson has already been sanctioned by the British Boxing Board Of Control and will also be an official eliminator for the Lonsdale Belt.
The likely date is April 21, and although the Aintree Equestrian Centre has been mooted as a venue, promoter Ricky Hatton is keen for the Dickinson showdown to be in Blackpool.
Hatton said: “Matty is a man in a hurry. He is improving all the time,
“Every fight is a shop window. You can see the desire and the level he wants to be at.
“He is inches away from that Lonsdale Belt. If he wins the eliminator, I would like to make the British title fight for him around September. It would be nice to think he would go into Christmas with a Lonsdale Belt and I think he will.
“He has every punch in the book and you can see the confidence oozing out of him.
“Cruiserweight has always been one of the weaker divisions, but the idea that it is boring will be a thing of the past with Matty around.
“I would like to build up his fanbase in Blackpool, as I did fighting in my own town, now we are ready to let him off the leash.”
Askin maintained his 100 per cent record, stopping Palko after 1min, 59secs of round two.
Askin was impressive from the outset, forcing the Hungarian to hold on three times in the first minute.
He won the first easily, twice catching his opponent with lashing, hurtful body-shots.
Though tagged by a hard left in the second, it was at this point that Askin went for the jugular. He rocked Palko with a tremendous right uppercut, following up with one of less ferocity but the damage was done.
Preston star referee Phil Edwards stepped in to prevent Palko suffering further punishment. The Hungarian and his corner claimed it was premature but in truth they could have no qualms.
Askin said: “The things I have been working on with my trainer Bob Shannon showed a treat, and that right uppercut nearly took his head off. It shook him to the bone.
“The stoppage was about right – with big lads like us, someone could get seriously hurt. The body shots were hurting him every time. I really hurt him with one in the first round and I heard him wince. He grabbed hold of me and survived the round.
“I started to pick off my punches better in the second round and knew it was just a matter of time.
“I caught him with that uppercut and his legs went.”
Askin still saw some shortcomings, despite the emphatic win. He added: “I should have boxed a lot more, and not just tried to prove I have a good chin and am a lot stronger than I look, but I am happy with the performance.
“For a big puncher, my defences were good. It’s very rare for me to get hit, but if I do I can take it.
“He caught me with a left hook and it gave me a little lump, but I came straight back at him with a combination.
“I neglected my jab more than I wish I had. At the end of the first, Bob told me to calm down and pick the shots nicely. I did exactly what he said and took him out.”
Askin revealed that he had anything but a straightforward preparation, hurting a rib in training.
“It’s not an excuse but I wish we’d had more time. Two weeks before the fight, I bust my rib in sparring, so I have not been able to train intensely.
“I missed a full week, and last week I could only do steady stuff, so I was a bit worried and thinking whether I should pull out. In the second round he shouldered me and it was really tender. I will get ready for the next fight and be even stronger – win the English title and then the British.”
Askin’s preferred venue for the Dickinson fight is his home resort. “It would be good to get some big-time boxing back in Blackpool, and with Brian Rose and me it is looking good.”
Askin is confident of beating Dickinson to to take the English strap. “I just think I will be too fast and powerful for him.”
Trainer Shannon said: “I was a bit concerned when Matty hurt his rib in training but he came through well. He is learning all the time. He has tremendous ability and power.
“Now he is moving up a level – it’s only 12 weeks to the English title and I am going to use the time wisely.
“He has years and years of developing, but he is only going to get better. He is as good as anyone in the country (at cruiserweight). I cannot see anyone dealing with his power when he clips them, and I have been working hard on his accuracy.”
n SCOTT Quigg retained his British super-bantamweight title after getting off the canvas to stop Jamie Arthur on the top-of-the-bill at Bolton Arena.
The Bury prospect struggled to impress, though, finding himself on the floor after being caught by a left hook in the fourth.
To his credit, Quigg shook off the knockdown and a cut opened up near Arthur’s right eye in the seventh, then referee Mark Green stopped it early in the eighth.
Quigg, now 24-0, said: “He caught me square on with a flash knockdown. I got up and kept my composure. If he feels disappointed I’d gladly give him a rematch, otherwise we’ll see what options there are.”