BLACKPOOL cruiserweight Matty Askin won his first professional title with a sensational stoppage victory, earning a ringing endorsement from his raucous fans and former world champion Ricky Hatton.
Askin stopped Rotherham’s Neil Dawson in the sixth round of his Central Area Championship bout, earning high praise from Hatton who promoted the show at Robin Park in Wigan.
Hatton said: “It’s a great win for Matty and the first belt around his waist. I think it will be the first of many.
“That first belt gives you the confidence to move on to bigger and better things. It was the best fight of his career and a good learning fight.
“He was facing an unbeaten fighter and a live opponent, who caused him a few problems. Those are the best fights because you learn from them.
“Matty is very talented and getting even better. The only thing I would say is that he went into the trenches a little bit and sometimes wanted to get into a bit of tear-up, which sounds rich coming from me!
“He is a certain British champion in the making and I would put my house on that, but he is still learning and is a work in progress. We will keep him at the level he is and later we will decide as a team whether to move him on up.”
South Shore-based Askin had to dig deep to take the title and maintain his 100 per cent record
Dawson was an excellent opponent and was probably ahead by the end of the fourth round.
But the turning point was the fifth, which proved a big session for Askin who caught his rival with a couple of vicious rights and started to dominate.
There were only 12 seconds of the sixth round remaining when Askin moved in for the finish.
He rocked Dawson with a terrific left-right combination. The massive impact stiffened Dawson’s legs and a glazed expression visited his eyes.
Referee Michael Alexander moved in swiftly once he saw that Dawson was in deep strife and he waved the fight off.
It left Askin and his family and fans jubilant.
Askin said: “It is a surreal feeling. I had to work really hard for that. It showed that I was fit to go the full ten rounds if needed.
“But I didn’t expect him to beat me up as much as he did, and I tried to force the fight too much.
“It was only a matter of time before it (my power) was going to tell, and I could hear him wince when he took my body shots.”
Askin reckoned he could have been down by three rounds to one at the end of the fourth, but ended all arguments with that clinical finish.
“I started to land the left hooks and the body shots, and in the sixth I thought I would have to make him miss and step into him.
“It was fair to stop the fight then. I don’t think he would have had enough to come out for the next round.”
n KIRKHAM welterweight Adam Little made a winning debut on the Wigan bill, stopping Tamworth’s Matt Seawright on a cut eye at the end of the second.
As pro debuts go, this was not taxing for Little as Seawright’s record showed 44 losses out of 49 fights.
Displaying no sign of first night nerves, Little exuded confidence and a fierce right had Seawright down for a count of eight at the end of the second.
Seawright may have been ‘saved’ by the bell but did not energe for the third as he had sustained a nasty gash over the left eye.
Little said afterwards: “It could not have got any better. I was enjoying it and I’d have liked it to have gone on, and maybe stopped him in the fourth just to get the experience.
“I had a lot of amateur fights and was nervous before every one, but for this one I was calm.
“I have been waiting for this moment for a long time. I want to keep busy and keep on performing.”
n AT the top of the bill, Denton Vassell retained his Commonwealth welterweight title with an unanimous points verdict over Namibia’s Bethuel Ushona.
The Mancunian’s relentless workrate was enough to impress the three judges in his first defence of the title he won nearly a year ago.