15/04/2024

L to R: Beck Hawker, Abdoul Mayweather and Floyd Masson all showcased their talents at ACE Boxing's 'Know Thyself' - Photos: ACE Boxing and Combat Analytics/Facebook

ACE Boxing's 'Know Thyself' event on Friday night proved to be a showcase of some of Australia's brightest shinning prospects.

Eatons Hill hotel, colloquially known as ‘The House of Stoush,’ proved again to be a showcase site for Australia’s surging fighters, hosting ACE Boxing’s ‘Know Thyself’ card on Friday night.

An event that could have simply been dubbed ‘The Next Generation,’ a number of talented prospects were put through their paces against tough and tested foes. Coupled with this, a number of ANBF titles were up for grabs, thus impacting the future make up of the local boxing scene.

As such, there is plenty to dissect, with a number of major talking points emerging from the event’s fallout.

Masson ready to test World rankings

Fresh off the 2021 ANBF fight of the year, Floyd Masson (12-0, 7 KOs) continued his Cruiserweight rise with a unanimous decision win (80-72, 80-71 x 2) over India’s Vikas Singh (11-2-1, 6 KOs).

In an all-round dominant performance, Masson demonstrated strong ring command and trademark body punching. The gruelling eight rounds were as much a showcase of the southpaw’s class as they were Singh’s toughness.

Despite landing shots that might have made a lesser man crumble, the Queenslander did not lose his head. Instead, he remained composed, moving freely and throwing swift combinations. Eventually, Singh would fall in the final round, but managed to survive the onslaught until the final bell.

In victory, Masson keeps his undefeated record in tact and moves closer to the division’s elite.

Now boasting wins over an international opponent and two-time World title challenger, Mark ‘Bam Bam’ Flanagan (25-9, 18 KOs), it is clear that the reigning Australian champion is ready for a showing against a World ranked fighter.

Cruiserweight depth goes from strength to strength

The performance of Masson is not just indicative of his career trajectory, but is also a nod to the state of the Cruiserweight division in Australia. Lower weight classes might hold greater star power ‘down under,’ but the underrated amount of depth at Cruiserweight can no longer be ignored.

The brigade is led by Jai Opetaia (21-0, 17 KOs), who will challenge for Mairis Briedis’ IBF World title on the Gold Coast in May. Also part of the charge is 2016 Olympian Jason Whateley (9-0, 8 KOs) who, in less than 10 professional fights, has already captured multiple regional titles.

Still fighting at a high level, veterans such as Kane Watts (21-4, 13 KOs), Ben Kelleher (15-3-2, 4 KOs) and the aforementioned Flanagan, can still cause their fair share of headaches for anyone writing them off.

Masson is as much a player in this boom as his peers.

Rare doctor interjection a just decision

With the aggression displayed in the meeting between Nicila Costello (3-1, 1 KO) and Natalie Hills (1-1-1), it is no shock that the bout ended inside the distance. What did come as a surprise though, was the manner in which the Australian Flyweight title fight was halted.

Appropriately wearing red gloves, Hills acted the matador in the contest, to a raging bull in Costello, who charged forward behind a power right hand.

Fighting on the back foot, Hills landed several scoring shots in the first. If the eye test is anything to go by, it is clear that the first round was hers.

While the dam wall appeared resolute, the sheer volume of hard punches from Costello ultimately broke through. With Hills now reeling, ‘The Menace’ pounced, scoring a knockdown soon after. When action resumed, more punishment followed from blows that could have resulted in referee intervention.

With neither a standing eight count or stoppage in sight though, it was the ringside doctor that called a halt to the action.

Despite protests from the Hill’s corner, the decision to end the bout was more than warranted.

It is true that an argument can be made that the fight ended prematurely, but the damage sustained by the Gold Coast native cannot be ignored. Moreover, it seemed that Hills no longer had an ability to defend herself from the punches coming her way.

Although we as a boxing public favour giving a boxer every chance to fight, a doctor’s interjection in such situations should be embraced.

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Eastside boxing’s goldmine continues to prosper

One of the breakout teams in 2021, Frank Pianto’s Eastside Boxing Gym proved that last year’s success was more than just a flash in the pan. Alongside Floyd Masson’s main event triumph, teammates Beck Hawker (5-0, 2 KOs) and Abdoul Mayweather (6-0, 4 KOs) also had strong outings.

After recently breaking into the WBA and IBF Featherweight rankings, Hawker proved her versatility with a unanimous decision win (80-72 x 3) over her first international opponent, Geeta Solanki (3-1, 1 KO).

Known as an aggressive fighter who finds comfort on the front foot, the 30 year old instead mixed in a stiff jab and distance punching to carve out the victory.

Meanwhile, Mayweather continued the impressive start to his career with an emphatic second round TKO of Fiji’s Tomu Gaunavou (5-3, 2 KOs). The victory also added the Australasian Super Middleweight title to his growing trophy cabinet.

Imposing his will from the outset, the surging prospect stalked his opponent, pressing him against the ropes and controlling the ring. With Gaunavou trapped in a neutral corner late in the second, Mayweather unloaded on two left body rips that ended the fight.

In all, the pair of solid performances is a testament to the work put in by both athlete and coach, in a gym that is on the rise.

Watson makes big leap forward

Since making his debut in 2019, Nathan Watson (7-0, 2 KOs) has shown a game built on a solid boxing acumen and fundamental skills. Across his first six fights, the Irish-Australian barely dropped a round and wore little damage.

However, it is also important to note that these fights came against opponents with a combined four wins. In fact, Watson’s Friday night outing was his first time entering the ring against a boxer with a winning record.

Tasked with his toughest challenge to date, Indian southpaw Sachin Nautiyal (6-2, 5 KOs), Watson was forced to deal with early adversity. The visiting fighter worked hard in the early stages of the bout, peppering Watson to the body across the opening two rounds.

Yet the Brisbane native remained resolute. Waiting for the opening to present itself, Watson changed the momentum of the bout with a heavy flurry late in the third. The combination proved so swift that the damaged caused to Nautiyal was enough to end the contest between rounds.

Having proved an ability to bite down and battle through hardship, Watson showed that he is a prospect worth paying attention to in the talent laden Super Welterweight division.

For all the results from ACE Boxing’s ‘Know Thyself’ event, click here.

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