JONSON McClumpha spoke of his pride in Wearside after winning his first professional title in front of home fans, writes GRAEME ANDERSON.
The 23-year-old from Hastings Hill extended his unbeaten record to eight fights in beating Doncaster’s Jason Ball over 10 rounds in the headline bout of Summer Rumble 4 at the Stadium of Light yesterday.
More important, though, was the International Masters middleweight title which came with the victory and the support he received from fans.
“I want to thank everyone who turned up to back me,” he told the Echo. “It was incredible the roar that they gave me at the start of the fight.
“I was feeling confident anyway, but it was fantastic to know that everyone was willing me on and you couldn’t have asked for a better atmosphere to fight in.”
McClumpha and Bell have met in the ring before with the Sunderland man claiming a points win over four rounds in 2011.
But the Yorkshireman’s tactics were to test McClumpha over 10 rounds and the Wearsider had to be wary of the strategy.
“As much as anything else, I’m as pleased that I got through the 10 rounds as comfortably as I did,” he added.
“I hadn’t fought over 10 rounds before and I hadn’t fought at all since October, so going the distance was a bit of an achievement for me.
“I’d trained long enough to be able to get through 10 rounds no problem, but I just had to be a bit clever and make sure I didn’t tire myself out too quickly.
“I think he wanted to come at me late on, but I was still feeling strong and I could tell my punches were hurting him whenever he tried to come forward so it was difficult for him to come at me when he kept having to take punishment.”
Now McClumpha plans to press on quickly with plans for his next fight, although he admits he will savour the moment of yesterday’s landmark victory.
“I’m going to enjoy it for a few days,” he smiled.
“It might not be the most prestigious belt around, but it means the world to me and to have got a title is an achievement that no-one can ever take away from you.
“After that, we’ll just see what happens, but I’m keen to box again soon and once you have a belt I think it’s just a fact of life that it makes it easier for you to get bigger fights in the future.”