Debut winner Isaac’s on Macleod nine!

Isaac Macleod is pronounced winner against Gyorgy Varga.
Isaac Macleod is pronounced winner against Gyorgy Varga.
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IF only Sunderland had someone who could finish like Isaac Macleod!

While the Black Cats were playing out another draw, a young man in red and white was hitting the target in Sheffield.

Macleod made a sensational professional debut on Saturday, stopping Gyorgy Varga late in round three of their welterweight clash scheduled for four rounds.

Manager Francis Warren was beaming and rightly so. So, too, were the noisy band of supporters who turned the Hillsborough Leisure Centre into a little corner of Wearside.

“I was quite nervous before the fight,” Macleod told the Echo.

“I had high standards as a top amateur and I have set big goals as a pro.

“But I was pleased with my debut, I was eager to perform well, and I hope that was the start of what will be a good career.”

Macleod was as good a junior as you could find, the evidence being European gold, World silver, five English titles and three British championships.

Professional boxing is a different ball game, but the 20-year-old’s first steps – and punches – were highly impressive.

He has one of the top organisations running his affairs, Queensberry Promotions, and one of the country’s brightest trainers, Anthony Farnell.

And Macleod has the talent as he showed on Saturday.

The thrilling boxer began brightly, catching Varga with a left hook with the very first punch of the contest.

After that, the ex-Sunderland ABC star took his time though he ended the session in style with three head shots.

Macleod continued to force the Hungarian back in round two and Varga, feeling the power was forced to hold on.

Round three followed a similar pattern, with Macleod landing his left on a regular basis.

The Wearsider was a little over-reliant on his left, but that is being hyper-critical because his debut was not far short of being perfect.

But that fist was doing its job and a left to the body was followed by a left to the head, forcing Varga to cling on for dear life.

The end was not far away and it came in a devastating show of skill and power, a left-right-left combination flooring the Hungarian.

The opening two punches were on the mark and the third, right on Varga’s unguarded head, was a peach.

Referee Howard Foster called a halt without even starting a count, the time two minutes and 46 seconds.

The crowd which, fittingly, included his old Sunderland ABC trainer Joe Purvis and the daddy of Wearside pro boxing, Tommy Conroy, lapped it up.

“I’d like to thank my fans, they are always great,” said Macleod who is likely to be out next in the early spring. “A lot came down which I’m grateful for and I know there were people back home tuning in on BoxNation.

“I just want to thank everyone.”

Macleod is based in Manchester, a bold move for a young man, thanks to sponsors Brian Scotter Roofing, The Park restaurant and By right.

But he remains a committed Sunderland boy and donned the red and white shorts.

“I am proud to be from Sunderland and loyal to the colours,” he said. “I’d like to thank the sponsors for putting the money in so I can be based in Manchester.

“Arnie (Farnell) is a great coach and it’s a fantastic gym and team to work and learn in.”