Isaac Macleod hopes his televised victory over Danny Craven will prove a launchpad to rocket towards championship contention.
The Sunderland boxer showed his class and resilience to win a classic welterweight showdown between the two up-and-coming unbeaten prospects in Liverpool on Saturday night.
Macleod made it nine wins in a row, having overcome an early cut to his right eye and a cracked rib mid-fight from a tough opponent.
Macleod edged it 58-57 on the scorecard of referee, John Latham. His victory not only protected his 100% record but was achieved in front of a national TV audience on the undercard of Callum Smith’s World Super Series super-middleweight championship victory over Sweden’s Erik Scogland.
“I got a bad cut eye and broke my rib in the third but dug deep,” said the 22-year-old.
“Hopefully this will get me in a good spot for the English title.
“I know I’m the best welterweight in country, I just need to keep proving it.”
Macleod had the better of the first three rounds and produced some tremendous work in the fourth.
He suffered a cut to his right eye in the second but super work in the red corner from Liverpool coach, George Schofield, ensured it never caused him a problem.
The fifth was fought hammer and tongs, Macleod starting with some great punches to the head with Craven replying in kind to the body.
It was desperately hard to score as the boxers leaned against each other letting both hands go.
Craven made a good start in the last round and while Macleod briefly forced him back, the fighter chasing his fourth straight win had the better of the exchanges.
The ex-Sunderland ABC ace looked exhausted at the final bell, an indicator of the ferocity of a contest, and the problems with his rib.
Craven’s corner were confident of getting the decision, but Mr Latham was the sole judge and he scored it to Macleod by one point.
Macleod added: “I’d like to thank all my coaches at Birtley Boxing, my sponsor Premier Nutrition and my family and friends who came down and showed their love and support,” he said.