Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Absolute Belter from Leather

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Absolute Belter from Leather

Article excerpt

Byline: ADAM STEEL adam.steel@trinitymirror.com @ADAMSTEELGAZ

JOSH Leather has taken aim at the biggest names in British boxing's red-hot super lightweight division after winning the IBF intercontinental title with a thrilling sixth round finish of Phil Sutcliffe Jr.

The Guisborough boxer passed his biggest career test with flying colours at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, coming through adversity to stop the heavy-handed Irishman at the halfway point of a brilliant 12-round battle.

The 25-year-old's display cappes sd a huge night for Teesside boxing in front of the television cameras, with his twin brother Kalam picking up his second professional win and their team-mate Joe Maphosa enjoying a successful pro debut on the same Frank Warren card.

Leather said: "I want to be mixing with names and I think my performance showed that I'm right up there with them.

"I'm not calling anyone out but there's Tyrone Nurse (British champion) out there, Jack Catterall, Ohara Davies.

"They're all out there and those are the names I want to be in with."

There was a touch of controversy about the ending, with Howard Foster's decision to stop a well-matched contest which had seen both fighters enjoy big moments and survive difficult spots called into question with Sutcliffe visibly hurt but still firing back.

But Leather thought the Doncaster official - whose decision to pull George Groves out of his first fight against Carl Froch when Groves was ahead on the scorecards - made the right call.

"Phil obviously thinks otherwise but I had him hurt and he was hanging on - I thought I had him before that and he was gone when the referee jumped in," he said. "I thought it was a fair stoppage."

Leather had to cover up and take some heavy hits early in the fight as Sutcliffe put him under pressure from the off in the first round.

But his speed and boxing skills quickly became a factor as he predicted they would in the build-up and he won the following three rounds before Sutcliffe regained a foothold in the fifth.

Leather admitted he felt the force of Sutcliffe's power, but said his reflexes were decisive and sparring with his elder twin had prepared him for the Dubliner's best digs. …

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