Black Country hot-shot Ryan Aston booked his place on boxing’s night of the year with victory on his pro debut.
Dudley’s Aston won every session of his four-round fight with Iain Jackson in Sheffield on Saturday night.
The 20-year-old middleweight now heads to Hamburg to box on the undercard of David Haye’s heavyweight collision with Wladimir Klitschko on Saturday night.
A former top amateur with Priory Park ABC, Aston has joined the ‘Hayemaker’ stable and trained alongside the WBA heavyweight champion in the countdown to his paid debut.
Glenn McCrory, the former IBF world cruiserweight champion, was impressed with Aston’s debut showing.
McCrory, commentating for Sky Sports, said Aston “looks the part, has fast hands and definitely has potential.”
The well-schooled southpaw had too much skill for Jackson, a personal trainer from Brighton having his fifth professional fight.
Referee Marcus McDonnell scored the fight 40-36 and Sky Sports punch stats showed Aston out punched Jackson 59-11.
Aston went into the fight knowing he had to avoid an injury to secure his plane ticket to Germany – and said: “That wasn’t at the back of my mind, it was at the front of my mind!
“I was given the chance to box on the same bill as the fight of the decade and was determined not to blow it.
“I knew I couldn’t afford to get cut or bruised and maybe that’s why I felt a bit sluggish in there.
“I should have stuck to my boxing, but I was trying to please the crowd.”
From ringside, it looked like Aston, who took plenty of noisy support with him from the Black Country, turned in a polished performance.
‘Tank’ showed good footwork, fast hands and moved through the gears as the fight went on.
Aston was unhurried in the opener and from the midway point of the second, started to find his range and timing.
Jackson, brave but with limited skills, did make the occasional rushing attack, but Aston was too smart on his feet.
The debutant made Jackson miss and, in the third round, Aston’s punches bloodied his nose and blasted out his gum shield.
Aston used the ring well in the last round, picking Jackson off with jabs and again making him miss to complete a shut out points win.
But there was defeat for Aston’s Chris Truman on the bill at Hillsborough Leisure Centre.
The lightweight was matched with Lee Jennings from Liverpool in a clash of prospects and, from the opening bell, both let their hands go as they went looking for an early finish to the scheduled six-rounder.
Truman was matching Jennings punch for punch until a right hand dropped him. He beat the referee’s count, but was stopped in the opening round.
By Matt Bozeat