Newly crowned WBC International Silver champion Dean Sutherland believes his title fight should have been stopped earlier.
Referee Victor Loughlin stopped Sutherland’s brutal WBC title clash with Italian Michele Esposito in the eighth round at the Aberdeen Beach Ballroom.
Undefeated Sutherland, 23, had landed a series of unanswered shots.
With Esposito struggling on the ropes Loughlin stepped between the boxers to halt the title bout one minute 57 seconds into the round.
It was the first team Esposito, 35, has been stopped in his nine-year professional career spanning 24 fights.
Esposito complained that the stoppage was premature but Sutherland reckons it could have been called even earlier.
He said: “Esposito was very game and I think his fitness was the only thing that got him through that fight.
“I rocked him five or six times and his legs went. He was also saved by the bell twice.
“It was the right decision to get him out.
“He was complaining a bit about the stoppage but in speaking to the referee he said there were eight or nine unanswered shots and his legs started going.
“He wasn’t throwing anything back so it was the right call.
“I thought it could have been stopped earlier.”
Two boxers go toe to toe in title bid
In defeating Esposito (18,4.1) in impressive style Sutherland extended his flawless professional record to 12 wins from 12 contests – four inside the distance.
One of the hottest rising talents in Scottish boxing Sutherland secured a second successive title having won the WBO Youth welterweight title in July.
Sutherland stopped Jose Antonio Delgado Velazquez in the seventh round in Hamilton this summer to claim the WBO Youth title.
In a fight in front of a passionate home support and broadcast live on Fightzone Esposito, as predicted pre-fight by Sutherland, went on the front-foot from the off.
The Italian threw, but didn’t land, combinations early in the opening round and his momentum pushed Sutherland onto the ropes.
Aberdonian Sutherland brilliantly shimmied and ducked to slide inside the Italian and switch him onto the ropes.
It was an early declaration of Sutherland’s speed and movement.
In an explosive fight both boxers went toe to toe with Sutherland’s uppercuts inside connecting and causing the Italian major problems throughout.
In the fourth Sutherland had Esposito on the ropes and punctured his high guard with punishing uppercuts.
There was no let up in the action with Sutherland and Esposito trading blows through the rounds.
Sutherland was becoming the increasingly busier with sharp combinations and counters as he ground down a resilient Esposito with a relentless barrage of shots.
In the eight round Sutherland forced the former Italian welterweight champion onto the ropes and unleashed eight unanswered punches.
Referee Loughlin stepped in to stop the fight.
Sutherland’s shots took a toll
It sparked jubilant scenes with the vocal crowd as Sutherland added a third professional title having previously secured the WBO Youth world title and BUI Celtic belt.
Sutherland said: “The third time I rocked him, it must have been the fifth or sixth round, he still kept going.
“I thought I was just going to have to keep grinding him down.
“I stopped bouncing about as much and planted my feet and I knew then that the shots were taking their toll, especially to the body.
“I thought it was going to be the next round I was going to get him out but I was happy to get it in the eighth.”