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McDermott wastes no time in landing English heavyweight crown

PUBLISHED: 14:29 25 April 2008 | UPDATED: 15:00 07 September 2010

John McDermott lived up to his massive reputation when he stopped knock-out specialist Pele Reid in the second round at York Hall on Friday to become English heavyweight champion. McDermott, a former St Pancras amateur star, was in a confident mood in th

John McDermott lived up to his massive reputation when he stopped knock-out specialist Pele Reid in the second round at York Hall on Friday to become English heavyweight champion.

McDermott, a former St Pancras amateur star, was in a confident mood in the lead-up to Friday's contest but knew he had to be at his best to overcome Birmingham-based Reid, whose 19 wins incorporated 17 stoppages.

Furthermore, Reid was unbeaten since his May 2002 loss to Michael Sprott, when fighting for the WBF European belt. But McDermott, 27, heeded the advice of his respected trainer Johnny Branch and quickly outwitted his opponent.

"I knew he was a big puncher and my biggest aim was just to get through the first round," McDermott exclusively told Ham &High Sports.

"I said to myself that whatever happens I must get through the first round, and just to keep my eyes open and look out for the big shot.

"I wasn't worried about winning the first round, I just wanted to get through it. But I caught him with a jab in the first round and I saw his eyes roll back and I thought, he's really chinny.

"He can really whack and in the second round he caught me and even though I blocked it I could really feel it.

"So I just thought keep away, keep away and I hit him with a jab and I saw his eyes roll back," said McDermott of his knock-out.

"And then I hit him with an uppercut and I saw him wobble and I thought there's no way in the world I'm letting you off the hook. I'd rather die first.

"I'm so pleased I've won my first title," he added.

"I think it was the best performance of my career. I've caught people with better shots and I've thrown better right hands, but overall that win was a great thing for me."

And manager Branch, who has been instrumental in McDermott bagging his first professional belt, has high hopes for the future.

"I was very confident with him tonight," said Branch. "The other boy [Reid] is a very strong boy, very strong, but he couldn't stand John's punching.

"People don't realise how hard John punches. I reckon he will be the British champion in the near future."

Branch added that his charge intends to defend his English title before seeking the British title.

"I would love John to fight [British champion] Danny Williams.

"Danny's a great fighter, but I think John would beat him."

Another Camden fighter to taste success on the Frank Maloney-promoted card was Kentish Town-based Laura Saperstein.

She continued her unbeaten run when she out-pointed Kristine Shergold. Friday's win was 31- year-old Saperstein's third victory following an undefeated amateur career.

editorial@hamhigh.co.uk

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