Undefeated Aberdeen welterweight Dean Sutherland today targeted a Scottish title shot before the end of the year.
Sutherland secured his debut professional title when defeating Ireland’s Keane McMahon for the vacant BUI Celtic welterweight belt.
Boasting a flawless record of seven wins from seven contests, Sutherland is hungry for more success in his breakthrough year.
He has worked with Scottish boxing legend Gary Jacobs and is determined to follow in the The Kid’s footsteps.
Jacobs won the Scottish welterweight title on the way to claiming British and European belts and also a world title shot.
Sutherland, 20, said: “Getting that first title is something I wanted to get out of the way but the next goal is a Scottish title by the end of the year. That is what I am aiming for.
“Whoever is holding the Scottish title towards the end of the year, that is what I want.
“He will be the number one name on my hit list.
“I will take a little bit of time off in the summer and go on holiday, relax for a wee bit then have a warm-up fight.
“Then there will hopefully be a Scottish title shot before the end of the year.”
Jacobs was at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Aberdeen Treetops as Sutherland defeated McMahon 78-74 in a mesmerising contest.
Glasgow’s Stewart Burt is the Scottish welterweight champion, having defeated Ally Black on points over 10 rounds in December last year.
Burt boasts a pro record of 12 wins, one loss and one draw and will fight undefeated Martin Harkin (9-0) for the vacant BBBofC Celtic welterweight title on May 31.
Sutherland is ready to travel to secure his dream of a national title.
He said: “A Scottish title fight would probably not happen in Aberdeen because of who holds that title.
“If it means going to travel I know I will bring a big, strong team from Aberdeen, especially after that performance at the weekend.
“I think the Aberdeen crowd will love to travel and we are only going to build on this momentum.”
Southpaw Sutherland made his professional boxing debut last year, having switched from kickboxing.
He quit kickboxing at the top, as a multiweight world champion and one of the most respected pugilists in the sport.
Sutherland has quickly gained respect in boxing by taking hard fights.
Opponent McMahon boasted an identical record to Sutherland prior to the Celtic title showdown: six wins from six.
McMahon arrived in Aberdeen with a strong reputation and underlined that with an impressive, brave performance.
Sutherland said: “People are starting to take notice of me after beating someone like McMahon, who had a winning record – especially after taking such a risky fight so early on in my career against someone who is 6-0.
“In McMahon I faced someone who had a longer amateur career than me.
“He is talked about over in Ireland and is a very good fighter.
“It shows I have something about me and I am willing to take that hard fight that a lot of fighters would avoid so early in their career.”
Sutherland and McMahon served up a classic that will live long in the memory of those fortunate to witness it.
Both fighters gave absolutely everything in the ring as two undefeated boxers put everything on the line.
Both landed quick, accurate and damaging combinations only for their opponent to immediately reply with the same.
The only negative was that one of them had to lose their 100% record.
It is a credit to both fighters that, amid the intensity of the all-action bout, referee Kenny Pringle never once had to say “break” during the eight rounds.
A war of words had broken out prior to the title fight with McMahon warning he was going to “bully” and “hurt” Sutherland.
The Aberdonian responded by claiming the time for “loudmouths to prove themselves” is in the ring.
By the final bell a mutual respect had long been forged.
That was underlined in the aftermath when both fighters were full of praise for their opponent.
Sutherland said: “He said a few things before the fight but that faded straight away.
“He said to me right at the start he had respect for me.
“We shook hands and we will probably be mates.
“It is just part of the game and I hope he has a good future in his career.
“It is one of the weirdest sports, as you go into the ring and knock hell out of each other, but you earn each other’s respect right there and then and you could be best mates after it.”
Sutherland added: “McMahon’s game plan was to try to come forward and full respect to him.
“He took some good shots and landed some good shots. It was a very entertaining fight and I absolutely loved it, especially on home turf. As it was one in Aberdeen, this title means a little bit more to me (than the kickboxing ones).”
Sutherland topped a bill where Northern Sporting Club’s Billy Stuart, 21, claimed the vacant BUI Celtic super-bantamweight title with a 77-75 points victory over Dylan McDonagh. Stuart’s younger brother, Callum, 19, defeated Casey Blair 40-36 on his debut.