The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)
Sutherland beats illness to see off tricky Lithuanian opponent for ninth successive victory
Aberdeen welterweight Dean Sutherland has revealed he struggled with illness in the build-up to extending his winning record.
The 21-year-old defeated Lithuanian Edvinas Puplauskas 59-55 at the Hilton Treetops Hotel to make it nine wins from nine.
However “Deadly” Sutherland’s preparation was derailed by a cold which he admits hit him in the final rounds of the fight.
He said: “I had been battling a cold all week.
“I only really felt that in the fifth and sixth rounds as my movement and legs weren’t the same as the opening four.
“When you say you have a cold people will think you are moaning about man flu.
“However it affects people normally so just imagine how it affects someone trying to perform at their very peak level.
“For the first four rounds I could go on that natural fitness.
“However as soon as I started to go into those reserves and that extra level to step up I just didn’t have it.
“The first four rounds were fast-paced and there was a lot of movement which maybe took it out of my legs a bit quicker.”
A former world kickboxing champion at multiple weights, Sutherland secured his first title in boxing when he won the Boxing Union of Ireland Celtic welterweight title in May.
And Sutherland returned to the venue where he claimed that debut belt.
He faced a tricky opponent in Puplauskas who, despite losing 27 times and winning only six, has previously gone the distance with reigning British and Commonwealth champion Chris Jenkins.
Sutherland said: “Overall it was a good performance over six rounds against someone who was really tough.
“I got to try different things and I will go back into the gym to continue to work towards bigger and better things.
“You can see why he has only been stopped once.
“I thought I had him in the third or fourth round as I was hammering him.
“I just needed an extra 30 seconds in each round to get him.
“However fair play to him as he was tough and durable.”
Sutherland (10st 11lb) landed clean shots in the early rounds and a left over the top rocked the Lithuanian in the third.
He caught him with a fast left-right in the next round and was grinding down his opponent.
In the fifth round a left jab breached Puplauskas’ increasingly porous defence but he could not find the knockout punch.
The Lithuanian rallied late on to edge the sixth round as the illness began to take its affect.
Sutherland, who plans to box again as early as January, said: “The crowd was absolutely fantastic and it was great to get a win in front of them.”
● Lee McGregor insists he is happy to do it all over again with Kash Farooq after his controversial unification triumph in Glasgow.
The Commonwealth bantamweight champion from Edinburgh claimed a split decision win over his Glasgow rival to rip away Farooq’s British crown.
But it was a verdict that stunned the home fighter’s faithful among the 1,800-strong crowd at the Emirates Arena who thought their man had clearly won.
The result is certain to spark demands for a rematch and McGregor says he is open to it.
“I’m open to anything. “Whatever my management say, I’m ready for it. But I’ve made it clear I’m fearless and will fight anybody,” the 22-year-old said.
“That fight was an absolute barn-burner so I think we might see it again.”
Farooq’s camp could barely hide their disbelief as the judges’ scores of 114-113, 113-114, 115-112 were read out.
Ian McLeod – one of the 23-year-old’s management team – lashed out at the verdict, saying: “Kash performed the fight of his life but was then robbed.
“There’s no point beating about the bush here, that’s a robbery in anyone’s language.
“He was all around the better fighter. Lee McGregor fought a great fight but he got beat by the better fighter tonight – the only thing was that the powers that be saw it a different way.
“The watching public saw it all and you can’t kid the public.”