Sakima “The Mauler” Mullings got the seventh staging of Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum Contender Boxing Series off on a successful note on opening night.
This was after carving a well-earned unanimous points decision over rock-tough Canadian bruiser Winston “The Punisher” Matthews before a massive and appreciative crowd at the Chinese Benevolent Association in Kingston on Wednesday night.
After a pulsating five rounds of heavy punching from both boxers, judges Keith Brown scored the bout 49-46, Lidell Irons 48-47 and Martin Dalida 49-46 to call it for Mullings. It was a decision that was greeted with tumultuous shouts of approval by the record attendance crowd on an opening night.
Matthews did not stay around for additional interviews following the mandatory interviews for the sponsors. This probably can be ascribed to his failing to get the decision of a fight he thought he might have won. But win or lose, he has everything to be proud of. For, despite his inexperience (three fights with one win and no loss) against the 21-19-1-0 Mullings, he managed to use his ruggedness and awkward stance to fend off many a Mullings attacks. And he himself nailed Mullings with a few good shots, especially to the face. These were attacks that the wily Mullings shrugged off as they were far too sporadic to cause the Team Jamaica number one to back up.
His coach, Jack Armour, in his post fight interview, said: “It was a great fight. It was lots of talent from both guys. I thought Sakima was shoe shining for the first two rounds, and I thought we won those two rounds quite easily and needed only to win one of the last three rounds and I thought that we accomplished that.”
Asked what he believed Matthews should have done to win the fight, Armour said: “Man I do not know what to say to you; I just thought he fought a great fight. I thought he stayed in the park as he needed to….I thought he traded with him. I thought he was able to outbox him staying on the outside and not get hit by him. I thought it was the crowd.”
Armour expressed the view that the judges were seemingly “influenced by the crowd”, as when Mullings threw a punch and it hit thin air the crowd reacted as though they really connected.
Mullings, for his part, was not disappointed with his winning result, but admitted: “I did not carry out my intended plans going into the fight. The plan going into the fight was to run over him (Matthews) like a DC cane truck. But my opponent proved to be durable, strong. I thought that I caught him with a few clean shots, but he is a durable, tough guy.”
Asked about his showboating, Mullings said: “My opponent was showboating, so I demonstrated to him that I can also showboat… Tonight I did not do too much boxing. I allowed my opponent to be the aggressor and then I would counterpunch. My opponent is a very strong guy and a heavy puncher, so I had to buckle down and be brave enough to stay the course,” Mullings said.