Featured image: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing.

Shabaz Masoud returned to the ring after 12 months out with a narrow split-decision victory over Jose Sanmartin in Newcastle last night.

The Rochdale super-bantamweight offered a sobering verdict alongside trainer Ben Davison and promoter Eddie Hearn post-fight after making his Matchroom Boxing debut in the North-East.

Masoud emerged victorious on two judge’s scorecards (96-94 and a wide 98-92) after ten rounds while the third scored for Colombia’s Sanmartin (94-96).

“I was nowhere near my best, honestly. I’m my own worst critic and I’ll tell you straight, that was not good enough,” Masoud told DAZN.

“I have had a year out of the ring, exactly a year to the day, which is a lot of time and I’ve obviously been through a rough year. I just wanna be back in the gym and do better than that.

“I got the win and he’s a good lad, I’ll give him his props, but at the same time I’m better than that.”

Hearn also offered an honest verdict, admitting he felt the Colombian may have done enough to escape with the win on the night.

“When we’re singing from the hills about this young man who’s gonna take over the world and become a multi-weight world champion…[I] didn’t see any of that tonight.

“If that decision goes against him tonight, which could have easily happened, he’s right in the shit. So he’s gotta go away [and] thank his lucky stars [and] be better next time.”

Masoud unable to halt Sanmartin pressure

The output from Masoud slowed from the start as Sanmartin insisted on closing the distance to let his hands go with Masoud’s back against the ropes.

While the Briton no doubt had success from range, the occasions at which the fight was fought from that distance were sporadic as the Colombian continued to hunt him down.

The latter’s momentum grew towards the middle rounds with Masoud still opting to hold his feet and trade blows on the outskirts of the ring instead of boxing behind the jab in the centre.

The delay between his last fight which took place exactly a year ago was clear for all to see and there was real concern that the South American may have done enough to nick the away win at the end of the ten rounds.

Fortunately for Masoud, his hand was eventually raised by referee Howard Foster but the night no doubt proved a valuable lesson for the 27-year-old who secured his twelfth victory in as many outings.

Sanmartin’s record now stands at 34-8-1, 21KOs.

Sanmartin enjoyed a wealth of success with Masoud’s back against the ropes. Photo by Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing.

Vuong and Dickinson impress while French suffers first loss on undercard

Northumberland lightweight Cameron Vuong secured his second win in as many pro outings as he won all six rounds against the Italy-based John Henry Mosquera.

The fight was a quick turnaround following Vuong’s first bout in the paid ranks last month as the former Senior ABA champion looks to replicate his success in the amateurs in the pros.

Newcastle middleweight Mark Dickinson also impressed with a fifth-round stoppage of Grant Dennis in their English title eliminator.

A barrage of punches which finished with a Dickinson right hook planted Dennis on the canvas in the opening minute of the round with referee Darren Sarginson deciding he had seen enough.

Local lightweight Calum French also suffered an upset defeat to Jeff Ofori after the former’s corner opted to throw in the towel in the eighth and final round.

Ofori had enjoyed a wealth of success early on in the fight and was landing almost at will at the time of the stoppage.

Leeds super-welterweight Ishmael Davis also travelled to the North-East to upset Newcastle’s brave Ewan McKenzie with an eighth-round stoppage in their scheduled ten round English title eliminator.

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