Masson stopped in first title defence

Floyd Masson

“He couldn’t have taken a harder opponent if he tried.”

So said the commentator watching Te Awamutu-born Floyd Masson early on in his WBO cruiserweight title fight – and eventual stoppage – in Brisbane on Saturday.

Masson saw his perfect record, and the title, go when he was stopped with a few seconds left of the sixth round by Belgium’s Yves Ngabu in a brutal encounter.

Masson was bleeding from the nose and mouth by the end of the second round – but it was a cut suffered in the fourth round which sealed his fate.

It was a massive cut above his right eye, and under a barrage of accurate head punches from Ngabu he eventually crumpled against the rope.

Referee Will Soulos intervened as Masson rose, and stopped the fight.

Judges David Craig, Adam Height and Olena Pobyvailo all had the fight 49-46 – and so did I.

Masson’s late first round flurry won that round for him, but after that Ngabu took control, going for the head, switching from southpaw to orthodox, and absorbing Masson’s body shots.

It was the second “war” in a row for Masson, who won the title in April from Italy’s Fabio Turchi in a fight that went the distance – 12 rounds.

“It wasn’t my night, it’s a hard pill to swallow, but he deserved it,” Masson said.

For Ngabu, the fight should set him up for a significant pay day – the 34-year-old fought an almost perfect fight to take his
record to 22 wins from 24 outings.

But for Masson, while it’s back to the drawing board, he goes with considerable praise ringing in his ears.

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