Mushtaq marches on with home debut triumph

Mushy celebrates his victory with trainer Stuart McFadyen
Mushy celebrates his victory with trainer Stuart McFadyen

Nelson boxer Atif Mushtaq gave a composed and calculated performance to register his second win in the professional ranks on his home debut.

The 26-year-old was technically too good for seasoned fighter Carl Allen as he earned a unanimous victory following the four-round contest at Colne Muni.

But in an honest assessment of his display, Mushtaq admitted there was room for improvement after needlessly getting involved in a brawl on occasions and getting caught cold.

Encouraged forward by trainer Stuart McFadyen, ‘Mushy’ stepped on to his opponent and dictated the bout with his jab while ably battering the frame of Allen.

It was a patient and considered showing, biding his time to work the openings as he moved swiftly in and out. Though Allen successfully embroiled Mushtaq in a scrap midway through, the home fighter regained his composure and took control by switching from orthodox to southpaw to get around his foe’s guard.

And it was a deserved triumph as referee Steve Gray held his arm aloft courtesy of a 40-36 points victory.

“It was a really good experience,” Mushtaq said. “I was nervous because it was my home debut but the crowd was fantastic. I think I responded to that so I want to thank everyone who turned up to show their support because they really spurred me on to win that fight.

“Overall I wasn’t too happy with my performance though. I know I could’ve done a lot better, I felt I should’ve stopped him, but I got the win. My guard dropped too much on the night, I got caught cold a few times, and got involved and opened up when I really didn’t need to. On occasions I don’t think I was fully focused because I was too concerned about entertaining the crowd.”

Mushtaq added: “I’ve done a lot of training on switching stances because I can punch well with both hands. I caught him every time I switched. I was working off the jab, then coming forward in to southpaw and striking with the back hand. He didn’t know where my punches were coming from. I was very happy with my head and body movement and my footwork.

“He caught me at the end of the second round just before the bell with a cracking right hand on the chin. He rocked me with it but I stayed up so I learnt I could take a punch as well. It was a venomous shot and it hurt but I showed the heart of a lion and fought back. I gave 10lbs away for that fight as well so he was naturally the bigger and more powerful guy. He got me with a straight back hand midway through the second round as well. But I won every round so I’m pleased with that.”