'Tower of Terror' takes Ipswich crowd on thrill ride
ONE lethal upper-cut and the fight was all over.
Friday night's Australian heavyweight title fight couldn't have gone any better for Ipswich's Demsey McKean.
With a 100-strong crowd of supporters wearing "Team McKean'' shirts cheering him on, McKean went toe-to-toe with former Australian champion Hunter Sam over 10 action-packed rounds.
Just 30 seconds remained on the clock when the "Tower of Terror'' lived up to his thrill-ride reputation. Landing a brutal blow on the chin of his opponent, McKean sent the Ipswich Civic Centre into a frenzy.
Floored by the strike, Sam struggled to recover and moments later referee Wally Lewis declared the fight a technical knock out victory to the red corner.
Visibly moved by the crowd support, the new interim Australian heavyweight titleholder lifted the newly-won belt to the delight of his vocal support crew.
"It's been a very tough three months and to do it in front of a home crowd was one of the best feelings I've ever had,” Demsey said.
"All the hard work has paid off.
"I definitely had to dig deep to get that TKO. I timed that perfectly and to hear the crowd at the end there was electrifying.”
After a 12-week intensive camp leading into the fight, McKean was in his best shape for the title bout.
Determined to bring home the Australian belt in front of his friends and family, the Ipswich boxer was bouncing with energy despite the 10 rounds of intense competition.
"I came into the fight at my physical best and I feel like I could have done another five rounds,” he boasted.
"I'm in the best shape of my life and it felt awesome.”
Despite handing Sam his seventh straight loss, McKean praised his opponent.
Using his extra reach and height to land multiple heavy blows, the "Terror'' looked dominant early on in the fight.
But no matter how many shots landed, Sam refused to concede and continued to work his way inside the Ipswich boxer's range.
"He's a trooper and one of Australia's best fighters,” Demsey admitted.
"He's fought some of the best guys going around and they couldn't finish him.
"I had him hurt about five times in that fight and I tried to finish him. Every time he just came back with three or four of his own punches.”
Becoming increasingly frustrated with his opponent's holding tactics, McKean said he forced himself to remain calm and clear-headed.
"He was trying to give himself a bit more time to recover,” he said. "He was getting a few warnings for it and it was getting a bit frustrating.
"I just wanted to stay long and use my range but I had to relax and stick to the game plan.”
THERE is still one more hurdle before the dream can become reality for Demsey McKean.
Crowned the Australian heavyweight champion on Friday, the Ipswich boxer must face former titleholder Willie Nasio to consolidate his title.
The Tongan titan returns to the ring after contesting the Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation Heavyweight title in January. Losing to local fighter Kyotaro Fujimoto in Japan, the Gold Coast fighter was unable to defend his Australian title earlier this year.
It was the second time the former Australian titleholder had forced a last-minute scratching between the two fighters.
Now scheduled to take on Nasio at the Darwin Convention Centre in May, McKean expects his latest victory to send a strong message to the Nasio camp.
"I think to put on a performance like that definitely does,” he said. "It was my best performance to date and I think it's going to send some shockwaves through the Australian heavyweight division.”
Both fighters will take a strong record into the Northern Territory bout. Nasio boasts a record of 12 wins and two losses, while McKean remains undefeated on 10 wins and four knockouts.