NORTH-EAST should be re-named North-Easy after Bradley Saunders returned home with a BANG.
Last night’s show at Gateshead Leisure Centre had the tagline “Licensed to thrill” and Saunders did exactly that with an explosive mid-fight stoppage of Gyorgy Mizsei.
The 27-year-old from Sedgefield floored the Hungarian three times with body shots and referee Mark Curry waved it off after one minute of round four.
It was the fifth early finish in eight straight victories for the light-welterweight title hopeful.
And given the reaction of the big crowd it would be no surprise if promoters Steve Wraith and Francis Warren looked for a repeat show in the spring, especially given the success of the local talent on the undercard, including unbeaten Hartlepool boxer Callum Winton.
But it was the performance of Saunders which took the headlines.
Mizsei, who is scheduled to challenge for the Hungarian title next month, arrived in Gateshead with a very acceptable record of 16 wins from 23 starts, including 10 inside the distance.
However, it was his defence which impressed the most in the early minutes of the eight-round international match.
Saunders jabbed well in the opening round and backed Mizsei back but by round two he was starting to favour the body.
A couple of cracking upper cuts and more bodywork were the features of the third before the whirlwind struck in the fourth.
The former Gus Robinson Developments boxer had take a very measured approach in the first nine minutes, but the 10th was Saunders at his ruthless best.
A powerful right to the Mizsei midrift sent the 20-year-old down to the canvas in the early seconds.
Mizsei was clearly hurt but managed to get to his feet by the time Mr Curry’s count reached seven.
His time looked up and another right to the body put him down in the home blue corner.
On this occasion he was up sharply but when he was felled in the same spot by the same method, the Houghton referee correctly called a halt.
The body stoppage has become a feature of the Saunders career, he decked both Michael Kelly and Gareth Heard with body shots in his previous two contests
But the former World Championship bronze medallist says there is more to his armoury than body shots
“I can whack to the head or body,” he said. “If they cover up the head like Mizsei did the I strike to the body.
“And if they cover up the body, I know my head shots work.
“Luckily enough the body shots have worked for me but I am heavy handed and can have success in both areas.”
Saunders was happy not just with the end, but the beginning and the middle too!
“I took it steady,” he told SportMail.
“In the early part of my career I might have tried to take him out and blown myself out.
“After the second round I sat down and said ‘I think I’m in for a long night here’.
“But I got him with an upper cut in the third round and felt that I’d hurt him.
“When I got him with some good body shots in the fourth I think they took the fight out of him.”
It was a great end to an entertaining night and Saunders paid tribute to promoters Steve Wraith and Francis Warren.
“From the first day I fought for Frank, I’ve been going on about a show up here,” he said. “I’m so glad Steve and Francis got together to do this and I hope it’s the first of many.”