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MMA star Iain Martell makes cracking transition to pro boxing at Norwich show

PUBLISHED: 13:14 23 July 2017 | UPDATED: 17:43 23 July 2017

Iain Martell celebrates after beating Jindrich Velecky at Epic Studios in Norwich.
 Picture: Jerry Daws / Stillfocusedmedia

Iain Martell celebrates after beating Jindrich Velecky at Epic Studios in Norwich. Picture: Jerry Daws / Stillfocusedmedia

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Iain Martell made an explosive start to his pro boxing career - with just one hand.

Iain Martell on the attack against Jindrich Velecky.
 Picture: Jerry Daws/StillfocusedmediaIain Martell on the attack against Jindrich Velecky. Picture: Jerry Daws/Stillfocusedmedia

The former MMA star’s debut in the cruiserweight ranks was much anticipated and within seconds the crowd at the Epic Centre in Norwich knew exactly why as the 27-year-old launched into Czech opponent Jindrich Velecky from the opening bell.

It was that early assault which damaged a knuckle in his right hand, and while Martell endured the pain throughout the first three rounds, it effectively left him to concentrate more heavily on his left – perversely, proving that he has acquired the necessary boxing skills to fulfil local expectations.

Velecky covered up in a show of almost total self defence but by the end of the third, a swelling on top of his head attracted the attention of the doctors and sensibly the fight was ended in Martell’s favour.

The smile that had been on his face pre-fight and often during it, returned as his arm was raised in triumph – and expectation levels raised with it.

Iain Martell goes to the body against Jindrich Velecky.
 Picture: Jerry Daws/StillfocusedmediaIain Martell goes to the body against Jindrich Velecky. Picture: Jerry Daws/Stillfocusedmedia

“Iain is going to do that sort of thing to a lot of people,” said trainer Graham Everett. “Velecky is tough - people might not see it that way as Iain dominated him with one hand, but that guy took Carl Wheeler and Wadi Camacho, highly-rated cruiserweights, took them the distance and got through comfortably. Iain terrorised him from the first bell, but that is Iain. We can expect more of that. It’s a pity he hurt his hand, but then he settled down and showed how well he can box. He is an edgy character, but he has slipped into pro boxing perfectly.”

The man himself was eschewing handshakes afterwards and, after reassurances his opponent was well, still smiling.

“I felt the knuckle go and I just had to use my left hand. I couldn’t really throw the right because every time I landed with it, it really hurt.

“I didn’t plan that start, I never do – the plan is always to be nice and calm and box. I am not the sort to box for points and if I see an opportunity I will always take it, it is just in my nature. That is why it is frustrating for me because I had to box long and set up the body shots – but I enjoyed myself tonight.”

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