QUEENSLAND nicked the chocolates at State of Origin, but Nambucca lad Mitchel Stapleton more than turned the tables for NSW as he won yet another major amateur boxing title.
And the lanky New South Welshman lowered the Maroons colours before a Sunshine State crowd baying for own of their own in the second main fight on the card at Redcliffe.
Mitchel, 17, gave away four kilos to his heavier Mt Tarampa opponent, but dominated from midway through the first on his way to a unanimous points decision to win the Intermediate 71kg Queensland belt.
Weighing in at 67kg, it was the first time Mitchel had fought Liam McDonald, after the northerner had ‘called him out’ for a battle six months earlier.
Mitchel’s dad, Nambucca Heads trainer Ian ‘Sparra’ Stapleton, said he was confident of a decision after just 30 seconds of the first of four rounds.
“He won every round, though the third was a bit scrappy. To his credit the other boy had a tough chin and just kept coming,” Sparra told the Guardian.
“But I knew the only way the other boy could win was if Mitchel got knocked out – and that wasn’t going to happen.”
Mitchel has now won six belts and five national titles in his still fledgling career, and has had a busy 2016.
In his earlier days, he was a heavy puncher though guilty of fading in and out of contests, but a disciplined approach to training has him now delivering more hits than the Beatles each and every round.
His progress has been so outstanding that the tricky road to a Commonwealth Games berth is now on the radar.
“It’s something that I would like to look at, though it’s such a hard thing to achieve,” Mitchel said.
On the immediate front, he is hoping to be matched at a promotion at Merewether on July 16 – where well credentialled Nambucca Heads stablemates Mitchell Whitelaw, Keeley Stapleton and Izak Handley are also in the mix.