Robert Berridge kills the body on way to regional strap
Robert “The Butcher” Berridge (20-1, 16KOs) claimed a minor regional title in laying waste to Shintaro Matsumoto (10-3, 8KOs) over five rounds at the Auckland Boxing Association on Friday night.
The Albany based fighter captured the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Heavyweight title with a methodical breakdown of the #1 ranked Japanese fighter who had previously only been stopped once.
Matsumoto started the bout with flat feet and without the kind of pop in his jab to keep off the continually pressing Berridge ,who had no trouble closing the distance.
“The Butcher” made his intention to target the body clear early with Matsumoto only willing to exchange.
Berridge’s body attack started to wear down Matsumoto in the second as he also found a home for his thunderous left hand and, after hurting Matsumoto with the left, was able to pin him against the ropes and pound away however the iron chinned Japanese fighter hung in there sporadically returning fire and surviving to the bell.
Matsumoto focused on moving and working the body in the third in an attempt to take the power away from Berridge, who appeared to have emptied the tank somewhat in the previous round as he took time to re-evaluate the problem in front of him and recommit to the body attack that had initially softened Matsumoto.
The fourth round found Berridge ramping up the pressure as Matsumoto’s desperation saw him engage in firefights in which he was severely outgunned.
In the fifth Berridge uncorked a right hook followed by a straight left that hurt Matsumoto badly.
Retreating to the ropes, Matsumoto began eating shots to the body and was dropped by a left hook to the mid.
Although he was able to make it back to his feet, Matsumoto was clearly on borrowed time and was once again trapped and sent floor wards by another crushing left
to the ribs.
The referee then called a halt to the bout with Matsumoto in clear discomfort and obviously unable to continue.
Although with 8 knockouts in 10 fights, it was clear that Matsumoto had never faced the level of opposition in front of him and he did not appear to have anything in his arsenal to worry Berridge.
Still, Matsumoto displayed some serious whiskers and a great fighting spirit in withstanding the clubbing he was subjected to in a bout where his heart was never in question.
Berridge appeared to have made tactical improvements to his game in tightening up his punches and dissecting his opponent before he started throwing the sledgehammer left.
With the win “The Butcher” continues to be one of New Zealand’s most exciting emerging talents.
Domestically, there has been much talk of Berridge facing Daniel McKinnon (26-1-1, 9 KOs) however McKinnon is due to face former Berridge conqueror Blake Caparello later this month.
The fight with McKinnon has hit some potholes with both camps seemingly unable to come to an agreement.
Away from the limelight, the tv cameras and the eyes of the majority of the New Zealand public, “The Butcher” is almost blue collar in his approach.
Work hard and win impressively in a fan friendly manner.
The real question is still when will the general New Zealand public have the opportunity to see Berridge on a big card?
He’s fought in undercard slot both here and across the ditch but still without the kind of acknowledgement that someone with his excitement level should provide.