Sheffield boxing: How Sam has become the man
Sam Matkin is one of the hidden treasures of Sheffield boxing.
Before this month, there wouldn’t have been many fight fans in South Yorkshire who would have recognised his name.
In fact, the last time he has won a fight in his home city was at Don Valley stadium...and they have knocked it down since then.
But suddenly the 24-year-old trainer solicitor is a headline act, after winning as the underdog in a Central Area title contest.
He defeated previously-unbeaten Blackpool fighter Adam Little on points in his north west back yard.
Now the trainee solicitor from Mosborough is hoping his career can lift off.
“It was a massive buzz to beat Little and win the title, I know how it works for away fighters but the referee Howard Foster is as good as you can get and he saw it the way I did” he said.
“I didn’t go in there expecting to win. Little was the English welterweight champion who vacated to come down a weight to fight me.
“He is no mug, so it was a great moment for me and this has got me up the rankings.
“Now I want to fulfil my dream of going after English, British and Commonwealth titles.”
Matkin, who is trained by Sean Thickett at Dennis Hobson’s gym in Gleadless, won the title despite having a long lay-off.
His previous fight was in December 2014, his only loss in 10 fights.
He carried out a 12-week training camp for an intended fight in April, which fell through.
“That was a big blow after all the hardships and I needed to sort my head out” he says.
“But when this central area opportunity came up, I knew this was a chance to get my name in the history books and have a memory to keep for the rest of my life.”
Matkin, a Sheffield Wednesday fan who works for the Wosskow Brown law firm, hopes his profile will raise now.
“I have not really been on the radar, maybe I am a bit too quiet! But hopefully this has given me the boost I needed.”
Hobson was delighted by Matkin’s win.
“Sam is one of the nicest kids I’ve met. He’s got angelic looks and you think ‘he’s never a boxer’ but you can’t judge a book by its cover.
“He’s an intelligent kid and he loves the sport.
“He fell short before but he was up against a good pedigree kid in Adam Little and he worked his socks off.
“I’m so pleased for him because the Central Area title is a springboard on to bigger things. Overnight he’ll become a better boxer because he’s won something.
“Sam and his trainer are great people to work with, and hopefully this is just the start for them.
“He’s fought a few times away from home so we’d like to him to fight on a home show because he’s such a popular kid. I’ll be looking at different titles for him. It’s another title in our stable and hopefully he’ll defend it in the next few months, if not we’ll move onto something different. And I’m not bad at getting boxers title shots.”