Date published: 02 December 2012
Martin Stapleton with his trophy
Rochdale based Martin Stapleton ground down Tom Maguire in a gruelling fight in the final of the Cage Contender Fightstars lightweight tournament at the Olympia in Liverpool on Saturday to pick up the lions share of the £10,000 prize pot and the impressive trophy.
The three judges were unanimous in giving Stapleton the victory after three rounds of grunt and grind during which Stapleton showed why he was the favourite to win this tournament. Skilled when upright with good boxing and kicking and even more so when on the ground, despite Maguire taking him down a number of times, Stapleton used his immense strength to lift and turn Maguire and pin him to the canvas. As the fight went on, despite Maguire giving all he had, and at times causing Stapleton some difficulty, there was no doubting Stapleton was the better fighter and thoroughly deserved the win.
That both men still had the stamina to fight so hard in the final was amazing considering they had already fought four rounds each against two other opponents earlier in the evening to reach the final.
Stapleton's first round fight against Jamie Rogers was “comfortable” and Stapleton did enough to score a convincing win whilst conserving energy for his next fight.
His semi-final against Arnold Quero was as tough as they get, Frenchman Quero is a very handy fighter with a powerhouse of a punch and he rocked Stapleton with a right that saw the former Royal Marines physical training instructor wobble for the only time in his three bouts.
The judges had Stapleton narrowly ahead when he made sure of his place in the final with just 15 seconds of the bout remaining. He took Quero down and fell back to snatch a heel hook that brought a submission from the hard Frenchman.
Speaking exclusively to Rochdale Online after the final, Stapleton said he knew that Maguire would be a very tough opponent in the final and expected a "grinding war" - and that it was.
He added: "To win feels amazing. It has been a crazy year, I left the Royal Marines to fight full time and have had five wins in six months.
"The support I had here tonight was amazing, so many made the trip from Rochdale, and also Marines I served with have travelled up from Exeter and Plymouth.
"My training team and sparring partners have been superb, it was very tough preparation but ensured I was in great shape and ready to fight.
"I would also like to thank my sponsors Cross Deck Security and my wife Hayley for her unstinting support."
Stapleton is also co-owner of the Full Contact Performance Centre Gym on Queensway, Castleton.
Cage Contender Fightstars is on Premier Sports Channel 428 Saturday 8 December, 18.30-21.00.