All eyes may have been on the hyped-up Jeff Horn and Anthony Mundine clash, but Moree’s very own boxing superstar Cameron Hammond managed to steal some of the spotlight on Friday evening after claiming the World Boxing Association (WBA) Oceania Welterweight Title.
Just a few months after his stunning return to the ring, ‘The Hammer’ has proven he’s back in the game and here to stay after a clinical display against tough Venezuelan Frank Rojas earned him the vacant WBA Oceania Welterweight crown.
The 29-year-old proved too quick and methodical for the South American, who was well known for his knock-out victories, claiming the win on a 10-round unanimous decision during the undercard fight at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.
Following a rigorous training schedule, which involved going straight from work to training over the past eight to ten weeks, Hammond said he felt confident going into the clash.
“It helped going in knowing I was fit and ready,” he said.
“You know you can go 10 rounds if you need to, and that’s exactly what happened, so luckily I did all that training.”
Hammond said his game plan was to keep enough distance between him and Rojas to prevent the Venezuelan from landing a knock-out punch.
“Obviously I knew the guy could hit hard, so the idea was to keep distance between us,” he said.
“The plan was to round by round, wear him down. I knew if I went the distance I’d get the win, which I did.
“There was a chance I’d get caught with a good punch, and I knew I’d go down if he landed one. I didn’t let him get the chance to land a big punch.”
The victory sees Hammond steal Rojas’ number 14 ranking in the WBA welterweight division.
Considering Hammond didn’t even have ranking going into the bout, the win was “huge” for the former Olympic and Commonwealth boxer, who represented Australia at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games and 2012 London Olympics.
“[The ranking] gives me more opportunities to take on bigger fights,” he said.
“I definitely needed the win. I don’t know what I would have done if I’d lost it, probably quit for good.”
This was only Hammond’s second fight since returning from a year-and-a-half-long hiatus following his first and only upset against Kris George in November 2016.
Prior to that, The Hammer held the WBA Oceania Welterweight title he’s just claimed back.
Hammond will now be talking to his coach Glen Rushton to come up with a plan of attack for the new year. He says he’s back for good and has high hopes of fighting his way to the top.
“This win has opened a lot more opportunities,” he said.
“I have to be very careful with the next step I take.”
Meanwhile, Brent Rice, the nephew of Moree Boxing and Fitness coach Colin ‘Chalky’ Rice, conceded the Australian Super Featherweight title to Liam Wilson during the undercard fight directly before the main event between Horn and Mundine.