Hot cruiserweight prospect Floyd Masson signs with MJA Platinum

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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Undefeated cruiserweight sensation Floyd Masson 5-0 (4) has signed a co-managerial deal with MJA Platinum that will see him target the national title within the next six months.

The powerfully built southpaw will now be guided in his career by Mike Altamura alongside co-manager Anto Connolly.

“I have seen what Mike has done with other fighters so when Anto told me he was going to jump onboard I was super-excited to see the opportunities that could come from it,” says Masson.

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“Just seeing the opportunities he’s already got for guys like TJ Doheny, Luke Jackson and Nathaniel May, and the way he treats his boxers, gives me confidence that he will take my career in the right direction.”

Masson has impressed Altamura not only with his boxing ability, but with his professional approach to the most gruelling sport of all.

“Floyd is a real decent puncher, a crafty southpaw, but what really attracts me to working with him is the attitude,” says Altamura.

“He’s got a really good, intelligent, smart fighter’s attitude, a willingness to learn and he’s a very sweet, humble kid. I think it’s going to be a very enjoyable and satisfying journey.

“Further to that, it’s always an absolute pleasure to collaborate with Anto Connolly, one of the sharpest young minds on the boxing circuit.”

“As a manager I’m excited to be working with Mike Altamura to help guide Floyd’s career,” says Connolly.

“In recent years there’s no Australian who has produced as many champions as Mike has and to have that type of guidance available for someone of Floyd’s immense potential is going to give us the opportunity for the right type of career development.”

Altamura and Connolly are planning to have Masson return to the ring in late July in his adopted city of Perth where he is fast becoming a fan favourite with his explosive style. After that the team aims to keep their charge active and challenge him every step of the way.

“I’ve spoken at length with both Floyd and Anto Connolly about this and over the next year we’re primarily looking at increasing his activity in his career,” says Altamura.

“We want to keep him busy, keep him seeing different kinds of styles and keep him developing. And hopefully within the next 12 months he’ll progress to six, eight and 10 round level and just keep improving.

“We can have a good proper look at him then and potentially look at getting him into camp with some of the top cruiserweights in the world and give him the chance to blossom.”

Team Masson are gunning for a shot at the national crown currently held by Ben Kelleher before the end of the year.

“We plan to keep him active, to keep developing the phenomenal potential he has already shown. Within the next six months we want to pick up the Australian title then move on quickly to regional honours,” says Connolly.

“Floyd is head and shoulders above everybody and not just in Australia. There’s not a cruiserweight prospect who can hold a candle to him – and you can include Jason Whateley in that as well.”

“If I got offered an Aussie title fight tomorrow I’d take it,” says Masson, who has been expertly coached by West Australian Sean Nash since his amateur days.

“After a fight I’ll have a light week of training, then I’m back full training again so that if an opportunity comes up, I’ll be ready for it. If I got offered a title shot I’d take it right away.”

The 27-year-old Masson, who was born in Rawene on the North Island of New Zealand and grew up on a farm before spending his teenage years in Ta Awamuti, would spend his weekends studying his favourite fighters on tape.

Masson cites Muhammad Ali, Marvin Hagler, Oscar De La Hoya and Diego Corrales as early influences, but it was Arturo Gatti who left the greatest impression on him.

“On Friday and Saturday night all my mates would be going out while I’d stay home watching the Arturo Gatti versus Micky Ward trilogy,” says Masson.

“I always wanted to fight like Gatti and used to think that it was weak for a boxer to take a backward step, but after having my nose broken six times before I was 18 I gradually changed my style.”

At 6-foot-and-one-half-inches, the solidly built 200-pound southpaw has the punch to match his Adonis-like physique. But it is his ability to get up on his toes and box that often surprises his opponents the most. It is this combination of ring smarts, high workrate and knockout power that has seen him compared favourably to undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk.

“I just want to fight the best, get my name out there in Australian boxing and get the Australian title, then move on from there and go all the way to a world title,” says Masson.

“He’s the most dedicated kid in the world and he’s the most beautiful character as a person,” says Connolly. “He’s a pleasure to deal with and he just wants to perform. This kid is as genuine as they come.”

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