By Lance Jenkinson
There was no need for apprehension for Keilor Downs boxer Joel Camilleri as he made his transition to a new weight division.
The 28-year-old easily stripped down the weight to move into the welterweight class and forced competitors in his new division to stand up and take note after a stunning first-up fight.
Camilleri hardly put a foot wrong in beating gutsy Philippines opponent Adam Diu Abdulhamid by unanimous decision to secure the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council welterweight title.
It was the perfect way for Camilleri to end his 2018 campaign.
“It was my first fight at welterweight, so it was great to get a victory,” he said.
“I’m a pretty happy man. It opens some doors for you.”
Camilleri was confident all the way through the 10-round battle that he had Abdulhamid’s measure. The judges scorecards read 100-90, 99-91 and 100-90 in Camilleri’s favour, backing up his feeling.
“I knew I’d won the fight when the bell went,” Camilleri said.
“Still, it only takes one punch and he was letting some big punches go, so you are nervous in the late rounds.
“At the same time I was controlled, composed and got the job done.”
While it was a resounding win, Camilleri credited Abdulhamid for never giving in.
Camilleri could not afford to relax until the final bell sounded.
“It was a shut-out victory, but it was still a very good contest,” Camilleri said.
“He was tough as nails, I hurt him a couple of times, but I couldn’t stop him.
“He wasn’t taking a back step, he wanted to keep walking forward and trading blows, so I had to be smart, use the jab, keep moving and use my angles.
“I landed a few big shots, but when I couldn’t put him down, I out-boxed him to win the rounds.”
Camilleri paid tribute to his team for dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s to ensure his preparation was spot on.
He turned some heads with the ease with which he crossed into the new weight division after formerly competing as a super welterweight.
“I had to drop down three and a half kilograms, but I made it very easy,” he said.
“I dropped down the weight and I felt comfortable as well.”
Camilleri will return to training next week to start his journey for his next fight on February 22 at the Melbourne Pavilion. He is expected to put out the challenge to the Australian welterweight champion early next year.