ALL OUT WAR: Grafton boxer Ryan Cotten dodges out of the way of Nektarios Stathis' flying right hand during their professional fight at the Clarence River Jockey Club. INSET: Blood pours from a gash on the head of Zac Cotten.
ALL OUT WAR: Grafton boxer Ryan Cotten dodges out of the way of Nektarios Stathis' flying right hand during their professional fight at the Clarence River Jockey Club. INSET: Blood pours from a gash on the head of Zac Cotten. Matthew Elkerton

TAKING A DRAW: Cottens far from disgraced in pro debuts

BOXING: The professional fighting careers of Grafton's Cotten brothers, Ryan and Zac, started in unusual fashion on Saturday night with both fighters disappointed by their results.

Neither brother came out on the losing end of a decision though, with both professional debuts ruled as draws.

Ryan fought to a standstill over four rounds against Greek warrior Nektarios Stathis, while Zac's bout with Wyong's Robbie Harris was brought to a premature close with a blood stoppage in the second round.

With the claret pouring out of a hairline gash, the referee was given no choice to call a stop to the bout, awarding a technical draw as the cut was caused by a head clash.

While he was disappointed to not get the judges' decision in his fight with Stathis, Ryan said he was proud of standing toe-to-toe with his opponent across the four rounds.

Blood pours from a head wound on fighter Zac Cotten with forced a premature stop in his bout against Wyong's Robbie Harris.
Blood pours from a head wound on fighter Zac Cotten with forced a premature stop in his bout against Wyong's Robbie Harris. Matthew Elkerton

"I feel good, it was a nice hard fight and he just kept moving forward and putting the pressure on me,” he said.

"I couldn't really combat his efforts and get into the groove that I wanted to, but I still managed to land a few good shots and got enough to get the draw.

"I would have preferred a win obviously, but there is no shame in taking the draw. It was a good hard fight.”

At times it resembled a wrestling bout with the fighters locked together in tussles, but when he found a spare inch of room, Cotten made Stathis pay.

In a nod to his culture, Stathis approached the ring in a Greek warrior's helmet, and he fought like a man belonging to the garb, with even trainer Michael Katsidis surprised by how hard he fought.

The former world champion took to the microphone after the bout to thank the hundreds of boxing fans ringside for making the journey out to the Grafton Racecourse.

"It has been an absolute pleasure to be here, it has been great to see people getting out to support their sport in this town,” Katsidis said.

Both Cotten brothers will now return to the ring at the Grafton Amateur Boxing Club as they eye off more professional fights late this year.



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