CRUISERWEIGHT Luke Watkins claimed the English title in destructive fashion last weekend, where he dispatched unbeaten prospect Iain Martell.

Watkins, who is based at Neilson Boxing’s Alpha Boxing and Fitness gym in Swindon, was forced to box out of the away corner at Civic Hall in Essex on Saturday, live on Fightzone.

In the build-up, his opponent, Martell - who boasted a record of 11-0 (5KOs) - was vocal about his chances of claiming the vacant English title and questioned Watkins’ motivation, citing bouts of inactivity from the Swindon fighter.

Watkins was last in action last September when he stopped Tyrone Williams at Swindon’s MECA but showed no signs of ring rust once he stepped through the ropes, in what was his 18th professional contest.

The 32-year-old kept his work simple and demonstrated great patience as he slowly picked off his counterpart on his way to a resounding victory.

After four rounds Martell’s left eye was visibly swollen as Watkins’ continued to punish him with a firm jab.

In the sixth, Watkins had his man down on the canvas following a flurry of shots, however Martell managed to beat the count and rise wearily to his feet.

Before the end of the round, Martell was down again as Watkins continued to come forward and pressure his opponent, this time it proved too much for the Norfolk fighter as the referee wave off the contest.

The victory also marked a winning start to a new partnership with coach Islan Eltuyev, who took over from Tony Borg earlier this year.

Speaking after his win, Watkins said now he intends to shake up the cruiserweight division as contests with the likes of Isaac Chamberlain, Deon Jumah, Chris Billam-Smith and Mikal Lawal all loom as possibilities.

“I thought the performance on Saturday was okay, I’m happy with it but I’m also self-critical and I always want to do better,” he said.

“I’ve already watched the fight back and can see where I need to make some improvements moving forwards.

“The fight was an important one for my career, it pushes me right back into the mix with the best in the country, that’s what I believe I am and I think I can go further than that.

“Now we are looking at the British title, the European title and all the great domestic fights that are out there, it’s all about what makes sense for me and what is best for my career.”

Watkins is supported by sponsors JGS Heating Engineers, Conlan Construction Reuben Digital, Jazz Bones Creative, Gecko Fitness, and Back 2 Fitness Swindon.