Jack Massey came through some testing periods to unseat the Commonwealth cruiserweight champion Isaac Chamberlain and to win the vacant European title on Saturday night at Selhurst Park, home of Crystal Palace FC.

The Joe Gallagher-trained 31-year-old, from Cheshire, had only lost to Richard Riakporhe in 2019 and, in an excursion to heavyweight, Joseph Parker in 2023. That he went the distance with both says plenty about his durability, but he nonetheless started as an underdog against Chamberlain, 16-3 (8 KOs). 

Massey regardless boxed effectively, retaining his shape and making the most of his height and reach advantages, to win a deserved unanimous decision over the fighter from Brixton. The scores were 115-113, 115-113 and 116-112.

Massey started brightly, hurting Chamberlain for the first time in the opening round and taking charge. But Chamberlain recovered to have a decent spell in the middle rounds, rocking Massey briefly in the seventh and seemingly taking over in a big eighth. After that tricky session, trainer Gallagher gave Massey a rollicking, which seemed to reawaken his charge, and he took control again down the stretch.

“He’s tough as nails, he took my best shots there, he’s tough as hell,” Massey revealed afterwards. 

“He stole a couple of those middle rounds, I was a bit lazy at times, I took too many shots on the ropes. But the last four rounds, it was like the ABA finals, I just had to be on my toes, [easy as] A-B-C.”

Gallagher played his part but, more so, Massey revealed, did his daughter, who spurred him on during those gruelling moments.

“It was my little baby girl, she was in my head,” he said. “I did it for her, Bonnie was in my head. I told her on Wednesday that I was bringing two belts home and I’ve gone and done it.”

With the victory, Massey put himself back in the cruiserweight mix – particularly in the U.K. – and improved his record to 22-2 (12 KOs).