The Irish Eye: October
Wins for Paddy Barnes, Ryan Burnett and Katie Taylor feature in the latest edition of Kane Clarke's 'The Irish Eye' - our regular and definitive round-up of all things Irish in the professional ring...
Belfast flyweight Paddy Barnes returned to the ring on 6 October at the Meadowbank Arena, Edinburgh, and fought to a six-round point decision victory over Peruvian born Spaniard - Juan Hinostroza.
The triple Olympian was in fine form - scoring a rare knockdown in the second round - whilst putting on his most accomplished performance yet as a professional pugilist against a tricky enough opponent who had held Prince Patel to a controversial draw last year, with many believing the Peruvian should have been given the nod.
'The Leprechaun,' now 4(0)-0, was typically hard on himself when speaking to IFLTV after his latest victory. "I didn't box well," he said. "I boxed to my fitness, I only trained two and a half weeks because obviously I'm fighting in November, I just took this fight because he's obviously a journeyman, I knew I was going to win anyway, its good to get the rounds in because u know I'm going to have a tough fight on 18 November."
Barnes will be defending his WBO European strap on the undercard of close friend Carl Frampton's 'Reborn' bill at the SSE Odyssey Arena, Belfast, which also features Jamie Conlan's IBF super-flyweight world title challenge against Jerwin Ancajas.
Belfast welterweight Paddy Gallagher was also fighting on the MTK Scotland card, and successfully defended his BBBofC Celtic title with a tenth-round stoppage of brave Scotsman Gary Murray.
Many in attendance believe the fight should have been stopped a lot sooner, as Murray was clearly taking a lot of big shots, but unfortunately the bout was allowed to continue and was eventually waved off after Gallagher dropped Murray heavily in the final round.
Murray was rushed to hospital post-fight where he undertook immediate surgery and is now said to be in a stable condition. MTK manage both fighters, and released a statement reading: “Gary was taken to hospital following his 10-round contest on Friday night. The doctors discovered an injury which required immediate attention. Gary remains in hospital with his family. He is in a stable condition and we shall provide further updates when we can. We ask that everyone keeps Gary in their thoughts at this time. Our thoughts are with Gary and his family.”
Everybody at Boxing Monthly would also like to wish Gary all the best with his recovery.
On 7 October, Red Corner Promotions returned to the National Stadium in Dublin for their fourth time in just under a year with 'Champions Elect.'
New York based Macroom fighter Noely Murphy headlined the card, and battled through a frustrating eight rounds with former EU champion Gyorgy Mizsei, to take the decision 79-73 on referee Emile Tiedt's scorecard.
The Lou DiBella managed welterweight spoke to the ever-present irish-boxing.com post-fight, admitting: “It was very frustrating, and in the last round there I think I showed it. He wouldn’t let me work inside and he didn’t want to work inside, that was very frustrating. But I have to learn to deal with that.”
Murphy, now 12(2)-0, will now look forward to a step-up in class in 2018, declaring “February or March will be the ‘test’ as I’m calling it. That’s where I’ll see what I’m made of. I’ve been ready for it for a while, I feel.
“I’m there, mentally, and I’m sparring the best in New York, world-class fighters, and I think I’m ready.
“I’m only waiting for it. These lads are only holding me back at this stage. We’ll see what Lou DiBella has next and we’ll go from there.
In the chief support on the night, Dublin light-middleweight Craig O'Brien had to come back from a first-round knockdown to claim an eight-round points decision victory over tough Frenchman Alain Alfred.
'The Iron' - now 6(0)-0 - also collected the BUI Celtic title in the process, and told irish-boxing.com afterwards: “it’s a good learning fight, an eight round learning fight.”
“Being knocked down early on, some fighters can’t recover from it, some fighters get a shock, so it’s good to know that I can – which I don’t want to be doing again anytime soon.”
“Getting knocked down and coming back to recover, you can say that at least I can do it – but at the end of the day, I shouldn’t have got caught in the first place. That’s the bit I’m annoyed with, but we’ll come back and learn."
There was also a maiden title win for undefeated Navan fighter Christopher Blaney on the undercard.
The Ricky Hatton trained prospect outpointed Frenchman Matiouze Royer over eight rounds to pick up the super middleweight BUI Celtic title and up his professional record to 9(3)-0, in just over a year in the paid ranks.
“It’s always good to win a title but I think the first one is always the best.” a jubilant Blaney told irish-boxing,com post-fight.
“I thought the fight went as me and the team planned, we knew he was always going to come forward so the game plan was to just box and move and don’t get caught by any stupid shots and it worked out well. I didn’t get hit that much so that’s always a bonus.”
Elsewhere on the undercard, Kildare featherweight Allan Phelan bounced back from a defeat in his last outing with a fifth-round stoppage over Krzysztof Rogowski to move to 9(6)-3(1)-1. Dublin light-welter Victor Rabei moved to 2(0)-0 with a four-round points victory over tough Englishman Michael Mooney. Cork-Slovakian super-middleweight scored a second round TKO to claim his first pro victory over Dublin-Dominican debutant Manny Bique.
There were also debut four-round points victories for Dublin lightweight Karl Kelly and Waterford super-middleweight Craig McCarthy over Damian Lawniczak and Curtis Gargano respectively.
Kildare light-middleweight Dennis Hogan took a major step towards a world title shot on 14 October with a dominating ten-round points decision victory, over Japan's Yuki Nonaka, at the Exhibition and Convention centre, Brisbane.
With both combatants being ranked inside the top ten in the WBO world rankings, the bout was sanctioned as a world title eliminator, and with the 154lbs belt likely to become vacant in the near future, 'The Irish Aussie' could soon find himself challenging for the belt currently held by Miguel Cotto, in the very near future.
“I had him at my distance very early on and just felt like every punch I threw landed. I was also able to nullify his left hand, which is his best, and I knew and could see he was crafty and liked to try to intimidate me but I was just on form and decided to play him at his own game and beat him too,” the 32 year-old Hogan explained.
“All up a good fight and great learning curve for me. Rangy, crafty, experienced southpaws are dangerous and can cause problems but we made a great game plan, done all the work, stuck to it and it made for a very enjoyable fight for me and the crowd!”
On 21 October at the SSE Odyssey Arena, Belfast, IBF world champion Ryan Burnett successfully negotiated his way through twelve tough rounds with WBA super champion, Zhanat Zhakiyanov to unify the bantamweight division, and became the first Irishman to do so on home soil, in the process.
Burnett, now 18(9)-0, fought the rough and tough Kazakh at his own game throughout the gruelling encounter, and took the win on the scorecards with the judges scoring it 119-109, 118-110, and 116-112 in favour of the Antrim Road fighter.
"I've seen this so clearly, he was a tough tough fight for me but, I had to dig deep, and I done it, thank you to everyone, I done it!" a bruised Burnett said post-fight.
"The plan was to try and box him, keep it at range but he's that strong he kept coming forward, I had to adapt to his game, and I had cute. The shots he was throwing I had to block and make sure they weren't getting through, and thank god it worked, I'm champ now.
"I boxed Haskins, he's one of the trickiest people in the division, now I've boxed the hardest hitter in the division, and I thank god that I've proved a point."
There was controversy in the chief support bout between Ireland's top two lightweights. Paul Hyland Jr took a split-decision victory over Dublin's Stephen Ormond to retain his IBF European belt.
Undefeated 'Hylo' had the better start out of the two in some close early rounds, downing Ormond with a right hook in the third, but 'The Rock' recovered well and came back to dominate the second half of the fight with non-stop pressure.
As the fight went to the judges scorecards, it was Valerie Dorsett's card of 117-110 that seemed to cause the most uproar, and rightfully so, it was impossible to see how the fight could be scored that widely to Hyland after such a close contest.
Closer scores of 115-112 to Ormond from Pasquale Procopio, and 114-113 in favour of Hyland Jr from Howard Foster, saw Hylo stretch his unbeaten record to 17(6)-0, whilst Ormond dropped to 24(13)-5(1) but can be happy with his performance in a bout where he was the bookmakers' underdog.
Both fighters sat next to each other ringside for post-fight interviews, and when Hyland was asked if he thought he had to done enough for the victory, he replied: "Yeah, I think my boxing was the thing that won me it, I fought his fight sometimes - inside - he is strong, I tried to slug it out with him but when I was boxing he wasn't really catching me much, but I did get caught into some of his fight, but I think it was my boxing that won me it like.
"You couldn't of done twelve rounds with a tougher guy like, he's always in your face the whole way, so that was a good entrance to twelve rounds."
MTK's Ormond was posed the same question, and was also confident he had done enough. "Yeah, it was a good knockdown by Paul, but after that I thought I took over the fight, I thought I clearly won the fight, but these things happen."
The Irish Eye scored the bout 114-113 in favour of Hyland, having scored the first six rounds in his favour, and second half to Ormond, but we believe we are one of very few who did. Watch the fight here and judge for yourselves.
Hard-hitting Belfast man James Tennyson continued to build his reputation as a devastating puncher with a vicious one-punch stoppage victory over Scotland's Darren Traynor, to retain his WBA International super-featherweight title in Belfast.
Traynor was the third fighter in a row that came into a bout with 'The Assassin' with a record of 14-1, and he was the third in a row not to see the second half of the fight after another entertaining scrap involving the Belfast man. The win sees Tennyson lift his record to 20(16)-2(2) and also sees him rise to number 4 in the WBA world rankings, which could mean a world title shot for the knockout-artist man in the new year.
"It was brilliant, it was good, I enjoyed it," a delighted Tennyson said post-fight.
"He came to win, he came out swinging and put the pressure on, but the power came through, I was landing lovely shots and was hurting him."
Elsewhere on the undercard, there was a hard-fought ten-round points decision win for Belfast light-welterweight Tyrone McKenna, who improved to 15(6)-0-1 with victory over Frenchman Renald Garrido.
Cruiserweight Tommy McCarthy returned from an eleven-month ring hiatus to claim a first round stoppage over Peter Hegyes to improve to 10(6)-1(0).
Coalisland super-featherweight Feargal McCrory bravely battled through sickness to take a points decision over the undefeated Callum Busuttil to improve to 7(3)-0.
2014 Commonwealth games silver medallist Joe Fitzpatrick moved to 8(5)-0 with a sixth and final round stoppage of Mwenya Chisanga
And finally, there were stoppage victories for the Peter Taylor trained Rio Olympian Davey Oliver Joyce and lightweight southpaw Gary Cully. The MTK pair stopped Andy Harris and Josh Thorne respectively inside the distance to move to 4(3)-0 and 2(2)-0.
Darragh Foley picked up an eight round technical decision victory over Ryuji Hachimitsu Ikeda of Japan on 22 October.
'Super Foley' defended his WBA Oceania Super Lightweight title, and picked up the interim WBC Asian Council and WBO Oriental Super Lightweight straps in the process. With Foley dominating, the fight was stopped in round eight due Ikeda being cut by an accidental head-butt in round six.
"I'm feeling good, I'm never happy with the performance. I could of got him out of there earlier, I was landing big shots - rocking him - from the second round. Anytime I tried follow up, he was crowding my work and literally holding onto me for dear life." Foley said post-fight in an interview with T2T.
"I want to be out again before Christmas, obviously I don't know with this cut, I just seen the doctor and he said it needs to be stitched so, first week in December I want to be back out again, I feeling in the shape of my life and I just want to keep that momentum building, four fights this year, that was the plan so get out again god willing again before Christmas and really crack on next year."
Galway lightweight Geroid Clancy picked up an eight-round points decision victory over Wanphichit Siriphana in The Punchbowl Arena, Punchbowl, on 21 October to improve his record to 8(2)-5(0).
On 28 October, in front of 75,000 spectators at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Bray lightweight and Irish hero Katie Taylor became the WBA lightweight champion of the world and added a first professional world championship to the five world championship golds she collected for Ireland throughout her incredible amateur career.
Taylor, 31, outpointed former champion Anahi Esther Sanchez over ten rounds, claiming the vacant title that the Argentinian lost on the scales the previous day.
The London 2012 Olympic gold medallist was in control right from the start and had Sanchez down in the second round with a beautiful left-hook to the body, but the former champion done well to see the round out. Whilst the fight was one-sided in Taylors favour, Sanchez did have some success of her own, and played her part in an entertaining and rugged bout.
"That was the dream all along [becoming world champion] ever since I turned pro I wanted to become a world champion and the plan was always to fast-track me to that world-title, tonight is just a dream come true for me really, I've worked so hard since I have turned pro, me and my team, and this is just a great moment for us all," the new champion said post-fight.
When asked what she was thinking after having Sanchez down in the second round, Taylor replied: "I was hoping she wasn't going to get up, unfortunately she did get up and I just went in for the kill, I should probably have been a little bit more composed at that time, tonight was definitely a big learning curve for me, she was a strong and durable opponent, I expected a tough ten round battle tonight, but she definitely give me a few things to work on for sure."
Having only turned pro in November last year, and building a record of 7(4)-0 on her way to the WBA world title, Taylor's meteoric rise through the professional ranks has been nothing but sensational, but strangely also expected. Taylor looked levels above the game Sanchez (a 2-weight world champion) and has been rewarded with a main-event slot on Sky Sports on 15 December for the first defence of her WBA strap, followed by a homecoming in March or April.
Elsewhere around the UK the same night there was also a win for Ray Moylette at the Holte Suite, Villa Park, Birmingham. 'The Mayo Maesto' upped his unbeaten record to 8(3)-0 since turning over in March, with a points victory over Luka Leskovic and will be targeting a step-up in rounds in his next bout.
"I enjoyed it, I got the six rounds," was Moylette's post-fight assessment. "I'm hopefully moving on to bigger fights with more rounds, so 8 and 10, as I start challenging for titles, it was great to get the six rounds in, but always starting [out your career] your looking for the knockout, that's pro boxing, so I'm a small bit disappointed with that, but I'm happier that I got the six rounds under my belt for moving forward."