The Irish Eye
Kane Clarke rounds up October's action from the Emerald Isle …
It was a busy month for Irish boxers - to start us off on 1 October MGM trio Declan Geraghty, Stephen Ormond and Con Sheehan were all in action.
Dublin's 'Pretty Boy' Geraghty cruised into Irish title contention with an eight round points decision victory over Nicaraguan Tellez Johnson at the Bellahouston Leisure Centre in Glasgow. Geraghty (13-1) has been calling for a step-up in opponent for quite some time now, and the slick southpaw will finally be granted his wish as he has been matched up in a mouth-watering Dublin v Belfast super-featherweight Irish title bout with Belfast's big punching James Tennyson (16-2), scheduled for December subject to them both coming through their respective warm-up bouts on Boxnation's 'Homecoming' show on 5 November.
However, there was a shock KO defeat for world-title chasing Stephen Ormond against Zoltan Szabo (12-1) of Hungary in Glasgow on his MGM debut. Ormond tasted the canvas for the first time in his career in the first round after being caught by Szabo with a beautifully timed counter right hook, but recovered well to see out the rest of the opening stanza.
Ormond took over the fight after the first and was looking comfortable for the points win but was caught in the fifth of the scheduled six-rounder with a well-placed left hook to the body which sent the Clondalkin man and his world title ambitions crumbling to the canvas. The 33-year old now faces a rebuilding process under MGM after a rather disappointing few months with missed weight cuts and a split with previous promoters Murphys Boxing. But 'Ste' wont have to wait long to put that defeat behind him as he enters the ring again on 5 November against a former opponent of Geraghty, Daniel Bazo (3-10-3).
Con Sheehan (3-0) continued his rise through the heavyweight ranks, picking up the first stoppage victory of his career in the first round of the scheduled eight rounder against Radek Varak in Manchester. The Clonmel man is now eligible to fight for the Irish title and has expressed himself more than happy to face off with fellow Irish heavyweights Sean Turner and Niall Kennedy at this early stage of his career.
These three lads are no strangers to each other, having fought as amateurs and they all have signalled their intention to claim the vacant belt last held by Tyson Fury. Con and Peter Fury were hopeful a bout with English heavyweight David Allen (9-1-1) could be made for Boxnation's Belfast card on 5 November but, unfortunately for Sheehan, Allen notified his followers on Twitter that the bout with Sheehan was "off the table" as "the money wasn't good that's all, wasn't worth the risk". Although the fight couldn't be secured, it's a great signal of intent from Sheehan and Fury that they aren't looking to hang around fighting journeymen.
Kennedy stretched his record to 6-0 with a tough six-round points victory over Henry Namauu (now 10-9) on 15 October and next appears at the National Stadium on 5 November, while 'Big Sexy' Sean Turner and Sheehan both next appear on the same date on the Boxnation card in Belfast.
On 7 October, Ireland's 'worst kept secret' Phil Sutcliffe Jr (11-1) picked up a win on his MGM debut. His opponent Edvinas Puplauskas (3-4) was disqualified for persistent butting in the fourth round of the scheduled six. 'Succo' will now be unleashed to the British public on 5 November live on Boxnation in the huge step-up fight that he has been campaigning for. The Crumlin super-lightweight is regarded by many as the pound-for-pound hardest puncher in Ireland and will finally get to showcase his talent against two-time British title challenger Chris Jenkins (16-1-1).
Jenkins fought to a majority draw with Tyrone Nurse for the vacant Lonsdale belt on the Scott Quigg vs Kiko Martinez card in Manchester last year, and the pair traded leather again four months later at the same venue, this time Jenkins had Nurse down in the fifth but eventually lost out on a close points decision to the reigning champion, who has since successfully defended against Scotland's Willie Limond and Hull's Tommy Coyle.
On 7 October, the 2014 Commonwealth Games medallist Connor Coyle made his professional debut with a first round stoppage of Euris Silverio at the A La Carte Event Pavilion, Tampa, Florida. The Derry City light-middleweight will make his Irish debut on 5 November in Dublin when he fights on Red Corner Promotions' 'Inception' bill at the National Stadium headlined by the Luke Keeler vs Bradley Pryce contest.
Belfast lightweight Paul Hyland Jr stretched his unbeaten record to 13-0 with a Fight of the Year candidate as Ireland's busiest promoter Mark Dunlop returned to the Europa Hotel in Belfast for another sold-out dinner show on 8 October. The MHD Promoted 'Another Level' was dealt a massive blow during fight week as Hyland's original opponent Felix Mora had to withdraw having been denied a visa from the UK Embassy in Madrid.
Dunlop was quick in installing another opponent, with Nicaraguan Nelson Altamirano (10-7) flying in to fight outside his homeland for the first time. The late-replacement outweighed Hyland Jr by over a stone at the weigh-in, but 'Hylo' brought the war to Altamirano, downing his opponent in the third on his way to a points victory after eight rounds, with referee Hugh Russell Jr scoring the bout 80-71 in favour of the Belfast man.
On the undercard super-bantamweight Tyrone 'White Chocolate' McCullagh stopped tough journeyman Edwin Tellez in the fourth of the scheduled six rounds to lift his unbeaten record to 5-0 with four stoppages. The durable Tellez had only been stopped by featherweight WBC International champion Josh Warrington in his previous seventeen bouts but was down at the end of the opening stanza from a counter right hand from the southpaw McCullagh. In a little over a year Nicaraguan Tellez (11-26-5) has twice taken former world title challenger and European champion Stephane Jamoye the distance, and has also extended former world champion Stuart Hall the full course, but he had no answer for the power of Derry City's rising star as referee John Lowey waved the bout off with thirty seconds remaining of the fourth round.
Elsewhere on the card, Dublin cruiserweight Ian Tims outpointed a familiar foe in Lithuanian Remigijus Ziausys (20-68-5) who he also beat back in 2008. The 36-year-old 'Timsey' (12-3) was making his MGM debut having not fought for eleven months, but he looked comfortable throughout the six rounder and hopes for one final push towards titles in his career.
Coalisland lightweight Feargal McCrory moved to 3-0 with a points win over Ivailo Boyanov (2-5-1) and immediately called for an All-Irish bout with headliner Hyland Jr. Feargal has been campaigning for the fight since the summer, but has been urged by Hyland Jr to fight in an eight round contest first so that a fight between the undefeated pair could be made for the vacant Irish title. "I'd fight Hylo next week. I come, I bring the money, let's make me and Hylo happen," the southpaw told irishboxing.com.
Also on the card Dublin's Jay Byrne beat awkward journeyman Liam Griffiths (4-67-1) to move to 2-0, and 2015 Irish amateur Intermediate champion Carl McDonald made a successful professional debut outpointing Kamil Jaworek (3-3) of Poland.
Belfast bantamweight Ryan Burnett faced the first major step-up of his career on 15 October as he travelled to former European champion Ryan Farrag's backyard at the Echo Arena in Liverpool for the first defence of his British title. Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn stated before Burnett's last fight with Cesar Ramirez that he wants the slickster to be fighting in Belfast for a world title after his next three bouts. Farrag was test number two since then, and Burnett rose to the occasion magnificently, producing a career-best performance in moving to 15-0 and reducing Farrag to 16-3 via a unanimous points decision victory.
Portlaoise super-bantamweight TJ 'The Power' Doheny headlined the Murphys Boxing 'Monster Brawl' at the Memorial Hall, Melrose, Massachusetts on 15 October. The unbeaten Doheny (now 16-0) had his opponent Ernesto Guerrero (23-20) down four times on his way to a second round TKO victory.
Doheny has been world ranked with the IBF and WBA and has moved from Australia to Boston for better sparring to further his career. He holds wins in the amateurs against British featherweight champion Ryan Walsh and two-weight world champion Carl Frampton, but left Ireland to start his professional career in Australia back in 2012 and picked up the PABA super-bantamweight title in just his fifth pro fight, defending it successfully six times 'down under' before announcing in August this year that he was moving stateside. TJ will be coached by Hector Bermudez in Massachusetts.
Stephen 'Shorty' Carroll (4-0) continued his upward trajectory in Motherwell on 21 October with the first stoppage win of his career against Scottish journeyman Giuseppe Daprato (1-11). The Dublin super-lightweight will now focus on topping the bill on 26 November at Shorts Sports and Recreation Club in Belfast against James Gorman (8-28-1) in an eight rounder for the Celtic Nations title.
On the undercard the likeable Alec Bazza will look to pick up the first win of his career against unbeaten Mathew Fitzsimons in a lightweight battle of Belfast. Luke Wilton, Matthew Wilton, Ger Whitehouse and Casey Blair are also all set to feature.
To close the month off unbeaten super-featherweight Jono Carroll was in action for the second time in five weeks, outpointing Poland’s Damian Lawniczak at the Meadowbank arena in Edinburgh to push his record to 12-0. In the days following his victory Carroll had some choice words for former opponent and MGM stablemate Declan Geraghty, who he defeated via disqualification back in 2014 when 'Deco' had one point deducted for use of the elbow before being disqualified for illegal use of the head while up 30-28 on the scorecards after the third round.
When asked about a potential rematch in an interview with FightStoreMedia, Geraghty claimed: "I would fight him tomorrow because I do believe that every day of the week I am better than him. That day was a one off, and I still won that fight, it wasn’t a loss it was a disqualification. I was winning the fight, it would be different if I was losing. I was winning on all judges’ cards going into the last minute."
'King Kong' Carroll took exception to some of Geraghty's comments and took to social media to declare: "All your fans should all remember I was out of the ring for two years with a broken hand, then after that had one fight a year for two years. Eleven months out before our fight and I still had you rocked and out on your feet. You're going to get smashed up when we meet I promise you that." The Irish Eye will continue to monitor this rivalry, for sure!