The Irish Eye: April part 2
John Hutchinson, Katie Taylor and Christopher Blaney are among the Irish talent in part 2 of Kane Clarke's round-up of Emerald Isle action from April...
The 'Buncrana Banger' John Hutcinson continued his winning streak on 20 April with a third round KO of Pumat Saenprom at the Ratirat Villege, Sainoi, Nonthaburi, Thailand.
The Donegal man, has been training out in Thailand recently, and picked up his fifth straight win since returning from a nineteen-month ring hiatus in May last year to improve his overall record to 10-2-2.
The 30-year old MTK fighter fought at the top of the bill on the televised event after sparring and cutting the main event home fighter in preparation for their respective bouts.
And whilst there has been no footage of the full fight released, you can watch Hutchinson's sickening body blow that finished the fight HERE, thanks to irish-boxing.com.
Navan super-middleweight Christopher Blaney became the first Irishman to fight on a BT Sport/Boxnation card since the two started working together earlier this year, and picked up a hard-fought points decision against tough journeyman Christian Hoskins Gomez, at the Leicester Arena, Leicester on 22 April.
The 'Ginger Ninja' was stepping up to six rounds for the first time in his professional career and stepping up his level of opponent. Spaniard Gomez holds a draw over Dublin's Ciaran Mullen back in 2015, has already beaten some up and coming prospects in his 29-bout career thus far. But the Ricky Hatton trained Blaney outgunned the young journeyman and took the decision 58-56 on referee Kevin Parker's scorecard, to improve his record to 6(3)-0, whilst Gomez falls to 5(1)-21(2)-3.
Speaking to irish-boxing.com afterwards, the unbeaten 25-year-old said: “We knew exactly what he was going to bring and we prepared for it. He just came forwards and he was always in my face. It was a good learning experience, probably my toughest to date, and I loved every minute of it.”
“Ricky told me afterwards that I hurt Hoskin Gomez a few times, but he disguised it well and I didn’t really notice it. In the last round he spat out his gum shield so I think I was getting to him. Looking back, I think that maybe if I’d have had a round or two more I might have gotten him out of there.
“It was my first six rounder and I think it went well. The last three rounds were probably my best so I think I’ll get better and show even more when I get into longer fights.”
Blaney next fights at the Red Corner Promotions 'Honour and Pride' bill at the National Stadium, Dublin on 24 June in another six-round contest and told his followers on social media that he was "ready to go to war again, with another tough opponent named".
Kieran Farrell's Viva La Vicious promotions branched out into the buzzing Irish boxing scene with 'A New Era' at the Devenish Complex, Belfast on 22 April, and served up a well-matched card from top to bottom, with seven entertaining bouts, and only one stoppage on the night.
The single stoppage came in the main event as Coalisland's 'Fearless' Feargal McCrory took out the 'Scouse Maidana' Jay 'Bam Bam' Carney in the fourth round of their scheduled eight-round contest.
Fighting at super featherweight for the first time, McCrory flew out of the blocks like a man on a mission, repeatedly forcing Carney to the ropes where he would unload with hurtful combinations to the body and head, which resulted in Carney needing attention for a cut under the eye at the end of the opening stanza.
The bout was billed as a 50/50 fight in the lead up to the event, but McCrory felt otherwise and continued to punish the Liverpudlian throughout the second and third rounds before eventually forcing referee John Lowey to call a halt to the bout with just two seconds left of the fourth after another hurtful flurry from the well-supported McCrory.
McCrory sees his professional record rise to 5(2)-0 whilst 'Bam Bam' Carney fell to 5(3)-2(1)-2. Unfortunately Carney had to be taken to hospital after the first stoppage loss of his career, which also ruled him out of the massive Joshua vs Klitschko card at Wembley were he was expected to fight the following week.
When McCrory spoke to irish-boxing.com after the impressive win, he quickly stated that: “they said it was a 50-50, I trained hard to make sure it wasn’t ... I genuinely believed that I was better than him.”
McCrory was headlining a card for the first time, and was also stepping up to eight rounds, he explained: “It was a nice experience. It was something I’ve learned a lot from and that I’ll take with me going forward. It was also a great motivational factor and it give me that extra push when things were tough.”
Touching on slimming down to super feather, the Ulsterman said: “I felt as strong as I’ve always felt but I think my power had a much bigger effect. I could see it in his eyes that I was hurting him with almost every shot. I felt very sharp though, sharper than I’ve ever felt before.”
On what's next for the John Breen trained fighter, he teased: “I’ve had some possible news on a next fight but it’s all a bit hush hush at the moment – it could be a big one.”
And a big one it was. It was announced just this week that McCrory will feature on the undercard of Ryan Burnett's world-title challenge Lee Haskins on 10 June at the SSE Arena, Belfast.
In the co-main event of the night, 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Sean McGlinchey made his long-awaited debut under new coach and former cruiserweight world champion Glenn McCrory.
The Derry super middleweight gave away over a stone in weight to his experienced opponent Josef Obeslo, and was made to slug it out in an entertaining four-round battle with the Central European, before taking the decision on referee John Lowey's scorecard 40-36.
Speaking to irish-boxing.com post fight, the 24-year-old said: “In the first round I let him know what I was there for. I’ve got power and I rocked that boy a few times. No excuses, he weighed in a stone heavier, but his power didn’t phase me in any way. He was in with a lot of good boys and I hurt him.
“You know though, if you go for a knockout, it doesn’t happen. I thought I boxed well the way through, I boxed the way Glenn [McCrory, coach] was telling me. I feel happy with my performance.”
Elsewhere on the undercard, there was another debutant in Belfast's Sean Higginson who would face-off with well-respected Journeyman Jamie Quinn.
The John Breen-trained super featherweight put on an impressive display that was full of energy and crowd pleasing shots on his way to a 40-35 decision win, with Quinn having been deducted a point in the second for excessive pushing.
Speaking to irish-boxing.com after the bout, the 22-year-old said: “I felt it went great, I felt fresh. It was a tough four rounds, but I felt fit and I felt strong.
“A lot of people said that, after the second and third, they thought I was going to gas out – but I could have went there another two or three rounds to be honest!”
Also on the undercard there was an impressive win for popular Belfast man Gerard Healy as he returned to the ring after two years out, and took on former foe William Warburton, who holds a win over Healy from 2012, and is widely known as one of the most dangerous journeymen on the circuit
Healy now trains under the tutelage of former pros Ray Ginley and David Walsh at the newly formed Immanuel Boxing Academy, and the changes to his style were evident right from the opening bell, as Healy put on a career-best performance to easily outpoint Warburton 40-36 on the referee's scorecard, to lift his record to 6(0)-4(1)-1, whilst Warburton falls to 23(4)-111(2)-9.
Speaking to irish-boxing.com after the bout, the 33-year-old super welter explained how: “I had to get all these doubts out of my head. Me and Ray sat down, we talked about it, and I said that I was going to start with the hardest [possible fight]. Gerard Healy always starts with the hardest. William has a lot of big wins and he’s no easy task.
"The relationship between me, Dee, and Ray, all the lads in the gym, everything’s been going great. Me and Ray have been training since before Christmas, getting ready for a fight. Thank God Kieran [Farrell, manager] came over and signed a load of boys."
“Ray and Dee are taking me to an Irish title shot,” Healy then proclaimed. “Everybody else has had their turn, it’s time for me to get my shot. Either middleweight or light middleweight, I’m easy, I’ll fight anybody. I’m coming for that Irish title, it’s my time.”
Another boxer making his comeback at the Devenish Complex was 6' 2" super-featherweight Mathew 'The Freak' Fitzsimons. The 20-year-old was given an awkward opponent for his comeback in Michael Barnor, who fought Derry's Tyrone McCullagh just last month at the same venue, but 'The Freak' boxed brilliantly to easily outpoint the 31-year-old Ghanaian southpaw, and took the points decision on John Lowey's scorecard 40-36 to improve his perfect record to 3(2)-0, while Barnor slipped to 14(10)-10(6)-2.
Another fighter training under the newly formed Immanuel Boxing Acadamy, and clearly reaping the benefits, a jovial Fitzsimons spoke to irish-boxing.com post-fight, and stated: “It’s brilliant to be back after an 18-month lay-off. It was good to get in and have a good performance, control the fight.”
Explaining what made him jump back into the ring after nearly two years out, Fitzsimons said: “Dee messaged me on Twitter saying about Kieran Farrell coming to Belfast, so I asked Dee to train me and it all just took off from there. Ray had a gym, he was training Lewis [Crocker] and Gerard [Healy], and Mark Morris, so it all just came together perfectly.
“You saw my performance in there, compared to my last fight, I’m a completely different fighter and that’s because of Dee and Ray, teaching me ever single day.”
On a night of comebacks, Belfast's Mark Morris made his long-awaited return after just over two years out of the ring, and took on another tough journeyman in Antonio Horvatic who had taken Ciaran McVarnock through his paces in the Devenish complex in March.
Returning to boxing as another member of Immanuel Boxing Academy, the 28-year-old lightweight looked in tremendous shape as he outpointed the game and bloodied Croat over four rounds. 'The Reaper' Morris ups his record to 3(1)-1 after the bout, and spoke to irish-boxing.com afterwards, telling them: “It’s good to be back! Two years out so I’m finding my feet now again. I was comfortable and I didn’t push it, I was just using the jab. I wanted to get the four rounds in, I wanted to see where my fitness is.
“I’m down with Dee and Ray and they’re looking after me well. They’ve two different styles so I’m learning both ways. Everyone’s plan always is to win titles. I just need to get the fights under my belt,make sure my hands stay okay, and win titles!”
Dublin heavyweight Sean 'Big Sexy' Turner suffered the first loss of his professional career on 22 April in Solihull, going down 77-75 to ultra-tough Pole Kamil Sokolowski after eight hard-fought rounds.
Sokolowski is no stranger to Irish boxing fans having given Con Sheehan a tough test back in November last year in a bout which was broadcast live on Boxnation, and he was coming into the bout with Turner in fine form having spectacularly knocked out English prospect AJ Carter earlier in the month.
Whilst many onlookers in the venue felt that Turner done enough to take the decision, it wasn't to be for the Dubliner whose record now stands at 10(6)-1. Turner took to social media afterwards: [It was] My fault. I shouldn't have even left that fight to the judges, [I] left it to late. First eight rounder, live and learn, clever fighter him."
Big Sexy - now trained by Katie Taylor's father Peter - was rumoured to be facing off against Sheehan in June for the Irish title, but this looks unlikely now as Turner targets an immediate rematch with the dangerous Pole.
Last but not least, the 'Queen of Irish Boxing' Katie Taylor took another major step towards world honours on 29 April, fighting on the massive Joshua vs Klitschko undercard at Wembley Stadium.
Fighting for the fifth time in five months since making her debut at the tail end of November, Taylor picked up the WBA Inter-Continental title in a bout that also doubled as a world title eliminator, with a seventh round stoppage of unbeaten German southpaw - Nina Meinke.
Meinke has a solid background in amateur boxing and had raced to 5-0 in just under a year, but right from the off it was clear to see that there was a huge gulf in class between the pair, as Taylor teed of with vicious combinations to the body and head in which we are becoming well accustomed to seeing.
Taylor tweeted post fight" "What a show! Incredible to be part of boxing history last night. A special night. Thanks to everyone for the support."
A world title shot for Taylor (now 5(3)-0) has been mooted for quite some time now for October or November and is expected to take place in Dublin.