The Irish Eye: February part 1
February was a jam-packed month in Irish boxing, so we are bringing you a special three-part edition of 'The Irish Eye' to make sure every base is covered... First up, Kane Clarke looks at MHD Promotions' 'Inquisition' show from 4 February...
To kick-off a very busy month in Irish boxing, Mark Dunlop and MHD Promotions returned to the Europa Hotel on 4 February with 'Inquisition' for another dinner-boxing show headlined by title chasing lightweight Paul Hyland Jr, who stopped undefeated Hungarian opponent Karoly Gallovich (now 7-1) via first round TKO, just forty-one seconds into the bout.
'Hylo' was making his first step-up to ten rounds on the bill against Gallovich, who was a late addition to the card having seen numerous strong opponents turn down the chance to square off against the 26-year-old Belfast man. However Gallovich was fit, ready and full of confidence having come into the bout off seven wins in twelve weeks since turning pro in November last year.
As the bell sounded to get the bout under way, the sold-out venue was in full voice with chants of "Hylo Hylo" ringing around the hall. The game Gallovich came forward from the off, but was caught with a stinging right hook to the body from Hyland, and as the Hungarian tried to return the favour, he was again caught by a big right hook, this time to the head which stumbled the 23 year-old, forcing him to retreat and cover-up.
Hyland smelt blood and went for the kill, an uppercut forcing Gallovich onto the ropes where Hyland opened up with hooks and uppercuts until his opponent hit the canvas. Referee Hugh Russell Jr waved off the bout before the count could be completed to save Gallovich from any more damage.
Speaking with irish-boxing.com after the bout, Hyland Jr (now 14(5)-0) stated: "I’m surprised that it didn’t go a bit longer, but he dipped right into the shot. He was a lot smaller. The game plan was to work behind my reach, but I threw the uppercut and he dipped right into it. His eye was all swelled up after. I saw him rocked so I jumped on him.
"I was expecting to do the ten hard rounds, but I caught him early and it still paid off, all the hard sparing and training."
The Belfast man is now targeting Scott Cardle's British title having switched his boxing licence from the BUI to the BBBofC having failed to secure an Irish title shot against Geroid Clancy. He will continue his quest for the Lonsdale belt on St. Patrick's Day when he takes on Englishman Peter Cope (14-3) over eight rounds on the Matchroom promoted show at the famous York Hall, London, live on Sky Sports.
Elsewhere on the undercard, Feargal McCrory (4-0) continued his unbeaten start to his professional career with his Hungarian opponent Gyula Tallosi (now 12-18) being disqualified in the fourth and final round for persistent holding.
The well supported Coalisland lightweight knocked his opponent out of the ring after a succession of strong straight right hands from his southpaw stance in the first, after an ugly opening which seen his opponent hell-bent on spoiling.
In the second and third it was more of the same, McCrory landing the big left hands and Tallosi continuing to grab and hold and any given opportunity. Referee Jason McKay was left with no option other than to deduct points in each round from the journeyman who, at one point during the third, pulled the legs from under the John Breen trained fighter, forcing him to the floor.
The 24 year-old southpaw would return the favour legally in the same round, when he again downed the tiring Tallosi with a succession of left and right hands in the final moments of the round. The bout was eventually waved off at the start of the fourth with the Hungarian again holding, and spitting out his mouthguard for the second time.
Speaking with irish-boxing.com after the bout, 'Fearless' Feargal stated: "I tried to pick my shots and not get into a war. I thought I used my jab a lot more than I have done. I’ve been boxing really well in training and I was just hoping to perform the way I was training, but sometimes journeymen are just like that. It was what it was."
McCrory will now slim down to super featherweight and step up to eight rounds, to top the bill on Kieran Farrell's first venture into the Irish market on 22 April, with a tough bout against Liverpool's Jay Carney (5-1-2) who is fresh off the back of a big win on the Matchroom promoted show in Hull this past weekend.
Elsewhere on the undercard, undefeated Belfast lightweight Joe Fitzpatrick continued his upward trajectory with a dominant six-round points decision victory over Tamas Laska of Hungary (now 17-13-1).
'The Dragon' (now 7-0) started brilliantly. Judging the range and using his reach effectively, showcasing great head movement and feints to baffle his 20-year-old opponent, making him throw punches he wasn't committed to - 'Fitzy' then punished him with counter shots to the body and head.
Midway through the second, the outclassed Hungarian threw a right hook to the back of Fitzpatrick's head as his back was turned, but nothing could throw the Belfast southpaw from his game plan and his composure remained intact as he saw out the round by landing hurtful body shots to the abdomen of the current Hungarian champion.
The 2014 Commonwealth games silver medallist continued his onslaught throughout the bout using a wide array of combinations as he chased his opponent from pillar to post refusing to give him a moment's respite, with his body shots proving particularly effective.
Speaking with irish-boxing.com post-fight, the Belfast southpaw said: "hopefully I’ll be flying this year and get more fights under my belt. By the end of the year I want to fight for the Irish title because I don’t think there is anyone in Ireland who can beat me. Hopefully this year is a better year for me and I get titles – the Irish title by the end of 2017, I don’t care who I fight for it."
Up next for the 22-year-old Fitzpatrick is a televised bout on Boxnation's return to Belfast on the rescheduled date of 10 March, against an opponent yet to be confirmed.
Dubliner Jay Byrne returned to Belfast and an MHD card for the second time in his short career and had to battle through some adversity to extend his unbeaten record to 3-0 against tough Hungarian opponent Sandor Jozsa (now 3-2-1).
After a frantic opening round, which saw both boxers shift some big shots, Byrne injured his left shoulder in the second, and was also buzzed from a big left hand from Jozsa. The third was a back and forth war with Byrne pulling away towards the end of the stanza. In the final round 'The Negotiator' resorted to single shots to comfortably see out the bout, and was rewarded with the win by 40-36 on judge Hugh Russell Jr's scorecard.
Speaking with irish-boxing.com afterwards, the 30-year old explained: "It was my own fault, I missed a pad and I overextended. Tommy [McCormack] rubbed it out, iced it, the whole lot, and I felt alright getting into the ring, it felt loose. But when that went, I panicked, and I was using just the right arm for a lot of it, and then at the end my right arm just went. it wasn’t sore or anything, I was just overusing it, it was just bollocked!"
Thankfully for Jay and his support, the damage wasn't deemed too bad and he was still able to enter the ring on 25 February, a fight that we will get on to later...
Another Dubliner appearing on the MHD card was 35-year-old flyweight Lynn Harvey. 'The Hunter' was entering the ring for the first time since her defeat to Mary Romero at the National Stadium last year, and took just thirty-seven seconds to dispose of Hungarian export Agnes Draxler.
Harvey flew out of the blocks, landing big right hands on her smaller opponent who had no answer for what was coming her way. Draxler went into survival mode as Lynn kept pushing forward, and was eventually forced to the canvas under a barrage of punches from The Hunter, and referee Russell Jr waved off the bout. Harvey thus picked up her second win as a pro and improved her record to 2-1 while Draxler dropped to 9-14.
Speaking to irish-boxing.com afterwards, Lynn stated: "The main thing that I’ve been learning to do is to throw more punches, more volume, rather than relying on a strong, stiff jab, and that’s what I did."
Obviously it’s a work in progress, but I wanted to throw a lot of punches and I think I did that. I’d say that’s what got her, I was coming from all different angles.I’m happy that I didn’t just come in like I used to with the strong jab."
Harvey, like Byrne, also fought on Red Corner Promotions 'Unfinished Business' card on 25 February which we will be reviewing in one of the next installments of 'The Irish Eye'!