Fight of the week: Rex Tso vs. Hirofumi Mukai just a war with an honourable mention to Jamie Conlan vs. Yader Cardoza
Fighter of the week: Has to be David Lemieux who electrified the crowd in his destruction of Curtis Stevens
Punch of the week: Lemieux’s left hook that flattened Stevens
Upset of the week: Most fight went to the favourites so I guess Filipino Romero Duno’s win over Christian Gonzalez was as close to an upset as we got.
One to watch: Ghanaian Duke Micah with Mexican Joselito Velasquez and Leon Bauer making progress
Belfast, Northern Ireland: Super Fly: Jamie Conlan (19-0) W PTS 12 Yader Cardoza (22-11-1). Super Feather: James Tennyson (18-2) W TKO 6 Declan Geraghty (14-2). Heavy: Sean Turner (10-0.1ND) W KO 2 Igor Mihaljevic (4-8,1ND). Super Light: Tyrone McKenna (13-0-1) W TKO 6 Jake Hanney (5-1). Heavy: Con Sheehan (5-0) W PTS 8 Ferenc Zsalek (19-56-6). Super Light: Marco McCullough (17-3) W PTS 8 Leonel Hernandez (10-19-2). Bantam: Paddy Barnes (2-0) W PTS 6 Adrian Garzon (10-22). Super Light: Phil Sutcliffe Jr (13-1) W TKO 4 Miguel Aguilar (11-32-1).
Conlan vs. Cardoza
Conlan gets split decision in a thrilling but tough fight with Cardoza. The first two rounds showed that this was going to be a fast-paced open fight. Conlan made good use of his jab and landed some overhand rights. Cardoza was forcing the action and throwing more punches but being a bit wild and finding Conlan a difficult target. Conlan continued to box behind the jab in the third with Cardoza stepping up the pace and throwing lots of leather. He had some success late in the round but with Conlan countering well. Those rounds had been close but Cardoza dominated the fourth. He was getting home with his jab and landing clubbing rights and left hooks to the body. Conlan boxed beautifully in the fifth popping out the jab slipping Cardoza’s wild punches and scoring with counter lefts. Cardoza got back into the fight in the sixth forcing the pace and getting through with rights. Both had good spells in the seventh with Conlan piercing the Nicaraguan’s guard with jabs and Cardoza pressing hard and scoring to the body and just edging it. The eighth was a big round for Cardoza. He was landing well early and then late in the round he forced Conlan back with a series of punches to the head and the Belfast man slumped down against the ropes. He was up at seven and when the action resumed tired to fight back but was shipping some more punches and was in trouble at the bell. Strangely in the ninth Cardoza did not try to capitalise on his success and allowed Conlan to dictate from the ring centre and take the round with some clever boxing. Cardoza turned up the heat again in the tenth taking the round by just chasing Conlan down and throwing a barrage of punches. At the end of the round Conlan was showing a cut on the eyelid of his left eye. I gave the eleventh to Cardoza. Conlan was boxing well but the blood running down from the cut was getting into his eye which made him more cautious and Cardoza landed the better punches. The last round did not produce any fireworks and it could have gone to either fighter but if pushed I would have given it to Cardoza which in my book would have seen him one point ahead. The judge’s scores were 115-113 and 114-113 for Conlan and 115-112 for Cardoza. It was such a close fight that I have no argument with any of those scores. Conlan, 30, wins the vacant WBC International title. He holds on to his No 2 slot with the WBO but this was a much tougher test than was good for him and the WBO champion Naoya Inoue is a few levels at least above Cardoza. The Nicaraguan challenged for the WBC light flyweight title in 2013 losing on points to Adrian Hernandez. He has fought world title challenger Felix Alvarado three times and lost to another title challenger in Felipe Orucuta. He came to win and was a world away I quality and effort from the current Barcelona-based Nicaraguans who so often fill shows in Europe.
Tennyson vs. Geraghty
Tennyson’s power proves just too much in the end for Geraghty. Southpaw Geraghty was just that bit quicker in the first round and did enough to take it. Tennyson was in charge in the second scoring early with left hooks and then flooring Geraghty with a right. After the eight count Geraghty was willing to stand and trade punches with Tennyson but it was Tennyson who got the better of the exchanges with wicked hooks to the body and uppercuts. The third and fourth were closer with Tennyson pressing hard and Geraghty countering and showing some good defensive work. Geraghty outboxed Tennyson in the fifth. He was boxing beautifully on the retreat and banged home a peach of a straight left to the head and later a left to the body. Tennyson continued to press in the sixth and again was having to eat some counters but was chasing relentlessly. His pressure had Geraghty stumbling back along the ropes and Tennyson landed a right to the body and a left to the head that put Geraghty down. He was up at seven. When the action restarted he tried to get inside but Tennyson landed a series of uppercuts which had Geraghty stumbling back and the referee stopped the fight. Geraghty protested but it looked about right. “The Assassin” Tennyson, 23, makes it 14 wins by KO/TKO and regains the Irish title. He has won 10 of his last 11 fights with the loss being to Ryan Walsh for the British title in April last year and this is a good rebound win. “Pretty Boy” Geraghty showcased his excellent southpaw skills. He had won his last eight fights with his only other loss being on a disqualification. He was a top class amateur and has the talent to come again.
Turner vs. Mihaljevic
Turner blows away substitute Mihaljevic. Turner clobbered the Croatian with a left late in the first and then put him down and out with a right followed by a left hook in the second. The 25-year-old Dublin “Big Sexy” moves to seven wins by KO/TKO. He is a former Irish Youth champion and won a silver medal at the Irish Senior’s Championships. Mihaljevic, 37 is 2-7 in his last 9 fights but one of those two wins was a second round stoppage of Tom Dallas.
McKenna vs. Hanney
McKenna outboxes and then stops Hanney. This was a war from the first bell but in the end it was the power and accuracy of McKenna that won the day. Hanney came out firing punches. Southpaw McKenna had big edges in height and reach and after shipping some good rights from Hanney he settled down and was scoring with good counters. A clash of heads in the second saw McKenna suffer a cut above his left eye which bled for the rest of the fight. Again Hanney was throwing himself into ferocious attacks but was getting caught time and again with hard counters from McKenna. Over the third and fourth McKenna took control. Hanney fought hard but he was too often missing with his punches whilst McKenna was landing head snapping lefts and rights. The fifth was one-sided but Hanney made a fighting start in the sixth. It did not last and soon he was being driven to the ropes and McKenna was unloading with both hands when the referee stopped the fight. Hanney protested but it was a good stoppage. Fifth win by KO/TK0 for the tall 27-year-old from Belfast. The draw on his record was a technical one when he was also cut. Dublin-born Hanney turned pro in Australia and this is his second fight since returning to Ireland.
Sheehan vs. Zsalek
Easy night for Sheehan as he outpoints overweight Hungarian. Sheehan had huge edges in height and reach over the fleshy Zsalek. Sheehan was able to land jabs and clubbing rights to the head as Zsalek presented almost a static target. The fight was too one-sided to be entertaining as Sheehan was able to tee-off on the shorter but heavier Zsalek. Thudding body punches from Sheehan occasionally spurred Zsalek into lunging forward and throwing some hooks but he was too slow and too predictable as Sheehan won every round without really impressing. Referee’s score 80-72 for the 28-year-old 6’5 ½” (197cm) Californian-based Irish fighter. He was Irish champion in 2008/2009/2010/2011 and 2012, won a gold medal at the European Union Championships and competed at the World and European Championships. Zsalek, 31, no real test for Sheehan. He fought a NO Decision with Sean Turner when they were both thrown out for fighting after the bell.
McCullough vs. Hernandez
McCullough makes impressive start but finally has to settle for a points victory. In the first McCullough was banging home sharp rights and left hooks. Hernandez tried to get inside and was nailed by a right counter which put him down. The Nicaraguan is an experienced survivor and he took the fight to McCullough and although rocked again later in the round he made it to the bell. From there although McCullough continued to bang home hard jabs, hooks and uppercuts. Hernandez was never again in danger of being stopped. McCullough wound up the pressure in round after round and although he had Hernandez hurt by body shots the Nicaraguan was still there at the last bell. Referee’s score 80-71. The 27-year-old from Belfast gets his third win since being halted in eight rounds for the Commonwealth title by Isaac Lowe in February last year. He will challenge Ryan Walsh for the British title in May which will be a big fight for him. Hernandez drops to 13 losses in his last 14 fights.
Barnes vs. Garzon
Former amateur star Barnes gets his second win as he is several classes above Argentinian oldie Garzon. Barnes was just too quick for Garzon. The Argentinian had trouble mounting any significant attacks as Bares sped around him peppering him with flashing combinations. Garzon did stop Barnes in his track with a right counter in the first but that was all the success he had. Barnes showed impressive speed and accuracy mixing his punches to head and body. He had Garzon on unsteady legs in the fourth and it was a disappointment that he was unable to stop the older man but he is still learning the pro game and has talent to spare. Referee’s score 60-54 for Barnes. The 29-year-old from Belfast won gold and silver medals at the Commonwealth Games and a gold medal at the European Championships and won bronze medals at both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. It remains to be seen whether he has left it too late to turn pro.”Renegade” Garzon, 40, is now 1-12 in his last 13 fights.
Sutcliffe vs. Aguilar
Sutcliffe keeps busy with win over Nicaraguan. Aguilar looked dangerous briefly in the first but after that it was all Sutcliffe. The Dubliner slowly broke Aguilar down with a body attack and by the fourth Aguilar was effectively finished and shipping punishment when his corner threw in the towel. Sutcliffe’s only loss came on a majority decision against the now European champion Anthony Yigit in May last year. Sutcliffe showed then was in European class and in November scored a good win over Chris Jenkins to emphasise that so 2017 could be a big year for him. Barcelona-based Aguilar is a dismal 0-24-1 in his last 25 fights.