CARL FRAMPTON was in an unusual situation. He was making a lightweight debut against late replacement Darren Traynor, competing on a quiet, behind-closed-doors show at York Hall and boxing without his accustomed legion of supporters roaring him on.
The size difference between the two men was clear from the start. But as the opening rounds progressed Frampton zeroed in with his jab, controlling the space between the two. Even with flurries of punches it became increasingly hard for Traynor to tag him.
Frampton launched his hard cross in after the jab. He snapped shots into Traynor’s head before going to the body. He was beginning to chop the taller man down. In the sixth round he flung his right hook across and left himself coiled, ready to drill a left hook fully into Traynor’s stomach. The Scotsman flopped to the canvas. But he beat the count and survived the round.
In the next session Frampton applied the finish. He aimed straight punches at the head. A right struck the body. But it was his left cutting through into the body once again that saw Traynor, at 1-00 of the seventh, wave in the referee himself.
Frampton is closing in on his shot at WBO super-featherweight titlist Jamel Herring and the dream of becoming a three-weight world champion.
Michael Conlan, another big name from Belfast, restarted his march towards a world title fight as he dominated Sofiane Takoucht. Conlan changed stances easily, his jab tilting the Frenchman back on his heels before Michael mercilessly set about the former world title challenger’s body. Conlan’s only mistakes were let his punishing hooks wander low. But in that sense he was his own biggest threat in this fight. Twice referee Steve Gray deducted points from him.
But Conlan was winning all the rounds. Accurate left hooks to the body blasted the wind out of Takoucht. He was wilting but digging in. Conlan however made sure of a spectacular finish. In the 10th and final round his lead right hit the body, setting up a monstrous left hook to the chin. Referee Steve Gray had to intervene, at 1-54, as Conlan waded forward with hooking punches ready to scythe down again.
Archie Sharp is highly ranked and aims to get in the equation with the likes of Carl Frampton and WBO super-feather champion Jamel Herring. But he has a lot of work to do to compete at that level. He banked the early rounds against Jeff Ofori but their bout burst into life as the second half progressed. When Ofori managed to close in, he smacked firm lefts into Sharp and grew in strength as the two exchanged. Sharp edged him out, relying on snapping quick single shots into the head, but he has been given plenty of food for thought. Referee Marcus McDonnell scored a narrow 96-95 for Sharp.
A close, scrappy bout with a determined Harry Scarff went Troy Williamson’s way on a close but unanimous decision.
Dennis McCann became just the second man to stop Brett Fidoe, a one punch body shot doing the damage. Another hot prospect, Paddy Donovan also took out his opponent, halting Des Newton in just the first round.