A REALLY good performance from Carl Frampton to take the IBF super-bantamweight title from Kiko Martinez.
Carl kept his cool, and I imagine was boxing to strict orders from his team, which must have been very, very hard with all the thousands of fans urging him on and wanting him to stand and have a tear up. Kiko, on the other hand, seemed to have a strange game plan which looked like, keep moving forward, don’t throw many punches, have a wild swing now and again and hope Mother Superior is smiling down on you. Well she wasn’t on Saturday night and none of the judges were either. I got a sight of the American judge, Dennis Nelson, he was in shrouded with overcoats and looked frozen but got it right on the night.
I like the super-flyweight fight between Jamie Conlan and Jose Estrella, I thought Estrella put in a fine performance, always competitive and gave Conlon some rocky moments. In fact, I thought the fifth round was won by a mile for Estrela and had I been a judge I would have scored that round 10-8 in his favour.
In total contrast the middleweight bout between Eamonn O’Kane and Vergilijus Stapulionis was an absolute nightmare for the referee, the audience, the cornermen and probably the fighters. There was not a clean punch thrown in the fight, which thank God ended in the fourth round on a technical decision with the Lithuanian cut badly from an accidental clash of heads. The main talking point for me was the deduction of one point from Stapulionis because when he was taken to the corner to wipe the blood from the cut the cornerman started to treat the injury which is not allowed – he was only required to clean the blood away. If nothing else it’s a lesson for cornermen and probably referees. Whether I would have done the same is debatable, I think you have to be in the situation at the time and go with your instincts, at least the injury put us all out of our misery. That said, I have refereed Eamonn and I know he is far better than what was produced on the night.
A polished performance from Marco McCullough against the former world light-flyweight champion Dmitry Kirilov, breaking him down and forcing him to retire in the eighth round.
All in all, a highly entertaining show.