By Stephen Tobey at ringside in Gilford, N.H. – According to Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan, somewhere in his family tree is former world heavyweight champion John L. Sullivan.
As a tribute to his distant relative, the middleweight from Cork, Ireland entered the ring at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion for his eight-round main event against Jamie Barboza on Saturday sporting a shaved head, a handlebar moustache and black leggings.
The fight was equally old-school, contested mostly at close range, and he won a unanimous decision.
Mike Nolin and Martha Tremblay scored the bout 78-74 and Laurie Purcell scored it 79-72.
It was the first fight for O’Sullivan (23-2, 15 knockouts) since Dec. 12, 2015, when Chris Eubank, Jr. stopped him in seven rounds in a World Boxing Association title eliminator.
Barboza, of San Jose, Costa Rica, dropped to 19-9, (9).
O’Sullivan dropped Barboza in the seventh round with an overhand right. In the eighth, O’Sullivan drove Barboza into the ropes with a left hook.
“”I was a little rusty,” O’Sullivan said. “I was just working my way back into it.”
For most of the fight, they leaned in on each other, chest-to-chest. Earlier in the fight, when O’Sullivan tried to give himself a little more room, he caught a head butt and sustained a cut on his left eyelid.
“I would have preferred to have a little more distance,” he said. Though he lives in Ireland, the 34-year-old O’Sullivan has fought six times in the New England area. His promoter, Ken Casey, is based in Boston. The card was part of a day-long Irish festival that included a performance from Casey’s band, the Dropkick Murphys, and the Pogues in addition to seven pro bouts.
An estimated 5,000 fans attended the day’s boxing and music events in the open-air facility on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee. O’Sullivan’s eventual goal is to face world middleweight champion Gannedy Golovkin. He’s working on getting a fight in November against 2012 Olympic Bronze medalist Anthony Ogogo.
“I’m happy with it,” O’Sullivan said. “I plan on being more busy.”
In the co-main event, Mark DeLuca of Whitman, Massachusetts won an eight-round unanimous decision against Matthew Strode of Hickory, North Carolina.
Nolin scored it 79-72, Purcell scored it 78-72 and Tremblay scored it 80-70.
DeLuca (16-0, 10 KOs) dropped Strode twice in the fourth, both with right hands. By the end of the round, there was swelling around Strode’s eyes.
Strode (24-3, 9 KOs) was more effective in the sixth, landing some solid right hands to the head. DeLuca regained control in the final two rounds and drilled Strode with three successive left hooks in the eighth.
New England lightweight champion Carlos Candelario of Lawrence, Massachusetts earned a stopped victory over Columbus, Ohio’s Michael Clark when Clark sustained an injury to his right hand in the second round of a scheduled eight with no title on the line.
Early in the second, Clark landed a right hand to Candelario’s jaw. He shook his hand and told referee Mike Ryan that something was wrong. After ringside physician Brian Claussen examined Clark, the fight was over at 1:24. Caldelario improved to 8-1 (4). Clark dropped to 44-16-1 (16).
Both men had their moments in the first. Candelario landed some solid body shots early in the round and dropped Clark with a right to the top of the head at the midway point. Clark rallied in the final minute and landed a right hand that briefly wobbled Candelario.
Steve Collins, Jr. of Dublin, Ireland, the son of former world super middleweight champion Steve Collins knocked out Christiano Pedro of Lewiston, Maine in the second round of a four-round cruiserweight contest.
Collins (9-0-1 4 KOs) put Perdo on the canvas face-first with a right to the head. Referee Johnny Callas reached the count of 10 at 2 minutes.
Pedro dropped to 1-1.
Welterweight Mike Probin of Lewiston, Maine won a four-round unanimous decision against Anthony Everertt of Lawrence, Massachusetts. Nolin and Purcell scored it 39-37 and Purcell scored it 39-37. Probin is now 2-0 and Everett is 1-4.
Jonathan Perez of Lowell, Massachusetts stopped Daron Hester of Wilson, North Carolina in the first round of a scheduled four at featherweight. Johnny Callas stopped the fight 33 seconds after it started. Perez is now 2-0; Hester is 0-3.
Light heavyweight Fredeiric Julian of New York knocked out Ralph Johnson of Worcester, Massachusetts in the first of four-round contest. Julian is now 2-0 (1). Johnson, 2-8 (1).
September 17 2016