By David Boyle, at the Ulster Hall Belfast: Returning to Irish Shores for the first time since his failed world title tilt in Boston, Belfast’s James Tennyson started the rebuilding process towards another world title shot, by clinically dispatching Garry Neale inside two rounds.
Entering the ring, Neale appeared in confident mood, having built his career with 10 straight wins. It became clear from the outset that he was out of his depth and overmatched on this occasion.
Tennyson took the centre of the ring early on, sitting behind a strong jab and raining in crisp body shots. Neale was game and answered back continuously, before being thrown to the canvas by the strength of Tennyson. This got the crowd going and from then on it was all downhill for the Englishman.
Tennyson started round two, fast, again behind the jab and following up with accurate uppercuts from both hands. Neale, under pressure, fought back bravely however, a number of clipping right hooks to the head sent him onto his knees. Gamely rising to beat the coun,t Neale attempted to fight back, but Tennyson was not going to be denied.
Pushing his opponent back Tennyson attacked continuously and after another barrage of blows Neale was down again. This time shaking his head Neale did not rise for the count. Tennyson had knocked all the fight out of the Portsmouth based boxer and claimed victory to the joy of the raucous crowd.
Feargal McCrory Karl defeats Kelly in a barnstormer to win Irish Lightweight Title
The iconic Ulster Hall provided the backdrop for an Irish lightweight Title fight that stole the show. A typical Belfast vs Dublin grudge affair turned into a spectacle as McCrory gained the title with a ninth round stoppage of Karl Kelly. The atmosphere was electric as the Belfast man, McCrory started brightly clipping the aggressive Dubliner and pushing forward.
Round two brought the start of a fight that ebbed and flowed with both men taking the ascendency at different times during the bout. With each fighter cut over their left eyes both landed cleaning throughout the round.
During the middle rounds it was Kelly who took control of the fight bobbing and weaving as he landed crisp hooks to McCrory static head. McCrory weathered the storm and came back in the eighth round by catching Kelly cleanly as he boar forward.
McCrory took complete control in the ninth round and pinned Kelly into the neutral corner with a flurry of unanswered punches before the referee split the fighters up. Kelly unsteadily came forward only to be caught by some well timed straight right hands. Retreating into the red corner Kelly again was pinned to the ropes and after another series of unanswered flurries the referee stopped the fight, saving Kelly from further punishment.
McCrory extended his unbeaten record to 10-0 and is clearly ready for a step up in class. More defensive work will be required in the gym, because the Belfast native cannot continue to be caught by stronger opposition as cleanly as Kelly had.
Paul Hyland Jnr continued his development with an impressive win against strong opposition in Miroslav Serban. Hyland had to rise from the canvas in round five before winning the fight 78-74 in the end.
Tommy McCarthy marked signing a promotional contract with Eddie Hearns’s Matchroom Boxing with a routine victory against a tame Jiri Svacina. The European boxer did not come to fight at all and McCarthy struggled to break down the continually retreating Svacina. Winning every round McCarthy can only hope for more game opposition going forward.
Cathy McAteer started her pro career with a thrilling victory over Sonia Klos. Luke Wilton and Mathew Fitzsimons also were victorious on a fabulous night of boxing.