Niall Kennedy blasted his way to the first title of his pro career tonight in America.
The Wexford heavyweight won the vacant Massachusetts State title via stoppage at the House of Blues in Boston on the Murphys Boxing St Patrick’s Clash 2 card.
Here, in his first eight rounder, Kennedy took a massive step up to face Jesse Barboza, a recent challenger for the New England title and a three-time New England Golden Gloves champion in the amateurs.
Kennedy, an Elite Senior finalist himself, had too much for his tough foe, and scored a final round knockout after dominating much of the bout.
Gorey Garda Kennedy would edge a scrappy opener on activity before the bout exploded into action in the second with ‘Boom Boom Baz’ hurting Barboza early. The American was wrestled to the canvas, correctly being ruled a knockdown, but was in serious trouble, looking to clinch and survive as Kennedy poured forward in search of a stoppage.
Barboza made it out of the round, and looked to have regained his senses for the third, but was content to play second fiddle in what was a quiet stanza.
A much closer fourth saw Barboza land more than his fair share as he took over as the aggressor, but Kennedy regained the upper hand off the jab as the bout enter its second half.
Barboza pushed hard in the sixth, however Kennedy was beginning to cope with this pressure more easily, with his impressive footwork paying dividends.
Entering the seventh round for the first time in his career, Kennedy looked much the fitter, and stunned Barboza numerous times as the Hyannis big man retreated into his shell.
Barboza came out firing in the final round, but Kennedy took control almost immediately, stunning his with another good uppercut on the inside. The local fighter was a spent force by this time, and his output had reduced to nothing, allowing Kennedy to charge forward with a flurry of unanswered shots, leaving Barboza limply tangled in the ropes and counted out.
The impressive win sees Kennedy move to 8(5)-0, while Jesse Barbosa falls to 11(7)-4(2)-1
Jamie Conlan joins Gavan Casey and Joe O’Neill for Episode 3 of The Irish Boxing Show: