Stephen McAfee and Colin O’Donovan fought to a standstill at the National Stadium on the Celtic Clash 4 bill, with their six-rounder ending in a draw after one of the most sensational rounds in recent memory.
The super featherweights scrap started with McAfee on top, before a strong mid-portion from O’Donovan, which then led into the majestic sixth round.
Despite predictions of all-out war, it was a cagey opener between the two, with McAfee perhaps shading proceedings with one nice right hand.
McAfee upped the pace in the second, hunting O’Donovan to the ropes. ‘The Rebel Rouser’ rolled a lot of shots, but was being outworked. The round ended in O’Donovan’s corner, with McAfee throwing until the close – which was then met with some shots after the bell from the Corkman.
The third began in the same vein, with McAfee the aggressor, before a Rebel resurgence, with O’Donovan bloodying the Dub’s nose and finishing the stronger.
A cracking fourth saw O’Donovan continue his good work, before a toe-to-toe final minute shaded by McAfee.
In a round of two halves, McAfee began the fifth well and looked to have settled into a rhythm before O’Donovan responded with his best period of the fight, unloading eye-catching combinations.
McAfee started the potentially decisive final round at pace, but was caught by sharp counters. The Sallynoggin slugger reset and found his range, splattering ODonovan’s nose across his face. Blood poured down the face of the Leesider who forced McAfee to the corner and went toe-to-toe. The trickle from McAfee’s nose became a flood as the two fighters traded massive shots, white shorts turning claret and faces becoming unrecognisable. Back and forward, back and forward they went to the bell as the rose to their feet.
Going to the cards after a sensational fight, the bout was declared a 58-58 draw.
The result sees McAfee move to 2(2)-0-1, and O’Donovan move to 1(1)-1(1)-1, but that seems almost irrelevant after the fight just witnessed
While not officially so, the bout was effectively an eliminator for the BUI Celtic super featherweight title – however a rematch for the Irish governing body’s secondary title has now become the most obvious option.