Belfast’s New Star – Lewis Crocker scores headline KO at Ulster Hall

Lewis Crocker proved he is headline material with a dominant display in Belfast tonight.

Topping the Conlan Boxing bill at the Ulster Hall, the Sandy Row welter destroyed game Armenian Artem Haroyan, scoring a seventh round stoppage on a raucous night.

Against a tough and tricky opponent, 24-year-old Crocker gradually broke Haroyan down and brought the house down in the sixth and seventh with knockdowns that closed the show.

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For Crocker it was the second defence of a belt he impressively won versus Louis Greene last year. Having excitingly reclaimed the strap versus Deniz Ilbay in March, replacement opponent Haroyan was something of a step down on paper but ‘The Croc’ gobbled him up efficiently and will likely see him improve his #10 ranking with the WBO.

The Armenian had spent the majority of his career at lightweight and light welter, with his two major fights ending in a points loss to Spaniard Samuel Molina and a third round stoppage loss to German Timo Schwarzkopf. He fought gamely here but couldn’t last with the Irish power puncher.

The size difference was evident from the opening bell with Crocker wobbling Haroyan in the early exchanges. The Armenian was fighting furiously to keep up with Crocker who marched forward economically and lashing in hooks.

Punching through the guard and gloves of Haroyan, Crocker bullied his foe in the second, an open and exciting round.

Crocker’s punches were having a visible effect in the third round but Haroyan, to his credit, was hanging in there and even timed the Belfast boxer well in one exchange.

The pace slowed noticeably in the fourth but Crocker picked things up in the fifth with an especially strong finish, jarring the impressively energetic Haroyan.

Crocker finally made his breakthrough in the sixth stanza, a left hook upstairs sending Haroyan crumpling into the ropes. With the electricity in the arena crackling, the young prospect went in for the kill, trading wildly and dangerously but both saw out the round.

Calming things down, Crocker brought about the stoppage with a flurry finishing with a left hook to the body that sent Haroyan down for the count and sent the Ulster Hall into raptures.

The win sees Crocker improve his flawless professional record to 14(8)-0 and he will be keenly watching the next update of the WBO rankings as he climbs towards a belt currently held by P4P star Terence Crawford. Meanwhile, the outgunned Haroyan drops to 17(9)-3(2)-1 having felt the full snap of ‘The Croc’.

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie