Brave Chris Blaney impresses with ballsy display in a tournament he “didn’t suit”


Chris Blaney [10(3)-1(0)] may not have been suited to and may not have won Ireland’s Last Man Standing, but his coach Ricky Hatton is happy he didn’t go out lying down.

One of the favourites to win the eight-man single-elimination tournament which played out in the National Stadium on the first weekend of March exited at the semi-final stage to the impressive Jack Cullen.

The Bolton native with Dublin links negated a strong Blaney first round by putting the Meath middleweight on the seat of his pants in the second and eventually went on to finish runner-up to Roy Sheehan.

‘The Ginja Ninja’, who claims a title fight may not be too far away, was “very disappointed” not only to miss out on the final but not to have won the tournament outright.

However, both he and his team took solace from the fact he got to his feet and went all out to try and reverse the semi-final crisis.

“I thought the Cullen fight was going well,” recalled Blaney to Irish-Boxing.com.

“I was up on the scorecards after the first, got put down in the second and didn’t really recover probably – but still went to him and tried everything.”

“I showed I had heart and balls and that’s something every coach wants to see and Ricky and the team were happy with that,” added the Navan man before expressing sympathy for Cullen, who just minutes after a three round war had to compete in the decider with the talented Sheahan.

“I was glad I wasn’t fighting in the final,” he joked. “I felt a bit sorry for Jack he only had like seven minutes rest but I still feel if it was me in the final I would of went three rounds and went to war with Roy.”

Blaney’s three rounds with the tough Owen Jobburn and the slick Cullen were two of the more entertaining fights in a competition that was broadcast live on TG4.

With viewing figures rumoured, the Manchester-based Irish title hopeful would have certainly won himself a few new fans.

However, that brings little consolation to the well-supported puncher who reasoned that “I definitely think I was in the most entertaining fights on the night, by a mile. A lot of people have told me the same, but I don’t think it will benefit me. I’m in a fight to win and that’s what I’ll try and do even if it is over three rounds.”

Blaney was part of the original line-up and was keen to compete for the €25,000 winners cheque from the start. However, he does suggest the format was never suited to his style.

“It was a great competition but it didn’t suit me. I said it from day one but I thought ‘fuck it’ I might as well enter it since I couldn’t fight for the Irish title,” he explained before stressing what he would like next.

“Hopefully I get out soon for a six rounder and then see what’s there for me. There has been talk of a title fight so we will just have to wait and see I’ll fight anyone it doesn’t bother me.”

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)

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