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Super Split – Foley defends WBA Oceania belt & claims OPBF title amidst confusion in Sydney

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Darragh Foley has defended his WBA Oceania title for a third time and wrapped another rankings bet around his waist following a hard-hitting win this afternoon in Sydney.

The Blanchardstown light welterweight southpaw defeated Filipino Jeffrey Arienza on a split technical decision Down Under – with chaos and confusion greeting the result after the fight was stopped in the fifth round.

Foley had been due to face Venezuela Jaider Parra, however the South American was booted after it emerged that he had failed a drug test for his WBA Inter-Continental title-winning stoppage upset against Spaniard Nicolas Gonzalez in January. Arienza was drafted in, and the vacant OPBF title was added to the mix.

A competitive back and forth slugfest, Foley used his size well to land big shots from the outside, but the swarming Arienza was having success when allowed inside.

The exciting fight was however stopped in the fifth as an accidental clash of heads left Arienza unable to continue.

Going to a cards, the scores of the four completed rounds were tallied, with Foley taking the win on scorelines of 39:37 and 40:36, with one judge giving a 39:37 nod to the South East Asian.

However, there was confusion as the boxers awaited the announcement of the third and decisive card, and when the MC declared “and the new,” in reference to the OBPF belt, there were delirious scenes from the Filipino’s corner, who believed that it was the WBA Oceania belt that the announcer was referring to. Arienza would jump up on the ropes – only to have his joy snatched away as he was quickly told that it was in fact Foley who was the victor.

With the win, Foley moves to 12(8)-2(0), while Arienza drops to 16(10)-6(4)-1.

The win will hopefully see the Irishman improve his #14 ranking with the WBA as well as enter the IBF rankings. The champion of both organisations is Namibian Julius Indongo, who will take on WBO and WBC champion Terence Crawford in a unification in August.

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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