15 February 2010 – By Steve Wellings
Coleman Barrett is the new Irish heavyweight champion following a 10-round points win over Colin Kenna.
It was not all plain sailing for the Galway man, based in London under trainer Jim Evans, as he survived a torrid second round after a chopping right hand had Barretts senses scrambling. The 27-year-old hung on for dear life and shipped a few more tasty punches from Kenna throughout the contest but was never seriously hurt again and the win helps breathe new life into a title that has lay stagnant domestically for some 13 years.
If Barretts portly co-challenger had entered the ring in better condition than the 17st 1llb he scaled, perhaps an upset may have been on the cards. Never known as a puncher, Kennas ability to hurt the Galway champion would not bode well for Barrett if he were to meet Martin Rogan, which is being mooted. When on the offensive, Barrett is a slick southpaw with good skills and impressive movement but is relatively small for a heavyweight and lacks crunching power.
Take away the knockdown and it would have been close to a flawless performance by the new champion as Barrett (16st 3llb) wobbled the wild swinging Kenna with right hooks off the jab and used his smarts to smother Kenna in close. Out of range and out of shape, Kenna lunged in and got lucky in the second round when dropping Barrett, who looked seriously stunned. Barrett struggled up and shipped some further punishment before the bell saved him. As it happened, Kennas moment had been and gone and the wild right hands missed time and again for the remainder of the bout.
Barrett was too busy, using his superior work rate to coast through rounds, while avoiding the big right hand in return. Kenna had 87-year-old Jack Bishop in his corner, the oldest holder of a BBBofC license, yet failed to heed his advice and continued rumbling forward in straight lines the Southampton resident quickly became discouraged. Barrett sensed fatigue in the penultimate round and began planting his feet for a stoppage. Kenna forced the pace in the last round but could not land the money punch a second time.
The new titlist improves to 11-1 while Kenna drops to 16-10-2. Referee Paul McCullagh scored the fight 97-92 while I had it slightly wider in Barretts favour at 98-91.
Either way, the right man won but will have a tough time defending the belt against a rampant Rogan if that fight were to happen sometime later in the year.
He gave me a few problems in the second round, which is one way of putting it, laughed Barrett after the fight.
He has good punching power and caught me with a great shot but I got up, continued and went on to win it, because thats what champions are made of.
I went down heavily and it took me a while to get back to myself and all due respect to Colin because he was up for a fight tonight. Im happy to fight whoever Brian Peters or the boxing board puts in front of me.