James McGivern records first pro KO on US debut

James McGivern recorded his first KO as a professional on his Stateside debut Saturday night in California.

The Irish lightweight extended his unbeaten record to 5-0 with a fifth-round stoppage of durable Mexican Luis Montellano at the Kid Gloves Gym in Simi Valley, California.

Fighting in the United States for the first time in the pro ranks, the Belfast southpaw was dominant across the opening four rounds.

Montellano, who hadn’t been stopped in his 15 fights, was rocked by ‘The Natural’ a couple of times and, two minutes and ten seconds into the fifth of the six scheduled rounds, the bout was over.

“It’s nice to get him out of there,” McGivern said.

“This has been a whole new experience for me. From the get-go here, it has been a real learning experience. Your man was tough, but I felt pretty good. That was pretty good, but it’s still not me at my best.

McGivern walked the ring to Oasis’ Rock N Roll Star for his first bout under the Sheer Sports banner.

The 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist was through the ropes competitively for the first time since his November, 2021 win over Rustem Fatkhullin at the Ulster Hall.

He said: “To be honest, I thought it was going to be over in the first round. He was wobbled but, to be fair to him, he weathered the storm. I’ve been working a lot on things since I came over here.

“From my amateur days, I’ve been fighting very high-paced, but we’ve done some work on fighting calmer and slower and throwing more shots with a bit of venom. It wasn’t at 100 percent, but I’m delighted with that night’s work.”

The 24-year-old wants to get another bout under his belt before the end of 2022.

He said: “We have spoken about this already and I want something now before Santa comes. I’ll get home, get straight back to the gym and build on this.”

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