Jamie Conlan was involved in yet ANOTHER war tonight, but the World title dream lives on for ‘The Mexican.’
Conlan headlined the ‘Belfast Boys Are Back’ card at the Waterfront Hall where he edged a split decision win over Nicaraguan Yader Cardoza in a bout where he was bloodied badly and had to survive a knockdown before being given a decision.
Cardoza sent a message with a strong opening round, clipping Conlan big some winging right hands as the Belfast man eased his way into the contest.
A better second saw Conlan start putting one-twos together and controlling the pace bar one impressive spurt from the Central American.
A tough third had Cardoza threaten to get on top, landing an alarming number of heavy shots
Cardoza would probably edge he fourth as well, although Conlan showed some encouraging signs of returning to his boxing as the stanza came to a close.
Conlan then stamped his authority on the bout in the next round, landing two strong counter rights that had the fans off their feet.
Cardoza responded in the sixth, but Conlan had finally found his timing, and was regularly catching the 28 year old slugger as he came in.
A closer seventh saw Cardoza continue to put the pressure on, having his fair share of success, while Conlan was still landing the right with regularity.
The Jamie Conlan drama re-emerged in the eighth as the Belfast man went down after a seemingly innocuous flurry of shots. Conlan rose and went toe-to-toe before being forced to hold as Cardoza brought him to the ropes and threatened to have the contest stopped.
The 30 year old weathered the Cardoza storm early in the ninth, and Conlan would establish the jab and seemed to hurt the Nicaraguan to the body in the closing seconds.
While he was having success with the jab, Conlan was badly bloodied in the tenth round and had to hang on at times against the relentless Cardoza.
In his first time to go past ten, Conlan hurt Cardoza and sent him to the ropes at the beginning of the eleventh. The former World title challenger came on strong but was met head-on by Conlan who roused the crowd with a phenomenally gutsy display, landing the bigger shots.
Going into the final round with it all seemingly to fight for, Conlan sought to circle, popping out the jab, but it was Cardoza who landed the greater number of shots in a cagey three minutes.
Going to the scorecards, the final tallies were split, with Cardoza being awarded the bout 115:112, but this being over-ruled by scorelines of 114:113 and 115:113 for the Irishman.
Conlan improves to 19(11)-0 after the blood and guts battle, while Cardoza moves to 22(6)-11(5)-1 following his strong showing.
A spot in the WBC rankings was also up for grabs by virtue ot the WBC International Silver belt which was on the line, with Conlan now adding a spot on this ladder to his placings with the WBO and the IBF placements.
After a well-deserved break to recover, Conlan will continue his world title hunt during the Summer.
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)