16 May 2010 – By Cormac Campbell
Andy Lee improved his ledger to 21-1 (15KO), albeit in undesirable circumstances, after Mamadou Thiam withdrew from the bout on his stool at the end of the second round in Limerick on Saturday night.
Former Olympian Lee, who has boxed under Emanuel Stewards Kronk banner since turning pro in 2006, once again enjoyed tremendous support at his home citys University Arena.
For as long as the contest lasted, southpaw Lee was able to dictate the direction of the fight with a ramrod jab that found its intended target with ease. Lee was also was able to counter Thiams early charges with clever hooks on the turn which left the Frenchman off balance.
Indeed, Thiam fell three times in the first round none of which were adjudged to have been knockdowns but one of which allegedly incurred an injury to the visiting boxer’s lower back. Lee continues to build towards a European title fight with new champion Darren Barker with promoter Brian Peters highlighting autumn as the likely date. Peters also stated that the University Arena was capable of accommodating over 4,000 fight fans for such an event.
Elsewhere on the RTE televised card, John Waldron caused something of a minor shock after he outpointed Jamie Power for the Irish light-heavyweight title. Despite going in to the contest as favourite, Power found himself on the canvas twice helping the Phil Sutcliffe trained Waldron to a deserved 97-91 points victory.
Cavans Andy Murray extended his unbeaten record to 19-0 with a cuts induced stoppage of Englishman Amir Unsworth. Murray, who is ranked number three in Europe looked sharp and more powerful in the ring against the decent Unsworth, 10-3. A large cut over Unsworths left eye, caused by Murrays increased usage of his right hand, led to the stoppage after the completion of round two.
The stoppage was something of a disappointment, both for Murray and Unsworth as the bout looked to have had the potential to entertain. Murray is scheduled to return to action on the undercard of McCloskey vs Lauri at the Kings Hall, Belfast on June 11.
Cork based Cuban heavyweight prospect Mike Perez secured his own little bit of history with two wins in one night – the first time such a feat has been achieved on Irish soil. The southpaw, dressed in shorts that featured both the Cuban and Irish flags, opened the show with a first round blowout of Edgars Kalnars. Just an hour later he was back in the ring to dispatch Tomas Mrazek, who was stopped on cuts in the third.
Although Mrazeks corner alleged the cut was caused by a clash of heads, the referee disagreed and Perez was awarded victory. On Saturday night’s evidence Perez would make an ideal addition to a future Prizefighter tournament something his team appear interested in if a Visa to box in the UK can be secured.
Elsewhere on the card, much touted Cuban super-middleweight contender Luis Garcia shook off a considerable amount of ring rust to outpoint Germanys Alexander Sipos by a shutout score of 60-54. It could be argued that Sipos, a rugged former opponent of Andy Lee, took the first round, but as the Cuban found his range it became one-way traffic. Garcia would need to improve upon his defence, notably his head movement, if he is to live up to the hype that has thus far surrounded his fledgling career.
Michael Sweeney overcame the disappointment of Ian Tims late withdrawal from their Irish cruiserweight title fight by outclassing the overmatched Tommy Tolan. Although there was a sizeable height discrepancy for the hastily arranged contest, there was little dividing the boxers in terms of weight. The highlight of the fight came in the second round when Mayos Sweeney unloaded a four punch combination that saw Tolan sent heavily to the canvas. The rugged Belfast man, who was returning to competition after a lengthy absense never looked likely to return there, giving Sweeney plenty to think about without ever really threatening.
Sweeney said afterwards that his focus remains on the Irish title, and said he would be keen on fighting former champion Darren Corbett for the vacant belt on the undercard of Paul McCloskey v Guiseppe Lauri at the Kings Hall on June 11. Sweeney also said he was hopeful a bout with Tims could be rearranged, or indeed a bout with newly installed light-heavyweight champion John Waldron.
Paddy McDonaghs gamble paid off, when the teenage super-middleweight outpointed seasoned campaigner Ciaran Healy over six rounds in just his third fight. McDonagh looked slick at times, but was unable to dictate the contest as Healy continually pressed the action. The Mullingar man was a deserved winner and will no doubt be afforded the opportunity to contest the Irish title in the next 12 months.
Galways Alan Donnellan made a successful start to his professional debut with an exciting points victory over Englands Ryan Clark. Whilst Donnellans boxing skills appear tidy and well schooled, his defence was, at times, non existent. Clark landed telegraphed haymakers at ease throughout the contest, which Donnellan took well but shouldnt have taken at all. That said, Donnellan looks a good addition to the Irish light-middleweight ranks. Clark, for his part, certainly has a claim that he deserved at least a draw in the contest
Two US based Irishmen were in action across the Atlantic over the weekend. On Friday Dean Byrne extended his record to 12-0 with a fifth round stoppage of journeyman Justo Sanchez, whilst Jamie Kavanagh scored a debut victory in New York with a second round stoppage of William Ware.
Stay tuned to irish-boxing.com for interviews and features from the Limerick card.