Belfast fighter Padraig McCrory retained his IBO light heavyweight world title with a hard-fought win over tough Birmingham boxer Steed Woodall in a thrilling fight.
The main event at Falls Park for the Féile Fight Night lived up to all the hype as the thousands in attendance were treated to a blockbuster.
There was a cagey start for the opening seconds before ‘The Hammer’ landed some big right-hand punches to push Woodall onto the ropes midway through the first.
There was some devastating punches in the second round again with McCrory and Woodall both enjoying some success with power punches.
The English fighter showed he was a major threat as he rocked McCrory with a left hand that visibly hurt him and left him momentarily wobbling as his feet buckled.
An incredible fight and an incredible night.— Féile an Phobail (@FeileBelfast) August 4, 2023
Padraig McCrory is a warrior!
Another amazing Féile Fight Night! pic.twitter.com/nM1UtFU0j1
However, the 35 year-old regained his composure quickly and responded with a left hook of his own as this explosive fight caught fire.
Both fighters demonstrated that they had power in abundance in this exciting contest and McCrory and Woodall looked more than capable of getting the knockout.
McCrory caught Woodall with an impressive body shot at the start of round three, before the visiting fighter responded with a solid jab to the head.
There were further eye-catching exchanges in round four as McCrory landed a powerful punch on Woodall’s head and he impressively managed to return some fine shots.
The local hero sustained a cut over his right eye, but it did not seem to affect him as he went on the front foot and unleashed an onslaught of terrific punches on Woodall that pushed him up against the ropes in the fifth.
McCrory was now beginning to use his jab more effectively to create openings and a flurry of massive right handers pummelled Woodall who showed what a remarkably tough boxer he is to sustain the pressure.
McCrory used the jab very effectively in round six and he unleashed a big right hook on Woodall who was rocked momentarily but steadied himself again.
The Irish boxer’s eye was no swelling up but it was still very much open and his vision was not impaired as he continued his impressive performance and landed another big right hander.
McCrory caught Woodall with a big right hand punch that rocked the English fighter and led to one of his gloves hitting the canvas as he recorded a knockdown in the eight and achieved a 10-8 round.
The Birmingham fighter was more impressive in round nine as he turned the tables and caught McCrory with a right hook that left him looking shaken.
”The Hammer’ showed extraordinary fitness levels considering the huge number of power punches he threw and landed.
He looked exhausted as the fight drew to a conclusion but he fought smartly and threw some left hooks on Woodall to keep him at arm’s length as he showed his defensive qualities.
Woodall could not be faulted for effort as he pushed forward to try to hurt McCrory and get the knockdown.
However, McCrory held on and in truth he showed more quality at the vital moments and he landed more punches throught the contest.
Both fighters were hoisted up by their respective corners before McCrory was announced the unanimous winner with two judges scoring it 96-93 and the third scoring it 98-92.