THE IBO light heavyweight title is on the way back to Belfast, Padraig McCrory having won it in Frankfurt tonight, with a superb display.
The heavy hitting McCrory stopped Leon Bunn in the sixth round, having already dropped him in the second and third.
It was a great display by McCrory and really the fight should have been stopped much earlier, possibly as early as the second round and certainly by the end of the third, which Bunn finished on unsteady legs and seemed to walk towards the wrong corner.
The first round was quite even, with the Belfast fighter possibly shading it, before he brought the dynamite out in the second.
Bunn actually started the round fairly well, bloodying the nose of McCrory, before the first knockdown.
Having softened up Bunn with a hard left, McCrory sent him to the canvas with a hard right to the side of the head. There was still a minute left, and McCrory used it well, with huge punches piling the pressure on the German.
While it looked like the stoppage would come, referee Joerg Milke came to the home fighter’s aid, stopping the McCrory assault as he reprimanded the Irish man for slapping. It was a strange decision and it meant that Bunn made it to the bell. However it also meant he would take lots more punishment before the stoppage did arrive.
In the very next round he was on the canvas again, another hard right putting him down. As the round finished Bunn was in very bad shape, and it would have been a sensible time for his corner to come to his rescue, but they did not and the punishment continued.
There was only one fighter in it, and McCrory shook Bunn with a couple of big lefts during the fourth round, but it wasn’t quite as one sided as the two previous stanzas. Could McCrory’s chance pass him by?
Not at all. In the fifth the challenger landed several more extremely powerful shots, his dominance almost total.
And yet the action went on, quite senselessly. Early in the sixth it was apparent that McCrory was looking for one big shot to end it, and when Bunn was put down for a third time, the referee finally stopped the fight, belatedly.
The stoppage sparked massive, wild celebrations in the ring, with the McCrory camp almost manic with ecstasy.
It is McCrory’s 15th win as a professional and as well as securing him the IBO light heavyweight crown it opens the door for possible future big-money bouts.
It was a super display by him, showing the huge power he possesses and afterwards he said he had seen Bunn’s vulnerability early on. “I punch hard, but I can also box. I started with a jab, I caught him early, saw it shook him, I thought from there I’ll start walking him down and punching with him, and eventually it paid off.”
He felt that the fight didn’t need to go on for six rounds. “I understand this is a big fight, but it probably could have been stopped a bit earlier for the boxer’s health. I knew I was going to get him out of there.”