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Morrissey beats Cronin in All Irish Classic

Jamie Morrissey continues to rip up the script and turn it into celebratory confetti.

The Limerick native pipped Kevin Cronin in a Munster mash-up to win the BUI Celtic light heavyweight title after an all-time domestic classic on Saturday.

Such was the nature of the back-and-forth bomb-packed brawl that it almost seemed unfair to separate them and declare a winner. Cronin played his part in one of the best fights the fight-mad city of Belfast has seen and saw his stock rise massively despite having his duck egg smashed.

However, there was a winner declared and Morrissey took it via a paper-thin decision and the victory sees the 27-year-old make history. Morrissey becomes the first boxer to hold Celtic titles at two weights simultaneously – and thus continues the Muay Thai convert’s unprecedented start to professional life.

Morrissey came to boxing with no amateur background whatsoever and has now achieved more in five fights than a lot of more experienced operators have in an entire career. The Ian Gaughran-managed Treaty County man has claimed two titles, had three domestic dust-ups, won an Irish Fight of the Year award and delivered more action than a Die Hard boxset in the space of just five fights.

The fast starter continued his rapid rise with victory in another enthralling fan-friendly clash on the Climb card but will tip his hat to his fellow lion-hearted pro after an all-on-the-line war.

Both tried to start fast and establish dominance but Morrissey brought his jab into play first and landed the first backhand of the fight. Cronin was looking for the long left hook and landed two midway through as good a first round as you’d see. Both then landed big within seconds of each other, another hook from the Kerry side of the fight and a long right from Limerick’s Morrissey. The pair shared big shots in the final minute with a head-rocking uppercut possibly pipping the opening three minutes for Morrissey.

The Shaun Kelly-trained fighter attempted to put it on ‘The Kingdom Warrior’ at the start of the second. He rocked his foe with right hands and uppercuts but Cronin wasn’t for yielding and battled his way back into the round landing some big shots of his own in another enthralling, tense, and hard-to-score round.

Forget gun fight, a bomb fight broke out in the third. Both fighters throwing huge shots, Morrissey probably having the better of it when it was long and Cronin looking physically imposing on the inside.

Things can only get better blared out between rounds three and four – and somehow they did. The big shots kept coming. The final 30 seconds weresomething special, as the Irish formula once again produced magic.

Morrissey looked like he might just be ready to get on top with a strong start to the next session, landing big right hands and a beautifully timed uppercut to the body – but true to the nature of the war, Cronin responded and landed the punch of the round, a long uppercut, which inspired a strong finish.

A big right in the sixth sent Cronin’s gum shield across the ring but just when the Limerick support called for him to go in for the kill, the Kingdom fighter came back fighting and landed another left hook clean.

Both gasped for air going to their corners after that spell but neither were going to take their foot off the gas in this classic.

Cronin went for volume rather than power at the start of the seventh and started to put combinations together. The tactic paid dividends. The constant success saw him win the round wide. Indeed he flirted with securing the stoppage late in the round. Morrissey cut a tired figure and although not visibly wobbled he was taking shots without response.

It was back to back-and-forth action in the last, as both gave all they had to try and nick a close classic. Fittingly it ended with both landing lefts on the final bell.

Let’s do it again in Munster and for an Irish title.

Photo credit Belfast Boxers

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com