Murray leads quality undercard

3 October 2010 – Cormac Campbell

Unbeaten lightweight Andy Murray, 22-0 (12KO) passed another marker on his road towards major honours with a convincing points victory over John Nolasco as chief support to McCloskey vs Morrison.

The Cavan native showed tight, traditional boxing skills including an improved defence – throughout the ten-round contest and looked most dangerous when ripping in straight rights to the body – which the Dominican, 18-5 (8KO), did not like in the slightest.

One criticism of Murray is that whilst he appears to have the tools to dismantle opponents within the distance, he prefers to continue doing what he feels comfortable with rather than taking a risk in the hope of ending hostilities early.

Although this is having little bearing on the outcome of his contests, a little more intent would work wonders for his marketability. Indeed, as Murray enters genuine title class, and the weight of selling a promotion rests squarely on his shoulders, the promise of excitement goes a long way in encouraging the punters to part with their cash.

Elsewhere on the undercard Alexi Acosta, 13-0 (13KO) looked simply sensational as he dismantled former Bernard Dunne foe Cristian Faccio in just four rounds. Cuban super-bantam Acosta looked sharp as he rattled shots in from all angles and looks every bit as good as the Irish trio of Casey, Hyland and Frampton.

If Acosta looked sensational, his countryman Luis Garcia did not. Despite the hype, relating to top class sparring partners being picked apart in the gym, super-middle Garcia has seldom shown that kind of form in competitive action. Indeed, until he upped the ante against Jorge Rodriguez Olivera in the sixth, he looked distinctly average. What is most frustrating about Garcia, now 10-0 (8KO), is that he shows, albeit in cameos what he is keeping back. Given the level of promotion and investment that has been put into his career, it is high time that he began to show it.

Patrick Hyland, 20-0 (10KO) returned from an eight month absence from the ring to box to a points victory over journeyman Yordan Vasilev. At times Hyland looked flat indeed in the past he has been much, much better. However, with things starting to fall into place for brother Paulie, it is hoped Patrick too will see more regular and more challenging action.

Brendan Fitzpatrick, 2-0 (1KO) looked like a crowd-pleaser in the making as he fought to a six round points victory over Zahari Mutafchiev. Fitzpatrick threw combinations with speed, power and accuracy and with a little bit of work on the defensive aspects of his game could find himself thrown into Irish title class sooner rather than later.

Irish heavyweight champion Coleman Barrett did not extend himself as he comfortably outscored Norbert Sallai in the opening bout of the bill. Bigger challenges lie ahead for Barrett, 13-1 (2) perhaps even a title defence against the returning Martin Rogan who was in attendance.

Finbar Eade improved to 3-0 (1KO) with a one sided points victory over Wladimir Borov. The Phil Sutcliffe trained fighter should be knocking on the door of an Irish title fight in the next year.

Donegal light-welter Michael McLaughlins dream debut nearly turned into disaster as he drew with Valentin Stoychev. With hundreds of supporters in attendance, southpaw buzzsaw McLaughlin started brightly and looked as if he would stop his opponent. Indeed, he put him on the canvas. However, things started to go badly wrong and he himself found himself touching down and at times looking hurt. He battled to the end and picked up a draw. In future, he must be less eager to please.

This was the second time McCloskey boxed at the Aura, the first being a break-out performance over former world champion Cesar Bazan in March 2008. The venue holds just over 2,000 and is perfect for a fight night. There was a good atmosphere throughout Saturdays Brian Peters Promotions bill with the vast majority of fans being both in the arena and in their seats for the majority of the undercard providing excellent exposure for all the boxers on the bill.

This was McCloskeys first appearance on RTE since 2008 and it will have been a timely reminder to the wider Irish public of just how good he is. In the interim period McCloskey has won British and European honours on SKY, achievements that received barely a flicker of interest from the Irish State broadcaster. Whether this is because McCloskey is a Nordie or as a result of general apathy towards the sport is unclear either way it should be addressed.

If it is apathy, then RTE is compromising its own product by failing to keep the public up to date with developments, If it is Northern bias then RTE should be reminded that boxing, like GAA, rugby and golf is an all-Ireland sport and as such all Irish boxers competing at an elite level are relevant.

RTE may not realise the importance covering the NI boxing team in the Commonwealth Games in the coming weeks. Perhaps when 2012 rolls around and Paddy Barnes and Co are boxing for the full Irish squad at the Olympics they will understand how important it is to keep the public abreast of what all of our boxers are doing irrespective of which side of the border they come from.

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