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Noely Murphy drops and dominates brave John Joyce in Boston

The only all-Irish bout of St Patrick’s Weekend took place this evening in Boston and provided us with a very entertaining eight rounds of action.

Noely Murphy and John Joyce went head to head on the Murphys Boxing ‘St Patrick’s Clash 4’ card at the House of Blues and, in the end, levels would show.

The Cork southpaw dropped and hurt Joyce badly in the opening round. The Dubliner would do well to survive and gave his all in the proceeding seven rounds but Murphy took a wide unanimous decision win.

While Katie Taylor and Jono Carroll contested world titles last night in Philadelphia and Mick Conlan headlines Madison Square Garden in New York tomorrow, there is always something special about a domestic clash.

There was plenty of passion shown but it was the class of Murphy that would be the telling factor in Beantown.

Joyce had suggested the bout through this very website back in November, and within weeks, an agreement was reached between two fighters with no animosity.

However, while there was no ‘beef’ outside of the ring, the action within the squared circle was violent from the very first round.

Murphy went into the fight following a disappointing 2018 where he was edged in his big step up versus Mikkel LesPierre before drawing his comeback with the game-but-limited Andre Byrd.

By comparison, Joyce had built well last year, scoring good wins over Ferenc Jarko and Angel Emilov among others but was stepping up to eight rounds – and several levels – here and it would prove to be was a bridge too far for the Lucan man

Murphy was stepping back up in weight for the fight but it was Joyce who came in the lighter following the most intense camp of his career and his 24-year-old opponent that seemed the stronger man – notably in the first stanza.

Looking extremely sharp, Murphy popped off flurries from the opening bell and sent Joyce down heavily with an overhand left early. The Dubliner would rise, on extremely heavy legs, but managed to keep away for a good minute. Murphy eventually managed to find a home for another huge left which severely discombobulated Joyce before a crazy period ensued, with the ten-second clapper causing confusion, the Celtic Warriors man taking more heavy shots, turning his back, and looking in serious trouble as he was bundled over at the bell.

An extended doctor’s inspection gave Joyce some time to recover at the start of the second but he was rocked once again seconds into the round. The soldier would dig in admirably and started to land a couple of his own but the danger all was coming from Murphy.

The third started with another clean haymaker left from the New York-based Macroom man but Joyce would stand up better and enjoyed increasing success, with some right hands sneaking through.

Cagier in the fourth, 32-year-old Joyce was busy and looked to push but the more eye-catching work came from Murphy.

A talented amateur back in Ireland, Murphy controlled the pace as the bout moved into its second half and landed accurately and regularly as Joyce pressed – and had some success of his own in the closing exchanges with big right hands.

Joyce pushed hard at the start of the sixth but ‘The Irish Canelo’ would weather the storm and landed some nice shots as well as employing some quality footwork.

Murphy continued to look class into the seventh and then the final round, evading much of Joyce’s work before, in the final half, ‘The Demogorgon’ threw down, calling the Cork man in and trading wildly until the bell.

Going to the final cards, Murphy was declared a deserved 80-71 x3 winner – although there was perhaps an argument that Joyce may have warranted a round, maybe the third.

The man himself had no qualms with the result, warmly applauding Murphy who looks to have kickstarted his career nicely and now moves to 13(2)-1(0)-1.

Dropping to 7(4)-1(0) following the maiden defeat, Joyce will return to the domestic scene in Ireland where there remains plenty of big fights on offer.


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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie