DEAN Byrne failed to win big in Monaco, losing to Russian prospect Roman Belaev on the undercard of Gennady Golovkin’s latest world title defence.
It was guts galore from the Dubliner, now 17-3-1, but the German based undefeated puncher claimed the glory taking a wide 120-106, 119-109, 119-109 decision.
Belaev wasn’t significantly superior in the skill sets department, but from the off it was clear he possessed more power. He put his heavy hands to good work late in the first gain Byrne’s respect with body shots. Byrne threw with regularity behind a left jab in the second but he hadn’t the kind discouraging clout to keep the Russian at bay.
Byrne continued to look neat, but Buleav smiled at the combinations he landed and responded with single spiteful shots that started to worry the Dub.
Belaev was warned twice in the middle rounds for holding, use of the elbow and punching in the back of the head, but it was legal heavy attacks that was frustrating Byrne most.
Heavy shots fired the way of Irish Lightning, but to his credit he never looked in trouble and soaked up punishment late on in a brave manner. Indeed the former Wild Card fighter returned fire and fought till the last.
Belaev went for the finish in the last three rounds and there were some social media commentators calling for a stoppage when the Irish fighter was rocked in the later rounds, but Byrne survived and won a lot of respect for his heart if the not the WBA Intercontinental title.