7 November 2010 by Steve Wellings
All eyes were fixed on heavyweight Martin Rogan as the self-styled Iron Man returned exactly one year to the day of his last bout (a rematch defeat to Sam Sexton). His opponent in this one was Bulgarian Yavor Marinchev, a chunky survivor employed to help Rogan through six rounds. The 39-year-old was not in the mood for hanging around and hunted Marinchev down with hooks and body blows. A purposeful flurry culminating in a left hook to the body and the visitor was down and out, counted by Emile Tiedt at 2:41 of the round. Bigger tests lie ahead for the likeable Belfastman who is targeting a European title and now trains with Gerry Nugget Nugent who also handles Martin Lindsay (who was working as a second in Rogans corner).
The arm felt good after the operation and I was strong in there, said Rogan post-fight. My timing was a wee bit off but thats understandable given my layoff Im pleased with the finish.
The enigmatic figure of Luis Garcia again appeared on this Hunky Dory fight card and fans were treated to flashes of his immense talent before an early finish. You never quite know which Garcia will turn up and luckily he looked alert and focused against former two-time world title holder Byron Mitchell. With the duration cut from eight rounds to six Garcia maintained a sensible distance from Mitchells sporadic bombs as the Alabama veteran struggled to pin down the unbeaten starlet. The class was all from Garcia, with combinations reigning in on Mitchell who looked leaden footed and unable to compete with Luis variety.
The way Garcia feints with a lead right hand and turns it into a swiping uppercut at the last moment is pure class. Mitchell was rocked badly from a volley of punches at the end of the first-round and I had a suspicion that had he been any less experienced then referee Micky Vann might have stepped in and saved his head from the rockets. The assault continued into the second-round and a four-punch combination hurt Mitchell and forced him to suddenly take a knee and begin shaking his head. Given that he had taken the shots and then gone down shortly after gave some fans reason to believe that Mitchell was looking for a way out (he was gesturing that a thumb in the eye or some other misdemeanor had occurred) and who could blame him. Vann escorted Mitchell to his corner and waved it off after a brief consultation, offering Byron a chance to leave the ring with some dignity. The time was recorded as 0:51 and a damaged left eye was the official reasoning.
After a long distinguished career it is time for Mitchell to retire. As for Garcia, the 22-year-old is now 10-0 (8KOs) and talking world titles after the fight. If he can maintain a positive attitude and prove he possesses the stamina for a long hard fight then Luis can undoubtedly mix with the very best at super-middleweight.
The eagerly anticipated Irish super-middleweight title clash between Anthony Fitzgerald (holder) and Lee Murtagh (challenger) was cruelly cut short in the second-round when Murtagh suffered the worst cut I have ever seen in a live contest. Anthony signaled his intent from the get-go smashing in right hands as experienced Murtagh retained his focus and circled with a strong southpaw jab. It was warming up nicely in the second stanza when the two clashed and suddenly the Leeds visitor reeled away holding his head clearly in pain. When he removed his glove blood pumped out of a diagonal gash on the forehead and spewed across the canvas before ref David Irving called a halt and took Murtagh to his corner and summoned the doctor.
It wasnt the sort of injury that could be caused from a punch and the laceration appeared indicative of an elbow or, my first instinct, of a clash of heads. TV replays appeared inconclusive but the official word concluded it had been heads and the decision appeared to be a no contest. Whatever, Fitzgerald retained his title and followed the decision with a leap on the ropes no less, while an angered Murtagh protested through a blood soaked towel. Two previous attempts to match these two fell through and maybe they are destined to go their separate ways.
Cuban heavyweight Mike Perez returned to action with a bang, needing less than a round to blow away hapless journeyman Pavel Dolgovs. A flashy hook had Dolgovs down within seconds of the starting bell and shortly after a southpaw jab and left hook had him cut on the forehead and tasting the canvas for a second time. The time was recorded as 0:40 of the round and Emile Tiedt refereed. Perez needs to be more active if he is to step up in levels and fulfill his undoubted potential.
Since turning professional Finglas super-middleweight Brendan Fitzpatrick has been racking up the appearances and this was his third outing, with Kirilas Psonko the latest victim. Brendan was made to work harder than expected by his decent opponent and was found labouring on the inside on occasions and paid the price as Psonko tagged his static head. Fitzpatrick puts the punches together well but can be a little one-paced. A cut eye hampered his progress from the fourth-round but Psonko was tired and suffering a nosebleed by the last session. Ref David Irving scored it 58-56 in Brendans favour.
Galways Jon Fogg was making his professional debut but came unstuck at the first hurdle, getting stopped in the third-round by Spaniard Ricky Pow (Im not making these names up). Chunky Fogg looked like he could slim down a weight or two and his short stocky physique meant he had major problems dealing with Pows height and reach advantages. There was little time for feeling out as both men got down to business immediately, hurting each other with barrages until either aggressor punched themselves out and backed off allowing the opponent a chance to attack.
By the end of the second-round Fogg resembled a 50-fight veteran finishing a gruelling 12-round title fight rather than a debutant negotiating his first six minutes of action. Swelled cheeks, welts under both eyes and a nasty gash above the left optic were only the start of Foggs woes as blood seeped from his nostrils. By the third-round Pow (who was no great shakes himself) began to unload his big punches behind the jab and it was no surprise when an exhausted Fogg was rescued by David Irving at 1:41 of the round. He was announced as being in no position to continue and would need to consider what he wants out of professional boxing before continuing on this long hard road.
Charismatic Dubliner Gavin Prunty had his hands full with Marius Kravcukas of Lithuania. So much so that he dropped a four-round decision to the plucky away man who applied steady pressure throughout and stifled Pruntys rhythm. Gavin was up against it when a left hook dropped him in the first-round yet enjoyed southpaw stance success in the second and was warming up, yet constantly out of range, in the third. A big final session clinched it for Marius and an incorrect announcement as the winner only rubbed salt into the wounds as referee Emile Tiedt and announcer Mike Goodall conferred on the correct scoring. It was a deserved 38-37 in favour of Kravcukas.
Alan Donnellan moved to 3-0 with a 40-37 victory over Zahari Mustafchiev who had given Brendan Fitzpatrick plenty to think about in Letterkenny recently. Donnellan holds his left hand too low at times and eats right hands as a result, a habit he must address when the opposition improves. Another frustrating aspect of his game is an inability to sustain attacks. Often a good burst or flurry is followed by Alan leaning in and holding his opponent while scuffing with arm punches, halting any momentum. The jury is out but Donnellan could prove an interesting future contender in the Irish title mix, if little more. Veteran Micky Vann officiated in this one.