Siobhan O’Leary played her part in an early Fight of the Year contender in Scotland on Friday night, but didn’t quite manage to register a historic Celtic Nations win.
The Tralee native went at it with the relentless Eftychia Kathopouli and although she won plenty of battles over six rounds didn’t win the war.
Things looked ultra positive for the Limerick based fighter when a brilliant right hand dropped the Scottish adopted Greek.
However, wounded animal style Kathopouli fought bounced back with vicious abandon and pressured for the remainder of the fight.
O’Leary did have success throughout the fight, produced the cleaner work for the most part and tested the chin and resolve of her fourth pro foe, but such is the desire for work of ‘Greek Trouble’ that her ring moniker should be changed to ‘Greek Double Trouble’.
In a home environment that aggressive approach particularly in a small ring is more often than not going catch the eye and that proved to be the case as the referee scored the Gilvenbank Hotel, Glenrothes hosted bout 58-55 for Kathopouli.
Post the clash the man in the middle called for both fighters to paid respect and pointed out at no point during the six rounds did he ever have intervene and break the fighters up.
It was all action and highly entertaining and the kind of fight if it played out at home would have won O’Leary a host of fans and would have proved a healthy boost for the female domestic scene.
A rematch in Ireland would be great and the hope now would be Boxing Ireland can exploit the Scottish link made to bring similar level opponents over and give the fans more fights to wax lyrical about.
Victory would have set the Kerry fighter on course for an Irish title fight with Scottish based Irish fighter Elaine Greenan, but such was the nature of this fight that, that historic fight may still be on the cards.
O’Leary started behind a stiff and solid jab and landed the first signifigant punch of the night in the form of a right hand. It looked the ideal tactic for the clash.
The home fighter was game and kept coming, but initially a check left hook from O’Leary saw her deal with the pressure.
The Greek native did start to press more as the round drew to a close, but just when it looked like she was putting herself in contention for the round O’Leary walked her onto a big right hand and the tough Greek hit the canvas.
Kathopouli was a little more sensible in her pressure in the second and whilst O’Leary was catching her coming the promoters fighter had success with looping right hands. The Kerry native probably a bit too patient and reactionary.
A war broke out in the third. Kathopouli pouring forward with abandon and while she ate some shots she landed a few of her own – and her aggressive approach in her town probably snatched her the round.
Kathopouli worked in bursts of 10 eye catching second in the fourth and inflicted punishment up close. O’Leary did have moments when she stood off but afforded the home fighter time to rest when it was her time to shine.
O’Leary managed to find some space in the penultimate stanza and caught her foe on the way in with some of the obviously worked on cheek hooks Katie Taylor loves, but again ‘Greek Trouble’ was relentless and landed some eye catching shots of her own, particularly when she backed the Irish fighter up.
The final round was another high paced frantic entertaining round with again the cleaner work coming from O’Leary.
Kathopouli was hurt twice in the round once with a right and then with a left hook, but she recovered admirably and piled forward throwing to the head and body with real conviction.
The result see’s O’Leary’s stock rise but her record slip to 3-1 whilst Kathopouli improves to 4-1 and goes home with the Celtic Nations title.