15 March 2009 – By Mark Stokes
Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan and Paddy Hyland added a couple of notches to their belts in Boston on Saturday night, defeating Jimmy ‘The Dream’ Leblanc and Carlos Guevara respectively, to the roaring approval of a very large St Patrick’s weekend crowd.
Packie Collins and Mark Porter’s Celtic Pride card proved an overwhelming success with a packed audience in attendance – including contingents from Cork and Dublin – to witness what turned out to be a wonderful night’s boxing. Following some thunderous early bouts involving local fighters, Spike stepped into the ring against South Boston’s Leblanc, a veteran of 31 bouts (12-4-15, 9KO’s). The Corkman took the fight to his opponent from the off and landed a series of stinging left jabs in the early going. It was clear before the end of the opening round however that Leblanc was out of his depth, his continued holding of the Irishman already infuriating the crowd.
It was more of the same in the second but a clearly frustrated O’Sullivan was appeased by the referee’s decision to deduct a point from his opponent. Spike hammered away at the Bostonian whenever he found daylight but Leblanc was more interested in hugging as the fight progressed and suffered deductions on two more occasions before the bout was eventually stopped in round four.
The Irishman was declared the winner by way of his opponent’s disqualification and mounted the ropes in celebration. With the victory (his fifth KO) Spike annexed the AFO light-middleweight title and will look forward to two or three more contests, the first of which may be in Dublin in April, and the US, in the coming year.
Spike endured a little bit of frustration with his opponent but on the whole he handled it well and with maturity, said Packie Collins after the fight. Mark Porter and I have worked hard with Spike. He was very strong tonight. His conditioning was great and we’re very happy with his performance and Paddy’s (Hyland) as well. Theyre going places. Spikes got a great amateur career behind him, he just needs the guidance, continued Collins who also added that former Marvin Hagler trainer, Goody Petronelli, was very impressed with the Corkman’s work ethic when the pair met this week.
Paddy Hyland’s bout with Carlos Guevara was a vastly different affair, both featherweights banging away at each other for ten raucous rounds. The Dubliner was never in trouble in this bout despite shipping the best punches the Nicaraguan could offer. Pajo buried stinging shots to the head and body of his opponent from the first bell, but it was obvious that his teak tough veteran (12-8-1) was there for the duration. On several occasions it appeared as if Guevara was on his last legs but somehow the Central American summoned the energy to stay on his feet.
The Dubliner showed great technique in this bout, getting in and out without being hit, and disguising punches which had his opponent at sixes and sevens. Hyland’s body attack was something to behold – he looks to be a superb prospect in the featherweight division and deservedly took his IBF International super-featherweight belt courtesy of a unanimous decision.
Irish fight fans also showed interest in Danny O’Connor, an Irish-American welterweight who took his record to 4-0 with a stunning stoppage of Philadelphia’s Charles Wade.
O’Connor dropped opponent within the first forty seconds and ended the bout shortly thereafter with a thunderous right hook which had Wade on the canvas for an extended period. The US Olympic trialist is clearly one to watch.