The Summer Brawl undercard has concluded, with impressive performances, successful debuts, and a shock result.
Daniel O’Sullivan successfully completed the strange transition from coach to pro fighter in the first fight on the card.
The Dubliner with one of the most unique back stories in boxing put in such a display against Luke Middleton that people will soon be talking about where is going rather than where he came from.
Daniel-San, who walked into the ring to Kung Fu Fighting, finally got down to fighting once the ring announcer confirmed he was from Dublin and not Belfast as originally announced.
The Celtic Warrior light middleweight came as advertised – aggressive and fun to watch. He was compact and busy, jabbing well and bringing in chopping right hands. The Paschal Collins-trained newbie also worked the body well. He thought he had hurt Middleton as the round drew to a close but shouts from the corner advised him against upping the gears.
Middleton who has only been stopped once in 16 previous defeats was feeling the cumulative weight of thumping punches in the second, he tried to fight when the flight wasn’t working and tried to discourage O’Sullivan from coming forward by trading – but the Dub smiled and continued to pour forward.
The English fighter shipped some body shots of note in the third but had a go in the last minute as O’Sullivan slowed the pace. O’Sullivan looked to box more in the last trying to pick shots, to his credit, the journeyman fired back. The Celtic Warrior Gym debutant seemed to be really enjoying himself and upped it a gear in the final minute, forcing Middleton to earn his money.
The away fighter was certainly pleased he didn’t sign to fight six against the debutant.
Jamie Morrissey took a big step toward realising a dream with a shut-out points win over Seamus Devlin on the card.
The Treaty fighter dominated over four threes to finish a 40-36 winner. The Munster man was impressive as anyone against the wily and tough journeyman and looked solid in front of Dennis Hobson who will now promote his BUI Celtic super middleweight title fight against Ben McGivern next month.
Now 3(1)-0, Morrissey fights the Scot in Scotland hoping to become the first Irish fighter to win serious domestic honours in both Muay Thai and boxing.
It was clear from the off Morrissey wasn’t taking a safety-first approach or trying to protect his title shot. He held centre of the ring boxed behind a solid jab and fired home the right hand when the chance arose, he even brought in the uppercut Top Rank starlet Paddy Donovan called for late in the round.
One of the UK’s busiest journeymen, Devlin had obviously tasted the power and went into survival mode in the second. The Limerick fighter certainly wasn’t going to allow him to coast to the final bell and continued to let shots go. However, the English fighter of Irish descent was defensively sound and never took anything too clean. The Shaun Kelly-trained super middle did start to vary his work in search of the killer shot – but Devlin has survival skills to rival Bear Grylls.
The third followed a similar pattern, although Morrissey worked the body more and was visibly learning on the job mixing things up in terms of power and shot selection, still trying to find passage to what would have been a statement stoppage win.
Devlin tested Morrissey’s patience in the final stanza, proving hard to pin down and reluctant to engage but the 27-year-old continued to push till the death ensuring he, at the very least, got four relatively high-paced rounds.
Owen O’Neill produced the best performance of his pro in easily his toughest pro test today in the fight before the interval.
Experienced Justin Menzie asked all sorts of questions of the Belfast light middleweight, testing his patience, stamina, chin, and skill level.
However, O’Neill answered all questions asked to register his eighth pro win and possibly set up a title fight!
Once the by now famous best reception in small hall boxing was out of the way O’Neill got down to work. He looked to box Menzie in and go to work to the body. There was more thought to how he pressed forward as he fainted with feet and shot jabs downstairs, much to the delight of Padraig ‘The Hammer’ McCrory who was the loudest of his very noisy following. He did take a nice left hand at the tail end of the round but it didn’t discourage him from forcing the action and letting his shots go.
Menzie was up on his toes in the second and started to flick the southpaw jab forcing asking ‘Triple O’ questions he wasn’t asked to date in the pro ring. For the most part, he answered them with his bodywork and right hand probably enough to win him the stanza.
The experienced English fighter had a real go early in the second giving the Belfast man a mini gut check. One uppercut in particular widening ‘The Operator’s’ eyes. The new MHD fighter’s response was impressive and he wasn’t long about forcing the journeyman to hold. A right hand forced his foe into the corner and the flurry that followed saw Menzie looking for respite.
The Dee Walsh-trained man also walked his eight career opponent onto a nice left hook that checked the stability of his knees.
Menzie went full panto villain in the fourth showing Mickey Vann-style footwork as he just stayed clear of trouble. Impressively O’Neill began to judge his exits and ruined a number of escape plans, one reactionary right hook to the chest particularly impressive.
By the end of the stanza, Menzie was also testing the patience of the referee and got a telling-off from Eamon Magill.
O’Neill started to find his eye in the final two picking shots nicely rather than just pressure fighting. He was particularly enjoying his first-ever sixth round landing the shot of the fight, a long left hook off the back foot before piling forward. Menzie, a fighter more used to the longer distance, was tiring and looking to buy time. He was docked a point for holding onto the ropes. However, although his antics were frustrating, they helped rile the O’Neill faithful and further fueled their wild celebrations.
After Denis Hobson had entertained the crowd with some singing it was the turn of Cian Doyle.
The Dublin feather took on the baby-faced and brilliantly named Tatenda Mangombe and was upset by the eye-catching English fighter, dropping to 2(0)-1(0) in the process.
The Kent visitor didn’t take a ‘know your role’ approach to the bout and instead came to fight, was dangerous throughout and upset the applecart, winning 58-56.
Doyle started fast but Mangombe hadn’t come to lie down and landed two tasty right hands early, was switching, and was not afraid to taunt.
It forced Doyle to think on his feet and he had to work to impose himself on the fight. Bra Brady wanted more patience from the young featherweight and he got it in the second. Doyle was picking his shots and landing clean but to his credit, Mangombe was live and not afraid to load up and let fly. The simple one-two began to work well for the Dubliner but he was in a fight.
Mangombe landed the punch of the third, a beautiful uppercut just as it looked like he was about to go walkabouts. It buoyed him and he had a real go, Doyle matched him for workrate and effort and was landing some solid jabs but the more eye-catching work came from the away fighter.
Doyle showed real resolve in the fourth to make sure the fight didn’t slip away from him. He fought off a solid jab, disrupting his opponent’s rhythm before he began to make him miss. The away fighter, who the Belfast fight fans would love to see again, still had a Hollywood shot in him and landed one right hand in particular that tested the Crumlin BC graduates chin.
The fifth was similar as Doyle tried to use Mangombe’s wildness to his advantage, making him miss and pay. It worked for the most part again the unpredictable English fighter enjoyed pockets of success in another highly entertaining round.
So close were the rounds, there was a feeling Doyle would need the last to be 100 percent sure. A looping uppercut from the switch hitter early on meant as per the whole fight he was going to have to do it the hard way. He didn’t quite bite down on his gum shield as it was knocked out but he did grit his teeth and landed straight shots inside the long hooks of Mangombe in a round that reflected the entire fight, close and entertaining.
The away fighter told those ringside he had won and he was proved right, claiming the bout four rounds to two on Hugh Russell Jr’s card.
Colm Murphy set up a domestic clash with Ruadhan Farrell thanks to an impressive six-round victory over Engel Gomez in the chief support bout.
‘Posh Boy’ is SSE bound after a controlled display high up the undercard and came away with a shut-out 60-54 win. It was confirmed after the clash Murphy will fight his fellow Belfast featherweight on the Return of the Mick card in Belfast on August 6th.
The war-loving Belfast man showed real patience in the first and was happy to fire home the jab against a fighter who took Eric Donovan and Willo Flood the distance in his last two fights. One brilliant left hook which came after he adjusted his feet saw him open up more in the last minute with a right hand and some bodywork adding gloss to a round that was already in the bank.
There was more variety and volume in the second but, to his credit, Gomez played a part in that as he marched forward continuously. Murphy was sharp and picking him off successful more than comfortable at that pace.
The MHD prospect’s jab was the punch of the third and allowed him to maintain a comfortable distance. The work rate was still there but it was off the back foot as the Dee Walsh-trained youngster showed his skill set. There were combinations, check left hooks, solid right hands and more against game opposition.
The final two rounds followed the same pattern. Gomez game Murphy controlled, but still busy and accurate as he completed six for the third time, moving to 4(1)-0 overall.
Photos courtesy of Steven Morton (Boxing Tickets NI)